Overview of the ASUS Z87-PRO
The packaging is standard ASUS with a techie look with a large naming on the front panel but also large icons covering some of the key features. The rear is where you get really indepth on what the features offer and what the platform can do.
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- SATA Cables
- WiFi/BT 4.0 Antennae
- Qconnect front panel connectors
- IO Shield
- SLI Ribbon Cable
- Installation disc
- Owners Manual
The accessories are more than enough to get you moving without too much hassle including the WiFI Antennae to handle the wireless duties quite nicely. Also I will take this time to note that I do like the new Wifi Antennae design much better than the dual antennae version used previously.
- WiFi/BT4.0 Card
- Intel Gigabit (10/100/1000) LAN Port
- 6x USB 3.0 ports (4x Asmedia, 2x Intel Z87)
- Optical S/PDIF Port
- D-Sub connector
- DVI Connector
- HDMI Connector
- Displayport Connector
- PS2 Combo KB/Mouse port
- 8 channel Realtek ALC 1150 powered audio connections
Here you can see that while similar to the Z87-A the PRO actually offers WiFi and also a ALC 1150 audio solution which tends to be included in many higher end solutions from various manufacturers.
ASUS has completely redesigned the AISuite Software with the AISuite III software. A completely new user interface is now available and with that comes a much smoother function.
Overall the AISuite III software has been completely reworked for a cleaner looking interface. As you can see there is alot more information available in each section as the upper screen gives you the controls of the section you are in and the bottom area can be tabbed through and has a load of different monitoring areas to cycle through and help you see exactly how your board is behaving in real time. Also this is a significant change so it may take you a few minutes to figure out where everything is at but in the end it is quite easy once you get the hang of it as the system has changed from a selector bar or taskbar driven software to a larger screen driven software.
Turbo VCore is a super lite program made for quick and easy board tuning within the OS. We have seen many companies starting to realize that their included software is a bit too much or a bit too heavy for users who need a super light easy to load program that also loads quickly as being on the ragged edge overclocking you cannot wait for a huge program to load just to make a quick change.
The Turbo VCore program is just this and it fits the bill nicely as it loads very fast and load or overhead on the system is very small which is exactly what you need when running in such extreme conditions.
The BIOS of the ASUS Z87’s still carries the same fluidity that the Z77 and Z68’s carried as ASUS has done very well on the overall UEFI code which means the only think they have really needed to add was updates based on features or tuning of the board. Well all of that aside ASUS did add some very interesting features which we think will help some users especially those who like to tweak their boards and try to squeeze a bit more performance from them. The ability to take notes within the BIOS is very cool although I am old school and always keep pen and paper near by, we guess you could call this a “Green” alternative as you take notes on adjustments, although I would still keep a paper backup of any notes or at least a screenshot (F12) of the notes before flashing the BIOS as a bios update that goes deep enough could clear those notes and they would be gone forever.
Another neat feature would be the Last modified section which basically just logs any changes you made in the BIOS so that if you run into an issue you can go back and look at what your changes were all dated and with a timestamp so that you can revert changes and test again without starting over. This is a interesting feature and I am not saying everyone will use it but well for the target audience of this board (Extreme enthusiasts and overclockers) we think it could ultimately be very useful.
Another cool addition is the my favorites page which allows you to earmark certain settings within the bios to be placed on this page where you can go to and have access to your most commonly used settings without having to go through all of the other settings as there are quite a lot on this board.
The ability to rename SATA ports is also a huge plus here as it allows quick easy reference to which port you are using rather than going by a port number which could be much harder to distinguish.