The Asus Z170 Pro Gaming motherboard is a conservative and subdued motherboard by the usual standards of ASUS gaming motherboards – there aren’t any extravagant features or boundary-breaking design elements normally associated with its Republic of Gamers products. Nonetheless, the Z170 Pro Gaming is still likely to have widespread appeal thanks to its well-rounded feature set and keen pricing.
ASUS may not be offering the most affordable Z170 Gaming motherboard but they are setting the bar slightly higher than some other vendors in terms of the components used, though the price does reflect this.
The Realtek ALC1150 audio solution and Intel I219V NIC are arguably the best of their kind and you will find the same network controller on ASUS motherboards as high up as the Maximus VIII Extreme, while the ALC1150 codec is the basis of most premium motherboard audio solutions from ASUS, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI, even if other components like capacitors and amplifiers will vary.
In that regard the price point of £125 / $160 that ASUS have settled on is not unreasonable, especially when you consider ASUS are officially certifying and supporting Nvidia SLI while the two rival motherboards we’ve tested the ASUS motherboard against both lack SLI support.
ASUS does well in areas that typically go unappreciated such as the quality of the UEFI, which is usable for novice users while simultaneously being comprehensive enough for experienced users. The software package is also good, even if some of the utilities feel a little bit obsolete or superficial and the sheer number of utilities is somewhat overwhelming.
One of the highlights with the ASUS motherboard is the fan controls which are provided in both the UEFI and AI Suite III software, the granularity of control across all five headers for DC and PWM fans is excellent and it really is an under-rated feature. Sure it might not quite be a gaming feature but not having to fork out for a fan controller and having a quiet PC is always desirable.
Being a Skylake series motherboard the ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming will have any prospective buyer reasonably well future-proofed thanks to the inclusion of DDR4, USB 3.1 Type-A and C, SLI support and an M.2 slot supporting NVMe drives, like the new Samsung 950 Pro. The only area that we can see being an issue for some prospective buyers is with regards to aesthetics, which is undoubtedly a subjective thing.
We feel that there are a number of other boards from rival vendors in the same price bracket that deliver a more bold, exciting and vibrant design for a gaming system, some even have RGB lighting at the same price point.
- Sensible choice of components and controllers.
- Excellent future-proofing and connectivity options – USB 3.1 Type-A and C, M.2 with NVMe, DDR4 and SLI.
- A well fleshed rear I/O
- Competitively priced given the hardware on offer
- Somewhat plain aesthetics
- Slightly bloated software package
KitGuru says: A well-rounded and competent Z170 Gaming motherboard, the ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming warrants inclusion on the shortlist of anyone looking to build a Skylake gaming system on a tight budget.