ASUS has announced a new line of motherboards that support the Intel Skylake platform and feature the Z170 chipset. Calling this new line their “Signature Series,” the Taiwanese manufacturer hopes to provide a top tier line of boards that work great for day-to-day productivity, entertainment, and gaming.
The Z170 Signature Series will focus on offering the best features in their class. These boards will feature dedicated overclocking abilities, implementing a dedicate microprocessor for unlimited clock speed potential. The boards will also feature Crystal Sound 3, a dedicated onboard sound sub-system with premium components to provide immersive audio.
Though we only have photos of two of the boards from the Z170 Signature Series, a total of eight boards have been announced for the new product line. They vary in their connectivity options and included options, but they all feature support for the Intel 6th Generation Core processors and Z170 chipset.
These new boards are available now from ASUS authorized resellers. There’s a wealth of information to be found about the new line in the press release below.
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ASUS Announces the Z170 Signature Series
Motherboards with 5-Way Optimization, ASUS Pro Clock technology, Crystal Sound 3, and the latest connectivity
Fremont, California (5th August, 2015) – ASUS today announced the Z170 Signature Series of motherboards, a fully-featured family that enables flexible, wide-ranging PC builds for day-to-day productivity, entertainment, and gaming.
Perfectly refined, the Z170 Signature Series has a best-in-class overclocking design that includes a dedicated microprocessor for unlimited overclocking potential. The new motherboards also feature Crystal Sound 3 for impeccable onboard audio quality, Intel® Ethernet with Turbo LAN to deliver an incredible gaming experience, and the latest interfaces for rapid data transmission: an M.2 x4 PCI Express 3.0 slot for SSDs, plus Type-A and Type-C USB 3.1 ports for external storage.
The Z170-Deluxe motherboard further includes six USB 3.1 ports, 3×3 802.11ac Wi-Fi, as well as a Hyper M.2 x4 Mini card and U.2 Hyper Kit to offer the most complete Z170 experience available.
Overclocking and system tuning made easy
Tuning a new system for the best overall performance can be a daunting task for newcomers to PC DIY. To make the process easier, most motherboards offer basic overclocking profiles that apply predetermined values. However, the overclocking ability of the platform can vary widely, so there is a downside to using preset overclocking profiles—the parameters applied may not make best use of the chosen CPU, cooling, or memory modules.
With these caveats in mind, ASUS engineers developed an easy-to-use software utility named 5-Way Optimization to dynamically tune overall system performance for the end user. This exclusive technology utilizes dedicated onboard hardware, software, and firmware to automatically tune the system, providing the best CPU performance, energy savings, stable digital power, and optimized fan speeds. The beauty of this approach is that the applied settings are tailored for the individual system, not some generic selection used by the competition, thus providing immediate performance gains without user frustration or stability worries.
See the benefits and features of 5-Way Optimization in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLkzMamoRbA
Exceptional overclocking potential
Motherboard trace layout plays a pivotal part in system stability and is the foundation for overclocking. The new Z170 Signature Series motherboards feature the latest iteration of ASUS T-Topology, enabling users to overclock DDR4 memory to new heights: over DDR4-3733MHz* is possible with all memory slots populated. Featuring a custom trace layout for reduced crosstalk and coupling noise, ASUS T-Topology ensures time-aligned signal transfer for improved memory stability and compatibility at all operating frequencies.
The benefits of this design are already making an impact in the industry. Leading enthusiast memory suppliers are sending their highest-performing quad-DIMM memory kits to select media partners and recommending the use of ASUS motherboards for reviews. This endorsement confirms that ASUS motherboards are ready for overclocking now–not in a few months, after numerous copy-cat EFI updates or board redesigns.
For overclocking enthusiasts, the Z170 Signature Series utilizes Pro Clock technology, a dedicated base-clock (BCLK) generator designed for 6th-generation Intel Core™ processors that allows overclocked base-clock frequencies of 400MHz and beyond*. This custom solution works in tandem with the ASUS TurboV Processing Unit (TPU) to enhance voltage and base-clock overclocking control. Boot times at high BCLK frequencies are reduced, jitter is lowered, and stability is increased under heavy overclocking, providing an exciting new way to boost performance to extreme heights.
