Intel platforms typically offer an excellent foundation for small form factor builds and Intel’s Z390 continues that trend unabated. ASUS has curated Intel’s latest chipset with ample features and a high-end specification, making it the ideal candidate for a miniature performance powerhouse.
It isn’t quite as exciting or innovative as the renowned Republic of Gamers “Maximus Impact” motherboards, last seen on the Intel Z170 platform, but ASUS continues to target development effort at the mini-ITX form factor with the ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming.
There are no signs of any outlandish daughterboards or otherwise astounding innovations, typically associated with the Republic of Gamers brand, instead a sensible mini-ITX solution that most consumers and system builders could make good use of.
Some of the neat features of the ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming include dual M.2, plentiful USB connectivity of all generations, onboard WiFi/Bluetooth, ample RGB options and a “beefy looking” VRM that makes use of the ASUS “Twin phase” CPU VRM, also seen on the ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming.
That VRM solution continues to be a “hot topic”, excuse the pun, among enthusiasts with ASUS effectively offering, on this motherboard, 6 CPU VRM phases worth of components but with only three PWM signals and no doublers. Improved transient response and less voltage droop between load switching have both been reported by ASUS as benefits, compared to doubler-based solutions, but it remains to be seen whether most consumers can look past the long-standing concept that “more phases is better”.
Let’s see how the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming handles itself under testing.
|ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming|
|Form Factor||mini-ITX, 17cm x 17cm|
|CPU Socket||LGA 1151 v2|
|CPU VRM PWM
||ASUS ASP1401CTB PWM controller|
|CPU VRM MOSFETs
||8 x On Semiconductor NCP302045, 1 x On Semiconductor NTMFS4C10N & 1 x NTMFS4C06N|
|Memory||DDR4, 2 DIMMs, up to 32GB, up to 4500MHz+ with OC|
|On-board Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics (on supported CPUs)|
|Discrete Graphics||Single Graphics Card Configurations Only|
|Expansion Slots||1 x PCIe 3.0 X16|
|Storage||2 x M.2 (Support PCIe 3.0 X4 or SATA III, both up to 2280)
4 x SATA III*
*SATA Port 2 disabled when M2_1 operating in SATA mode
|USB|| 4 x USB 2.0 (2 Front, 2 Rear, via Intel Z390)
5 x USB 3.0 (2 Front, 3 Rear [One Type-C], via Intel Z390)
3 x USB 3.1 (2 Rear, 1 Front, via Intel Z390)
|Networking||1 x Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN
Intel Wireless-AC 9560NGW with Bluetooth 5.0
|Audio||Realtek ALC1220 7.1 Channel HD Audio with Texas Instruments OPA1688 and R4580I operational amplifiers|
|RGB||1 x 12v G R B
1 x 5v Digital addressable
1 onboard RGB lighting zone (underside strip, MB 24 pin)
|Fan Headers||3, all support 3/4pin fans (1 x CPU, 1 x CHA, 1 x W_PUMP)|
|Rear I/O|| 1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A,
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (blue) Type-A,
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (black) Type-C,
2 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jack(s)
1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth v4.2)
|UEFI||1 x 128Mb UEFI AMI|