ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

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Lawrence Lee
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ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by Lawrence Lee » Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:33 pm


skyhawk
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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by skyhawk » Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:54 am

I don't understand the purpose of the VRM heatsinks.

LGA1150 processors have on-die voltage regulation for the CPU. That's why LGA1150 boards look so barren around the CPU socket. What is the purpose of the heatsinks? Is there anything even under them?

cerbie
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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by cerbie » Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:57 am

skyhawk wrote:I don't understand the purpose of the VRM heatsinks.
They look cool. I stopped worrying, except to check out a board's power performance, when I could hold my fingertip on the tops of my Core 2s board's VRMs, under load, only getting very mildly burned. Stay clear of boards with really poor efficiency, and it all works out. Clearly, anodized aluminum extrusions are pretty cheap.
LGA1150 processors have on-die voltage regulation for the CPU. That's why LGA1150 boards look so barren around the CPU socket.
Except that they aren't. The MOSFETs are just smaller and more efficient, these days.
Is there anything even under them?
There is, like always. The Power supply gives 12V, 5V, and 3.3V. The CPU takes a voltage lower than any of them. That voltage must be supplied, within spec, by something on the board.

http://www.asrock.com/mb/photo/Box/B85% ... 28m%29.jpg
Look above the socket. That's a 4 phase voltage regulator, for near-100W CPUs, like will be found under those big heatsinks most boards have. The massive capacitance needs are gone, these days, as are the bulky MOSFET packages, but the regulation itself is still there.

pod03
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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by pod03 » Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:50 pm

Hi Lawrence,

Thanks for the review. Can you confirm something. Would I be right in thinking that what with power saving mode from page 6 enabled the idle power dropped to about 19W compared to the 24W on page 5?

Mark

Lawrence Lee
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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by Lawrence Lee » Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:13 pm

pod03 wrote:Hi Lawrence,

Thanks for the review. Can you confirm something. Would I be right in thinking that what with power saving mode from page 6 enabled the idle power dropped to about 19W compared to the 24W on page 5?

Mark
Yes, that's correct. 5W difference.

sn1009
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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by sn1009 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:06 am

Lawrence,

1) Can you confirm that the minimum fan % setting for the CPU_FAN header in PWM-mode is 30 ? (In BIOS)
2) What's the minimum % in DC mode ? (In BIOS)
3) Does the same minimum limits apply to the CHA1-4 fan headers ? (In BIOS)
4) Is it possible to set a different plot point graph on all CHA-FAN in both DC and PWM mode in the BIOS?
5) Can you tune the fans in the BIOS or does this require that you install Al Suite?

I've flipped through the manual but I could'nt find my questions answered in there.

Thanks.

Edit 18/11/2014. Thank you Abula.
Last edited by sn1009 on Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Abula
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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by Abula » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:10 am

sn1009 wrote:Lawrence,

1) Can you confirm that the minimum fan % setting for the CPU_FAN header in PWM-mode is 30 ?
2) What's the minimum % in DC mode ?
3) Does the same minimum limits apply to the CHA1-4 fan headers ?
You should complement them by asking in bios or under the windows/anyother os.
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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by sn1009 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:56 pm

Abula wrote:You should complement them by asking in bios or under the windows/anyother os.
I don't follow. Do you recommend me to post my questions somewhere else?

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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by Abula » Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:47 pm

sn1009 wrote:
Abula wrote:You should complement them by asking in bios or under the windows/anyother os.
I don't follow. Do you recommend me to post my questions somewhere else?
Your questions from 1 to 3, are not specific weather bios or software. So the answer could go either way.
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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by MikeC » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:11 pm

sn1009 wrote:1) Can you confirm that the minimum fan % setting for the CPU_FAN header in PWM-mode is 30 ? (In BIOS)
2) What's the minimum % in DC mode ? (In BIOS)
3) Does the same minimum limits apply to the CHA1-4 fan headers ? (In BIOS)
4) Is it possible to set a different plot point graph on all CHA-FAN in both DC and PWM mode in the BIOS?
5) Can you tune the fans in the BIOS or does this require that you install Al Suite?

I've flipped through the manual but I could'nt find my questions answered in there.

Thanks.

Edit 18/11/2014. Thank you Abula.
Most important question first -- BIOS has QFAN TUNE which must be used before the BIOS fan controller will really work right. This is what sets the low limits for each fan/header. Although it dictated 60% min. on some of the case fans tried, when those headers were switched to PWM, the minimum dropped to 25% -- but that might be only because the PWM header was not tuned; the fans were 3-pin case fans. For the Scythe Kotetsu fan, the CPU PWM fan header gave a minimum of 25% speed, which is likely to be the absolute minimum. Switching this to DC raised the min to 50%.
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sn1009
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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by sn1009 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:30 pm

MikeC wrote:For the Scythe Kotetsu fan, the CPU PWM fan header gave a minimum of 25% speed, which is likely to be the absolute minimum. Switching this to DC raised the min to 50%.
Thank you Mike.
25% minimum for a PWM fan sounds rather high.
THIS thread indicates that the ASUS X99 Deluxe will drop a PWM fan to a minimum of 14% in BIOS.

