ASUS Z97-A Motherboard Review

Final Thoughts
I think the biggest thing that surprised me about the Z97-A is how ASUS has brought many of the features that we have seen in the higher-end boards over the years down to their entry-level board. It is great to see this and it brings so many great things to this affordable board. Some of the things that stand out are the Crystal Sound 2 audio with PCB isolation, ASUS 5-way optimization, and even a power button on the board. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an entry-level board with a power button on it!

ASUS has also done a great job with storage options on this board. You have SATA Express, M.2 and four SATA 6GB/s port (8 if you are not using SATA Express). Having SATA Express and M.2 definitely future-proofs this board as we will be seeing many storage options for those technologies coming out very soon.

Another great improvement ASUS has made is with the UEFI BIOS. As soon as you go into the BIOS you are brought to the “EZ Mode” screen that not only shows you relevant information, but also allows you to do quite a lot without having to go into the advanced section of the BIOS. The BIOS is snappy, looks great and I didn’t find a single issue with it. With ASUS motherboards comes the Ai Suite III companion software and as I’ve said in the past it is some of the best motherboard software out there.

While I do really like the Z97-A, there were a few faults. The brown PCB was not my favorite. I would have rather have liked to have seen a black PCB if anything. Also the accessories package with the Z97-A is a bit lacking.

It is really hard to believe that this is ASUS’s entry-level Z97 motherboard. Even looking back at the Z87-A, this board offers much more and you can see where ASUS made the improvements. If you are looking to get into the Z97 platform at an affordable price the Z97-A is the perfect choice. Right now you can pick up the Z97-A at my favorite online retailer for $149.99, which makes it such a great value. Overall ThinkComputers gives the ASUS Z97-A Motherboard a 9 out of 10 score and our Editor’s Choice Award!

Pros:
– Price
– SATA Express and M.2 connectivity
– Updated BIOS and Software
– Solid performance
– Good overall layout

Cons:
– Brown PCB
– Accessory package is lacking

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