Interest in assembling compact systems from year to year does not slow down. When thinking about a platform to include Rocket Lake-S processors, you need to consider their hot temper and choose a motherboard that can handle them. Today we will get acquainted with the representative of the ROG Strix gaming series, the eldest from ASUS, which means that there should be a lot of additions, bonuses and unusual moves. You can immediately see that this is no longer just a board in the typical sense — a “sandwich” is actually designed here.
It is not surprising, because in a very limited size, the manufacturer managed to implement support for virtually all modern interfaces, including Thunderbolt 4 as a port on the rear panel. Case audio outputs and USB of different generations will also be where to connect. We will analyze the details below, and first you can evaluate the characteristics according to the summary table:
|Model||ASUS ROG STRIX Z590-I GAMING WIFI|
|Official product page||ROG STRIX Z590-I GAMING WIFI|
|Processor socket||Socket 1200|
|Processors||Core i9, Core i7, Core i5, Core i3, Pentium Gold, Celeron (Rocket Lake-S, Comet Lake-S)|
|Memory||2 DIMM DDR4 SDRAM, 64 GB maximum:
2133–3200 — JEDEC
3333–5133 — OC
|PCI slots||1 x PCI Express 4.0 x16 — CPU|
|M.2||1 x PCI Express 4.0 x4 (Key M, 2242/2260/2280) — 11th Gen CPU
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4, SATA 6Gb/s (Key M, 2242/2260/2280) — Z590
|Integrated video core (in the processor)||Intel UHD 750/730/630/610|
|Video connectors||HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 4 (DisplayPort 1.4)|
|Number of connected fans||3x 4pin|
|The port is USB||1 x Thunderbolt 4 (1 x rear panel (USB Type-C), Intel JHL8540)
1 x 3.2 Gen 2×2 (1 connector on the rear panel (Type-C), Z590)
2 x 3.2 Gen 2 (1 connector on the rear panel, Z590)
3 x 3.2 Gen 1 (1 connector on the rear panel, Z590)
6 x 2.0 (4 connectors on the rear panel, Z590)
|Serial ATA||4 x SATA 6Gb/s (Z590)|
|RAID||0, 1, 5, 10 (SATA, Z590)|
|Built-in sound||SupremeFX (7.1, HDA):
Codec — Realtek ALC4080
Amp — Savitech SV3H712
|Networking||Intel I225-V (2.5 Gigabit Ethernet)
Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210 (Wi-Fi 2.4/5/6GHz (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax), Bluetooth 5.2)
|LED Addressable Header||1x Gen 2|
|LED RGB Header||1|
|UEFI||UEFI AMI BIOS, 256 Mb Flash ROM (25Q256JVEQ)|
|Dimensions, mm||170 x 170|
|Additional features||Armory Crate, ASUS HYDRANODE, Aura Sync, Fan Xpert 4, FlexKey, Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED), Thermal sensor connector, Buttons: BIOS Flashback; contact pairs: Clear CMOS; equipment: external Wi-Fi antenna; support: Sonic Studio III, Sonic Radar III, DTS Sound Unbound, Two-Way AI Noise Cancelation|
|retail price||10543 hryvnias|
Packaging and equipment
The box has a reduced length and width, while its height is much greater than that of the usual packages from motherboards. The cardboard is dense, and you don’t have to worry about the contents.
From the pictures on the reverse side, you can find out about the presence of a new antenna for ASUS in the package, as well as about the fan in the bowels of the CPU power subsystem. The radiator on the M.2 is declared as triple, we will see everything a little later.
- user manual (in English);
- short multilingual user manual for PC assembly;
- an additional booklet with information on the need to comply with a number of safety measures when assembling and operating the system;
- a set of stickers with various images of the ROG Strix series, including those for cables;
- disk with drivers and proprietary software;
- ROG device owner welcome brochure;
- fabric keychain with ROG logo;
- mounting screw and M.2 device stand — two sets;
- four SATA 6Gb / s cables, two of which have an L-shaped connector on one of the ends;
- seven nylon ties;
- ROG USB hub for Gen 2.0 pad;
- extension adapter for convenient connection of ASUS Q-Connector case connectors;
- remote antenna with the possibility of fixing in various positions, a magnet with a decent attraction effect is built into the base rubberized at the bottom.
