Saturday, December 4, 2021

Asus ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi Review

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ASUS ROG STRIX Z590-I GAMING WI-FI SPECS

Type IssueMini-ITX
CPU SocketIntel LGA 1200
ChipsetIntel Z590
Most Supported Reminiscence64 GB
No. of DIMM Slots2
Reminiscence KindDDR4
Most Reminiscence Pace5133 MHz
SATA Connectors4
M.2 Slots2
PCI Specific x16 Slots1
PCI Specific x4 Slots0
PCI Specific x1 Slots0
PCI Slots0
Onboard Video Out for IGP (Rear Panel)HDMI
USB 3.0, 3.1, or 3.2 Ports Onboard (Rear Panel)3
USB 3.0, 3.1, or 3.2 Ports Supported By way of Header3
USB 2. Zero Ports Onboard (Rear Panel)4
USB 2. Zero Ports Supported By way of Header2
USB Kind-C HeaderSure
Thunderbolt Three or Four Ports (Rear Panel)1
Ethernet Jacks1
Onboard Wi-fi802.11ax
aRGB Headers2
S/PDIF PortSure
Onboard Audio ChipsetRealtek ALC4080 + Savitech SV3H712 AMP
No. of Audio Channels3.1

The PC business may even see breakneck innovation from month to month; however, some issues keep unchanged for many years. Motherboard kind components are certainly one of them. Corporations constructing Mini-ITX boards have all the time needed to battle across the design’s restricted actual property. With its $369.99 ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi, Asus affords a radical resolution—a secondary PCB that provides extra bodily room for elements. Sadly, it is underutilized and would not add a lot rather to the board (aside from price); however, the Z590-I nonetheless holds its personal towards different boards in its worth vary and is nicely value contemplating—so long as you are comfy sticking with Intel’s 11th Gen “Rocket Lake” CPUs regardless of the emergence of 12th Gen “Alder Lake” chips and the new Z690 chipset.


Design: ITX, With a New Twist

Motherboard OEMs usually must make troublesome selections when designing their merchandise attributable to the restricted areas on the PCB. The smaller the platform, the more acute the difficulty, and Mini-ITX board designers must compromise to make things work. Some much less vital elements are eliminated, and fewer capacitors are connected to the audio controller and NIC factors.

To bypass this problem, Asus obtained inventive with the ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi. Unable to suit all the things it wished on the Mini-ITX PCB, the corporate added a second PCB that plugs into the principle board, offering several inches of additional room for elements—on this case, two M.2 slots and presumably the entire audio circuitry. (I am going to clarify “presumably” in a minute.)

The primary PCB isn’t much less busy for the inclusion of the secondary board, with several elements in a tightly packed configuration. Alongside the highest are the standard CPU energy connector and a pair of fan headers. The board’s proper aspect is the 24-pin motherboard connector, a USB Kind-C header, a USB 3—zero header, and 4 SATA 3. Zero ports.

Asus ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi Review
Amazon

The worst facet of this design is the position of headers between the PCI Specific x16 slot and the warmth spreader on the smaller PCB. The HD audio jack, a fan header, a USB header, and an LED header are crammed between these two gadgets. These change into troublesome entries after you insert a graphics card. However, this is not a flaw of this board alone—most modern Mini-ITX motherboards with M.2 slots with warmth spreaders are affected by this similar problem, and I can not choose Asus too harshly for not discovering a strategy remedy the issue right here.

Look-wise, the ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi has a glance you may both love or hate. The board is nearly entirely black, with minimal quantities of silver from lettering and elements to add distinction. There’s an aRGB-backlit ROG emblem on the secondary PCB, however none on the main PCB. In the event you’re in search of aptitude, you will not discover it right here; however, you’ve got an ocean of different, extra bling-worthy boards to select from. If you like one thing a bit extra reserved like me, you may discover this Strix’s minimalist aesthetic a real deal with.

Asus opted to go together with an 8+2 energy part design for the ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi, which is bright given the board’s restricted area. These are coated by two heatsinks and related by a heat pipe. One heatsink built-in with the rear I/O shroud is actively cooled by a small fan that is additionally constructed into the rear shroud; however, each heatsink ought to profit from the fan because of the heat pipe connecting them.


A Temporary Have a look at the Networking and Audio.

The ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi has adequately quick however unremarkable networking {hardware}. Intel’s Z590 chipset options a built-in Wi-Fi 6 AX201 networking controller, which gives comparatively quick 802.11ax wi-fi community entry with a high pace of two.4Gbps. As most Z590 boards share these options, none of them is ready to outshine the competitors on this entrance.

Asus would not be rating any factors with this board’s wired community controller both. The board incorporates a single 2.5Gbps Intel Ethernet NIC, which might have been tremendous several years in the past however is unimpressive for a high-end motherboard now that you will discover several midrange boards with related controllers. A couple of panels that compete on this worth vary ship with a 5Gbps NIC, making them extra attractive from a networking standpoint.

As I discussed earlier, most if not the entire audio circuitry resides on the secondary PCB that additionally holds two M.2 slots. It is clear that many of the audio elements are on this PCB together with the Realtek audio codec and some other capacitors; however, it’s attainable several ceramic capacitors are hiding below the rear I/O shroud near the audio jacks. In both methods, it is apparent that Asus tried to push as a lot as attainable onto this PCB.

Asus ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi Review
Amazon

The audio elements are segmented from the M.2 {hardware} by a bit of board that does not have any traces working via it, which ought to assist to forestall electromagnetic interference from including static to the audio sign. Asus additionally configured this board with a connector much like a PCIe x1 slot that permits the audio traces to move to the principle PCB near the audio jacks, which helps forestall the audio alerts from passing by different elements en path to the audio system.