The best fan controls available – period!
For the ultimate in cooling and quiet operation, the Z170 Signature Series features advanced fan controls coupled to onboard thermal sensors and hardware-level 4-pin/3-pin PWM/DC modes for every header. Each chassis fan header can be assigned to react to different temperature diodes for optimal cooling. A dedicated water pump header is also onboard; it’s set to run at full speed by default to prevent spin-up issues. The water pump header is fully controllable, supporting both PWM and DC pumps. Every onboard header can be controlled easily via Fan Xpert 3 software or via the intuitive interface of the ASUS UEFI.
If that’s not enough, an onboard header is compatible with the ASUS Fan Extension card** (sold separately), which lets users plug in and control three additional system fans in PWM or DC mode. This card has headers for additional temperature probes, too. Simply put, the cooling controls on the ASUS Z170 Signature Series motherboards put competing motherboards and dedicated fan controllers to shame!
See Fan Xpert 3 in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt-rh-WCxlc
The best UEFI
The cornerstone of any motherboard is its UEFI. At the back end, UEFI coding should be intelligent enough to automate as many advanced settings as possible for beginners. The front end should provide interface options that are suitable for every demographic, whilst being responsive to input. Since the inception of the UEFI, ASUS has come closer to fulfilling these ideals than anyone else.
For the Z170 Signature Series, new options have been added to the fan controls and My Favorites. Users can monitor SMART status and secure erase SSDs inside the UEFI, and they can check on installed graphics cards with GPU POST. The integrated EZ Flash 3 utility can even download the latest UEFI updates automatically over the Internet. These new additions make system setup easier than ever.
Videos showcasing the UEFI’s EZ mode for newcomers and Advanced mode for seasoned users are available here:
Crystal-clear in-game audio and low-latency networking with LANGuard protection
Crystal Sound 3 provides audio shielding and protection from electromagnetic interference by separating the left and right audio channels. A de-pop circuit design and a new power pre-regulator help reduce input power noise, while an amplifier and premium Japanese-made capacitors provide gamers and enthusiasts with immersive audio.
Intel Ethernet with LANGuard protection and Turbo LAN deliver low-latency networking with hardware-level protection for reliable online connections and better throughput. Turbo LAN also lets users customize packet priority to ensure smooth online gaming sessions.
On the Z170-Deluxe, the Intel Ethernet is backed by 3×3 802.11ac Wi-Fi that ensures super-fast connectivity for wireless networks. The onboard Wi-Fi works with Turbo LAN, too.
All the Z170 Signature Series motherboards have a 256-color LED that lets users customize the lighting of their builds. This LED can also be set to reflect the CPU temperature or pulse to the beat of the music playing through the system.
Onboard USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports support data transfer speeds up to 10Gbit/s for external devices. ASUS-exclusive USB 3.1 Boost technology can improve performance, as well.
For speedy internal storage, there’s an M.2 x4 PCI Express 3.0 slot with up to 32Gbit/s of bandwidth—an ideal interface for operating-system or application drives. The Z170 Signature Series also supports NVMe SSDs.
The Z170-Deluxe comes with a Hyper Kit U.2 that supports 2.5-inch NVMe storage, plus a Hyper M.2 x4 Mini adapter card that provides an additional M.2 slot. Users can combine two PCIe SSDs in a RAID 0 array to enjoy even faster storage performance.
** Compatible with the Z170-Deluxe and Z170-A and Z170-AR
ASUS is a worldwide top-three consumer notebook vendor and maker of the world’s best-selling, most award-winning motherboards. A leading enterprise in the new digital era, ASUS designs and manufactures products that perfectly meet the needs of today’s digital home and office, with a broad portfolio that includes motherboards, graphics cards, optical drives, displays, desktop and all-in-one PCs, notebooks, netbooks, servers, multimedia devices, wireless solutions, networking devices, tablets and smartphones. Driven by innovation and committed to quality, ASUS won 4,326 awards in 2014 and is widely credited with revolutionizing the PC industry with its Eee PC™. ASUS has more than 13,600 employees around the globe with a world-class R&D team of 4,500 engineers. Company revenue for 2014 was approximately US$14.5 billion.