It would be interesting to know if the 25% you speak of is a motherboard or fan limitation.

In case you find the time to dig a little deeper - keep in mind that Asus QFAN-tune might have a defect when it comes to determine a (3-pin) fans start-up voltage. Source
My guess is that this defect, if present, will affect 4-pin PWM fan tuning in a similar fashion.

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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by MikeC » Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:44 pm

sn1009 wrote:
MikeC wrote:For the Scythe Kotetsu fan, the CPU PWM fan header gave a minimum of 25% speed, which is likely to be the absolute minimum. Switching this to DC raised the min to 50%.
Thank you Mike.
25% minimum for a PWM fan sounds rather high.
THIS thread indicates that the ASUS X99 Deluxe will drop a PWM fan to a minimum of 14% in BIOS.

It would be interesting to know if the 25% you speak of is a motherboard or fan limitation.

In case you find the time to dig a little deeper - keep in mind that Asus QFAN-tune might have a defect when it comes to determine a (3-pin) fans start-up voltage. Source
My guess is that this defect, if present, will affect 4-pin PWM fan tuning in a similar fashion.
It's quite possible that a lower % can be obtained; I only tried it once, with one fan, and from previous experience, it usually takes a few tries to sort out just what such utilities can do. Haven't had time. I'm of the opin that ASUS has shown enough commitment to the whole range of fan control users so even if it's not perfect, there's plenty of usability between BIOS & in-OS applications to make this board a perfectly safe buy for a silent PC enthusiast.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by Abula » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:34 pm

sn1009 wrote:
MikeC wrote:For the Scythe Kotetsu fan, the CPU PWM fan header gave a minimum of 25% speed, which is likely to be the absolute minimum. Switching this to DC raised the min to 50%.
Thank you Mike.
25% minimum for a PWM fan sounds rather high.
THIS thread indicates that the ASUS X99 Deluxe will drop a PWM fan to a minimum of 14% in BIOS.

It would be interesting to know if the 25% you speak of is a motherboard or fan limitation.

In case you find the time to dig a little deeper - keep in mind that Asus QFAN-tune might have a defect when it comes to determine a (3-pin) fans start-up voltage. Source
My guess is that this defect, if present, will affect 4-pin PWM fan tuning in a similar fashion.
Disclaimer, i dont own a Asus Z97/H97, but i do a Z87, so take my comments with a grain of salt.

Personally i find Asus bios fan control to be lacking, specially in terms of allowing the user more control, i find the presets to be relatively good, and probably work for most but that not good enough for me. I find the manual settings very high, at least on the Z87, my lowest was 40%, in past gens was 25% maybe they change it back, but its sad when you see MSI and AsRock give much control to users on pure bios, on MSI you can reach 12.5% as long as the fan can drop there, Asrock allows any %pwm to what i have seens (don't own an AsRock motherboard), and increments on 1% with multiple breakpoints, kinda like a little fanXpert graph on pure bios, something that MSI also implemented on their Z97/H97 on pure bios, but with the restriction of 12.5% as increments.

But not all is great on MSI and Asrock, for example, the weakness of MSI bios fan control is that their 3pin voltage controlled headers (SYS_FANS) can only be dropped to 50%, but instead of the 12.5% increments here is 10% ... but it wont go lower than 50% no matter what, still pretty decent as you can set it up with the graph or setup min/max temps/%, but its no where near what Asus FanXpert will do with their CHA_FANs. AsRock in the other hand that gives you extremely good control with the 1% increments and any PWM % (to what i remember), has its weakness on CHA_FANs, where its only setup as presets.

Personally i feel where Asus excels is FanXpert, where probably its the best, it overrides all bios settings on fan control, and allows fans to drop as low as they can.... but for bios, i wouldn't chose asus.
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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by sn1009 » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:39 am

Abula wrote:Personally i find Asus bios fan control to be lacking, specially in terms of allowing the user more control, i find the presets to be relatively good, and probably work for most but that not good enough for me.
By presets I guess you mean profiles (silent, standard, turbo etc.)
According to this screenshot found HERE the Asus Z97-PRO has a "manual" option in the bios.
It's unclear to me what the resolution is on the axes. Maybe 5% increments on the x-axis and 1% increments on the y-axis ?

