ASUS Skylake Z170 Deluxe RushKit
ASUS Z170 Deluxe Rushkit
ASUS Z170 Deluxe Rushkit
The ASUS Z170 Deluxe is designed to be ASUS's premium product without all of the flash that comes with the Republic of gamers branding and instead looking for a cleaner and more defined white and black look. Previously ASUS Deluxe motherboards came in Gold and black, which produced a very mixed reaction from PC builders, so this time ASUS has opted for a Black and white colour scheme, though there is a little bit of blue in the design which does a great job in highlighting several parts of the board.
This motherboard is designed to deliver a lot of extra features which are simply not present on cheaper motherboards and a high quality aesthetic. If the name Deluxe didn't already leave a subtle hint in this direction, offers a build quality and feature set which is equal or even beats a lot of the cheaper Z170 Republic of Gamers motherboard, which is fantastic to see for those who are not fans of red and black. This does not mean that the lower end ROG board are by any means low quality, it just means that this product is more premium, some would say Deluxe.
When we look at the board itself we see that this motherboard is worth every penny of its £225 asking price, with very large silver coloured heatsink, a tonne of rear facing USB 3.1 ports, a eye-watering 16-phase digital power design, 5K-hour solid capacitors and a nice white shroud which covers the rear IO and the Audio section of the motherboard.
On the motherboard we can see 3 PCIe 16x lanes, two of which are wired as 8x electrically with the 3rd/ bottom one operating at PCIe 3.0 4x effective speeds. We also have an M.2 connection on the motherboard which will be very useful for use with Ultra fast NVMe M.2 SSDs like Samsung's SM951 SSD.
Alongside this motherboards M.2 connector we have a single SATA Express connector and 6 SATA 3.0 connectors, which gives this board a total of 8 usable SATA 3.0 ports, provided that you do not use your SATA Express connection.
Moving to the rear IO of this motherboard we cannot help but be impressed, with 6 USB 3.1 ports this motherboard is simply as next gen as it could possibly get, offering a single USB 3.0 and a single USB 2.0 port as an easy way to highlight which ports are usable for ASUS' EZ-Flash BIOS updating and ASUS' Keyboard upgrade.
One thing we should also not is that this Motherboard also has a USB Type-C connector, which will be compatible with future Thunderbolt 3 devices as thunderbolt 3 will be USB 3.1 Type-C compliant.
This amount of USB 3.1 connectivity on this motherboard is highly significant, especially given how long it has taken for USB 3.0 to receive noteworthy adoption rates. Perhaps ASUS has USB 3.1 devices planned for the future or simply want to make this board as "fututreproof" as possible when it comes to it's rear IO.
On the rear IO we also see dual Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, a 3 way wireless adapter, a HDMI 2.0 port and a DisplayPort 1.2 port to use with Intel integrated graphics and your general Audio outputs.
With this motherboard you will be provided with two very useful accessories alongside the usual SATA cables, driver disks and other typical accessories, both of which are useful when it comes to using ultra fast NVMe based storage devices.
The first of which is a PCIe to M.2 adapter, which will be very useful for those who want to install an additional M.2 based storage devices as well as by using the M.2 slot on your motherboard. This will be exceptionally useful for those who wish to use more than one M.2 based storage device.
Alongside the M.2 adapter is an M.2 to U.2 adapter, which allows the user to use a U.2 storage device with this motherboard. This will allow users of this motherboard to install devices like the Intel 2.5" SSD 750, or other future super fast U.2 SSDs.
This adapter is very difficult to find elsewhere right now, so it is great to see ASUS offering it for free with this motherboard. In many places this adapter can be found for over £20, which is very expensive for a simple adapter.
The Key Express lets users instantly “upgrade” their existing keyboards by slotting into a dedicated USB socket which will activate ASUS' Key Express microprocessor.
Within AI Suite 3 users can assign Macros/Windows Login/Function Keys and instant shortcuts or commands to profiles. All that you need to do is plug your existing keyboard into the Key Express USB socket to activate the exclusive Key Express microprocessor on the Z170-DELUXE.
The easy to use utility will allow you to assign Macro functions to your F1-F10 keys. These Macros can be assigned on an application to application basis, so you can assign keys based on what you are doing at the time.
Lighting Control is ASUS' new LED control tool which allows the user to change specific motherboard LEDs to your favorite colour without hassle.
On the control side, Lighting Control includes four built-in lighting effects, Static / Pulsating / Strobing / Rainbow and two special effects that change with music or with CPU Temperature. To select your colour Lighting Control also equipped with a circular rainbow palette, shown below, with brightness control on the right side of the UI for user to do the adjustment based on modding needs.
There is also a white to black filter which can change the LED from a white colour or decreasing in brightness until the LED is turned off.
ASUS put lots of efforts on their Q design detailing on all over the boards, hoping to provide PC builders with a better DIY experience.
There are many design changed and iterations which have been designed to make the PC building and fault finding process easier. Q-Code is designed to make troubleshooting POST failures easier, Q-shield was designed to be flexible and soft for cuts free. Q-LED leads you to the POST status of the system. 1-Clip Q-Slot helps user to have better experiencing on upgrading the graphics cards with ease. 1-sided Q-DIMM makes memory modules insertion simplified with just one easily push. Q-Connector was an extra panel that can be utilize for easy installation and easy manage on front panel cables.
All these were made for DIY users that care for quicker and better DIY experiences, no more hassles and hazards on DIY!
Water Cooling Pump Header
One feature which is all new to this generation of ASUS motherboards is it's dedicated water cooling Pump header, which can function like a normal fan header or be used as a dedicated pump header for your water cooled PC.
Right now this function is exclusive to ASUS, allowing you to more directly control your pump with 4-pin PWM adjustment and dedicated water cooling options in the BIOS.
Conclusion and Video
The key to this motherboard is in it's name, Deluxe, this motherboard is simply premium in every sense of the word, offering a feature set which is greater than even the Maxumus VIII Hero, which we have reviewed today, with a simple yet beautiful black and white colour scheme.
Everything about this motherboard oozes quality, from the highly impressive 16-phase power delivery system to the obscenely high number of USB 3.1 ports on it's rear IO. This motherboard is designed to last and it is certainly not designed to disappoint.
What this motherboard is designed to do is provide options, both now and in the future. With a large number of USB 3.1 ports you can connect a large number of fast USB 3.1 or Thunderbolt 3 devices and with it's M.2 slot and the various M.2 related accessories you have a wide range of options when to comes to using super fast NVMe based storage options.
Overclocking wise we are very excited about having a look at this motherboard, as when using this motherboards little brother, the Z170-A we were able to get some very impressive clock speeds out of our Intel Skylake CPUs. Hopefully the beefed up power delivery system on this motherboard will allow us to push our CPUs ever further on both the memory and on the CPU clock side.
This motherboard is one that we are very excited to test, as it brings with it a lot of connectivity options and should hopefully provide us with some great overclocks. We will be reviewing this motherboard and many others on the Z170 platform over the next few weeks, so soon you will be able to see exactly how well this motherboard performs.