While a nice layout, cool colors and a good feature set listed on the box might be nice performance is what most people are looking for in a motherboard. A good feature set does not matter so much if the board is not able to perform to the level you want it to. For the most part Asus has done a good job in balancing out their features and performance. This balance has extended even down to their entry level boards as they trickle down what they learn from their Republic of Gamer’s Boards. So where does the Z97-A fit into all of this? Let’s find out.
One of the things that makes a board stand out from the crowd, beside features and price, is how well it performs. Even with a massive feature set a board is not going to do well if the performance is not there. With the Z97-I Asus is trying to push the same level of features that you would find in a larger board, but will they be able to get the same level of performance? That is what we are looking to find out today. So without much in the way of ceremony, let’s get into why you are here and see what the Z97-I is hiding inside its small frame. You can also check out our coverage of the design and features of the Z97I Plus.
As Intel moves more and more core components to their CPU we are seeing an interesting shift in motherboard design. The manufacturers are all realizing that the performance difference between them are narrowing. The days of seeing a massive difference in benchmark scores are almost gone. However, instead of just pushing out a bunch of cookie cutter boards some motherboard makers are looking for new ways to differentiate their boards. Asus is one of these makers and we will be taking a look at a board that has more than a few departures from the normal motherboard design philosophy. This is the Asus Z97-A. So without too much more delay, let’s dive in and see what Asus has given us.
The small form factor crowd has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years. Every day on Facebook or some other spot on the internet you will see some pretty impressive builds with tiny motherboards stuffed in them. However, one of the things that has always seemed to be missing I full chipset support. Most of the time you can find mini-ITX boards running business or consumer chipsets. Fortunately, this trend has been changing and we are seeing more powerful boards hitting the market. We have one of these newer boards in the lab in the form of the Asus Z97I Plus. This Z97 chipset based board is intended to put all the power and features of larger boards into a tiny package. Let’s see how well Asus does at reaching this goal.
In other news about Intel we are now hearing that Devil’s Canyon, Intel’s Haswell refresh, will come clocked at 4GHz stock with turbo speeds of up to 4.4GHz. This stock speed is unheard of from Intel who has stayed away from pushing the stock speeds of their enthusiast CPUs. This step up is certainly going to be welcomed by the enthusiast and overclocking community who have been salivating over the new Z97 chipset and the feature packed motherboards that have been trickling out.