Abula, do you remember the minimum 3-pin fan speed in BIOS on your Asus Z87 mobo?

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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by bbalex » Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:09 am

I have a peculiar request, if still possible.

Could this motherboard (or any other recent Asus motherboard) be tested for VRM noise generation, using 3dMark03 CPU Tests and 3DMark05 CPU tests? This test should be without expansion cards plugged in (so, relying on onboard video), no case fans either, preferably on an open bench, to make sure the noise does not get covered by something else.

I have just made a build using a ROG Gene VII motherboard, using what Asus claims to be the best components for power delivery, and had the nasty surprise to discover a pulsating buzzing when running the CPU Tests above. The same kind of noise happens when trying some recent games and using a video card - only that it's harder to notice then, as the video card noise is louder. It does not happen at all when using common CPU stress tests, like Prime95, or Intel PDU. It does not happen when using the other tests from the 3DMark suites mentioned above, either. Enabling pretty much every power saving feature on the motherboard is the only way to reduce this noise, but it's still loud (for my almost-always passive build).

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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by dmitch » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:28 am

I am using this very motherboard and also have issues with the Qfan. What it does is, it basically allows to switch between PWN and Voltage control and lets you set a basic curve. However, to set these, Qfan first "measures" minimum fan speeds, and this is where it (often) fails for me. At best, I get the minimum value of my Scythe Kotetsu Fan and the built in Antec Solo II Fan to about 600 rpm.
Is this really the lowest they can do? Does anyone have a guide on how to trick Qfan into "believing" into lower rpms (I am not using windows, so the standard software is not an option for me)?
Specs: Antec II Solo, Asus Z97 Pro Wifi AC, i5-4430, Scythe Kotetsu, Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP 16 GB, Samsung EVO 840 1TB, WD Red 3TB (2x).

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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by lodestar » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:34 pm

What you're seeing with the Scythe Kotetsu fan is in line with the results obtained during the SPCR review. As you are not using Windows and cannot therefore use the Fan Xpert software the current fan speeds are about as low as it gets with BIOS fan control. If you want lower speeds then you will need to change the Kotetsu fan, and for this I would recommend the Noctua NF-F12. This will not only give you a significantly lower idle speed but reduced intermediate speeds as well - with an attendant reduction in noise levels.

To be precise these are the Scythe Kotetsu fan speeds for the 20% to 60% PWM duty cycle range as measured by the SPCR review

20% 566
30% 637
40% 789
50% 927
60% 1067

And these are the rpm figures for the Noctua NF-F12 as measured by me

20% 299
30% 390
40% 602
50% 767
60% 897

dmitch
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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by dmitch » Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:13 pm

Thanks, lodestar. Since my CPU is under very little stress (i5 4350) and highest temperature I get is about 42°C, i was wondering if I could go for an even quite option? My setup in short: i5 4350, Antec Solo II with standard fan, Scythe Kotetsu, second Scythe fan (same as Kotetsu) as a front intake. For further silencing I guess I could switch the two Scythe fans with Noctua which run slower? Which would be the desired models? Thanks again!
Specs: Antec II Solo, Asus Z97 Pro Wifi AC, i5-4430, Scythe Kotetsu, Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP 16 GB, Samsung EVO 840 1TB, WD Red 3TB (2x).

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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by lodestar » Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:27 pm

For a replacement intake and maybe exhaust fan you could consider the Noctua NF-S12A PWM. These are the rpm figures I measured for the 20% to 60% PWM duty cycle range

20% 317
30% 448
40% 562
50% 703
60% 795

Under BIOS control I would expect to see idle speeds in practice of between 350 to 450 rpm with the NF-F12 and/or the NF-S12A PWM depending on ambient temperature.

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Re: ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard

Post by dmitch » Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:21 am

Thanks again for your recommendation, lodestar. I picked up an NF-F12 PWM and and NF-S12A PWM. With the UEFI Bios control, I can get the F12 as low as 225 rpm and the S12A as low as 250 rpm, so they are effectively inaudible.
I was quite surprised how different the F12 is to the Scythe Kotetsu stock fan: While the F12 it is definitely less audible with the lower rpm, at about 600 rpm the F12s case starts vibrating significantly. This vibration is transmitted onto the Kotetsu making the F12 at least at about 700 or 800 rpm less quiet than the stock fan.
Since the stock fan has the common ticking issue, I am very happy with the F12.
I have been tinkering with the settings and slopes of the UEFI, but am not sure about the temperature levels I should aim for: Which temperatures are considered acceptable for the MB, PCH and VRM (and CPU)?
Specs: Antec II Solo, Asus Z97 Pro Wifi AC, i5-4430, Scythe Kotetsu, Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP 16 GB, Samsung EVO 840 1TB, WD Red 3TB (2x).

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