On Board Peripherals

The Intel Z97 chipset is a single-chip solution, which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip has six SATA-600 ports, supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5). The ASUS Z97-PRO offers those six ports, plus two additional SATA-600 ports controlled by one ASMedia ASM1061 chip (no RAID support). The SATA ports are installed on the motherboard edge and rotated 90°, so the installation of video cards will not block them.

Notice that two SATA-600 ports at the bottom right can be used as two standard SATA ports or as one SATA Express port.

ASUS Z97-ProFigure 4: the two SATA-600 ports controlled by the ASM1061 chip (block) and the six SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset (gray).

The Intel Z97 chipset supports 14 USB 2.0 ports and six USB 3.0 ports. The ASUS Z97-PRO offers six USB 2.0 ports, two at the rear panel and four available through two headers located on the motherboard. There are eight USB 3.0 ports (four at the rear panel and four available through two headers), six of them controlled by the chipset, and two controlled by an ASMedia ASM1042 chip.

The portrayed motherboard does not support FireWire or Thunderbolt ports.

This motherboard supports 7.1 audio format, i.e., eight channels. On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using the Realtek ALC1150 codec, which is an excellent audio codec, providing 115 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, with 24-bit resolution. These specifications are good even for the user who wants to work professionally by capturing and editing analog audio (e.g., converting LPs to CDs or MP3, converting VHS to DVDs or any other digital format, etc.) The codec chip is shielded against electromagnetic interference.

The analog audio outputs are independent even if you use a 7.1 analog speaker set.

The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by an Intel I218V chip.

In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel with a shared PS/2 keyboard/mouse connector, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, optical SPDIF output, DisplayPort output, HDMI output, DVI-D output, VGA output, Gigabit Ethernet port, and the analog audio jacks.

ASUS Z97-ProFigure 5: motherboard rear panel


Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master’s degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.