Assuming this design did not considerably improve the motherboard’s price, I feel it was an intelligent selection. It might not essentially lead to higher audio efficiency; however, it permits extra elements than a regular Mini-ITX board would usually have the ability to maintain.

As for the audio resolution itself is a Realtek ALC4080 audio codec with a Savitech SV3H712 amplifier. This codec is a reasonably new one I’ve seen on several motherboards up to now; it has barely superior specs versus the long-running Realtek ALC1220 seen on most half-decent boards in the present day. How a lot of an enhancement you may genuinely have the ability to hear whereas listening to music is questionable, however at the minor OEMs try to innovate within the audio division as soon as once more.


Connectivity: The Rear I/O Ports

After we get to the rear I/O panel, we begin to see several presumably destructive facets of the dual-PCB design. The audio chipset included with the ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi can help a 7.1-channel audio system and optical S/PDIF; however, the I/O panel Asus gives has simply three 3.5mm audio jacks for an extra fundamental 3.1-channel sound system and a microphone.

There’s loads of room on the rear I/O panel for extra audio connections; however, Asus merely did not embody them. I am assuming that is due to the audio chipset being on the secondary PCB; however, that is the one logical reason I can consider why the corporate omitted the two additional audio jacks and the optical S/PDIF port.

Asus ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi Review
Amazon

The remainder of the rear I/O panel is ok for a Mini-ITX loadout, if not overstuffed. A single RJ-45 jack and two antenna connections, an HDMI port, and a complete eight USB ports. Two of the latter are Kind-C ports, with one arranged as a Thunderbolt 4 port and the opposite as USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2. Then there’s one 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 Kind-A port, one 5Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 1 Kind-A port, and 4 USB 2. Zero ports. The board may use several extra USB ports, particularly additional that help USB 3. x, I do not consider it a serious downside.


As for That Uncommon Secondary PCB…

Having two M.2 slots on a secondary PCB helps severe avoid wasting area; however, it also makes including M.2 storage gadgets more challenging. Eradicating the secondary PCB is not onerous; however, it takes longer than simply killing a warmth spreader. You will need to take away screws on either side of the motherboard to detach the second PCB and detach a ribbon cable as nicely.

Remounting the PCB afterward is a fair more considerable ache. A flimsy plastic piece bolts the cardboard onto the rear I/O shroud that is exceedingly troublesome to suit accurately again into place. I spent extra time preventing it than mounting the motherboard, eradicating the PCB, and including an M.2 drive mixed.


A Temporary Have a look at the BIOS.

Asus ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi Review
Amazon

The ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi makes use of Asus’ ordinary Republic of Avid gamers BIOS. It is one more board that boots straight into the superior mode BIOS, which you may see as optimistic for those who’re knowledgeable who all the time dives straight into that menu; however, which I take into account a design flaw: It may trigger issues for much less skilled customers who aren’t positive what they’re doing and renders the EZMode BIOS little more significant than a waste of area on the ROM.

That is a disgrace due to the EZMode BIOS having all of the choices most customers will want. From right here, you’ll be able to set the reminiscence profile, allow Intel RST, choose a booting machine, and make sure the basic system specs, together with the CPU and RAM. MemTest86 is in-built and launchable from the EZMode BIOS as nicely. MemTest86 is just the most effective instrument for testing RAM for defects and stability points for those who do not know it.

The superior BIOS affords a horde of different settings, with tons of extra data on show. The primary purpose you’d ever want to leap in right here is for overclocking, and the board fittingly gives an abundance of choices to assist make overclocking straightforward. There’s an excessive amount of to cowl intimately; however, all of the fundamentals akin to the base clock and multiplier controls, in addition to voltage controls for critical elements, are current.

You will spot several helpful instruments akin to MemTest86 within the superior BIOS as nicely. Essentially the most helpful one which is not additionally discovered within the EZMode BIOS is a utility to clean-wipe solid-state drives for disposal or resale.

Verdict: Revved-Up ‘Rocket Lake,’ With a Distinctive Extension

Asus ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi Review
Amazon

We just like the modern dual-PCB strategy of the Asus ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi motherboard, even when it wasn’t employed to its full potential. Asus added extra board actual property without including a lot new or further to the works, aside from the audio isolation. We have seen corporations including M.2 slots to the undersides of motherboards for a while; however, Asus did not do this right here, leaving you simply two M.2 Key-M slots, albeit in a much more accessible location than on the underside of aboard. We would prefer to see extra executed with this daughterboard strategy in future Mini-ITX boards; this simply scratches the floor to our eyes. The design, alas, doesn’t add a second LAN controller or further energy circuitry, however once more: Mini-ITX has its limitations.

That stated, this board labored flawlessly in our test construct and gives aggressive options for its worth level; Mini-ITX, despite everything, isn’t low-cost and generally not easy to work with. It values a glance for those who’re purchasing for a Mini-ITX LGA 1200 platform, while LGA 1700 and Intel’s Alder Lake loom.

PROS

  • Modern secondary PCB
  • Properly-rounded characteristic set
  • Simple-to-use BIOS
  • Aggressive worth

CONS

  • Secondary PCB would not add something and complicates M.2 drive installs.
  • No S/PDIF port or 7.1 audio

THE BOTTOM LINE

Asus’ ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi motherboard would not acquire a lot from its primary attraction—an modern secondary PCB—however, its options and worth make it a tempting Mini-ITX platform.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.


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