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ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming Motherboard Review

The mid-range Republic of Gamers motherboards from ASUS have always been a safe and reliable choice for their respective platforms and the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming does nothing to buck that trend.

By no means is this the most affordable motherboard on the market for its performance and feature set, but the ROG brand has never been about hitting budget price points. Indeed, the Z390-E Gaming is about a sensible blend of features and connectivity, built into a refined package that would cater for majority of prospective Z390 buyers and PC Gamers.

It’s mid-range in most senses with a standard amount of connectivity, ample USB of all generations, six SATA III ports, dual M.2, wired and wireless networking, high quality audio and some onboard diagnostics for a trouble-free building experience. The aesthetic design is pleasing, almost neutral, and there is ample RGB connectivity for customisation.

The VRM design, even after all the discussion that has surrounded it, appears to be a solid VRM implementation that delivers ample power for the overclocking needs of the majority of prospective buyers. Our testing found them to be stable – no performance, power or thermal throttling under extended loading – and perfectly sufficient for getting the most out of our CPU, as well as efficient.

While we weren’t able to record any VRM temperatures, ASUS caters to the temperature-conscious audience with the provision of a small fan to provide additional airflow over the VRM areas. The heatsinks are sizeable enough and given a decent ambient airflow level within a suitable PC case, there shouldn’t be overheating regardless of whether the extra VRM fan is used.

One issue that we found was that the AURA RGB software didn’t work during our review testing. ASUS UK provided sufficient evidence that it was able to get the same software configuration working with the sample we encountered problems with. Thus we can likely put this down to an undiscovered compatibility quirk with our particular setup such as the Windows 10 image we were using, any automatic updates Windows had applied, some of the drivers or applications we benchmark with or some other unknown incompatibility.

We did, however, notice that older versions of AURA RGB software, 1.06.17 in particular, worked where the new versions on the product page download didn’t. Given the rather lengthy 18-page-and-growing forum thread on issues with version 1.07.22 we suspect that more users might encounter problems with newer versions than the older ones. ASUS evidently has some software development work still to do to make the AURA application more robust.

The fact the VRM is “only” a 4-phase for the VCore, even if it has 8 phases worth of components, may continue to be a sticking point to many prospective buyers where the number of phases being higher is seen as better, and doublers are seen as better than no doublers.

The conclusion for the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming isn’t that different to the Z370 equivalent – this is a good overall motherboard but it feels slightly light on features given its price point and is low on excitement and innovation for something that carries the ROG banner.

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The ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming has a retail price of £227.99 in the UK at Overclockers UK and is usually sold with a 3 year warranty.

In the USA it can be had for $239.89 at Amazon and usually has a 3 year warranty.

Pros:

  • Ample fan headers
  • Good USB provision
  • LED expansion headers
  • Onboard WiFi
  • Dual cooled M.2 slots
  • Diagnostic LEDs, MemOK switch
  • Neutral styling
  • High quality audio implementation
  • Supplementary VRM fan accessory

Cons:

  • “only” a 4-phase VRM
  • Only one onboard RGB lighting zone
  • compatibility issues with new versions of AURA RGB software

KitGuru says: The ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming is a safe, sensible and well-built mid-range motherboard for Intel’s new Z390 chipset, if a little expensive.

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Rating: 7.5.

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