The arrangement of elements and pads is extremely close to each other. At the same time, the margin for installing the VK with the rear reinforcement plate was left normal, there were no conflicts during the assembly of the stand. Four LEDs from the Q-LED complex, which are soldered between the memory slot and the power socket, became a victim of mounting density. Fortunately, they glow brightly enough so that you do not have to aim your eyes exactly at them, and it also helps that everyone has a different color.
The number of elements at the back is also huge. You should be vigilant when choosing a cooling system, especially here I want to focus on the back plate from it. There is actually no place for cast metal. With a plastic frame from a bench AIO, slightly rising above the surface, everything was fine.
The luminous logo of the series is integrated into the (top) M.2 heatsink, and there are also two different types of platforms for third-party equipment on the board.
So, the top radiator is removed quite easily. To install two SSDs, the instruction in the manual has 25 steps!
The radiator second from above acts as the basis for the first M.2 drive, that is, connected to the CPU socket, respectively, the fastest PCI-E lines are supported here and only they are, SATA lines are only on the second M.2, lower.
For the second drive, only a heatsink is prepared, which is mounted on top of the device. Of course, first it will also have to be dismantled. A legend is sympathetically worked out on the scarf next to it.
So, the first and third radiators, in other words, those that are mounted on top of the SSD, look like this:
Thermal pads are pre-installed throughout.
At the very bottom of the board there is another heatsink, and it cools not only the hub. Let’s look at it a little later. In a word, I would not recommend installing a hot drive down, although both SATA and PCI-E 3.0 lines (from Intel Z590) were brought there. Four classic transverse SATA sockets are located at the lower right corner.
In addition to the drive, a USB 2.0 chassis cable, an audio cable (the codec is soldered right there), a system fan and a cable from additional LED equipment are connected to a small scarf. All this will work thanks to the train, which can be seen in the picture. In the very corner of the board there is a pair of contact pads, one for a thermocouple (it is not included in the package), and the second for resetting CMOS settings. Frankly, this place is not the best, which means that the presence of the FlexKey function here will come in handy.
Platforms for USB cables of modern generations, more sensitive to speed, are located on the right side, this also has an additional reason, since the cables connected here are usually much more rigid and inconvenient for laying in the case. There is an additional extension cable for buttons and signal LEDs on the case. The rest of the sites can be found along the top edge of the board.
The heatsinks are not high, but problems can lie in wait for the user with free space around the socket, especially if we talk about some kind of universal COs. When working with AIO, there were no installation problems.
The density of placement of elements on the board is prohibitive. Next to the Z590 chip is a section of the processor power subsystem, namely the formation of IO and IO 2 voltages. Next to it are tantalum capacitors. Already in traditional places we will find one assembly for SA Voltage, eight for CPU Voltage and two more for iGPU needs. This time ASUS did not relabel the PWM controller and we see Intersil ISL69269. The models of all assemblies are exactly the same as in the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero, only their number differs: three Texas Instruments 59880 and eight Texas Instruments 95410RR. Apparently, we are talking about the true eight «phases» for the CPU Voltage. A combination of solid-state capacitors of a «military» reliability class and a large number of tantalum capacitors soldered on both sides of the board is used.
By means of thermal pads, heat is removed from both power elements and chokes. There are no questions about their size, as well as about the quality of the clamp in each of the cases. A heatpipe connects the smaller heatsink to the rest of the board, which actually serves as both a heatsink and a visor over the I/O ports on the rear panel.
The fan has a four-wire connection, which means that its speed can be monitored throughout the entire rotation range. It is attached to a kind of comb, which is not to say that it plays some main role in the entire structure of the radiator. In the course of acquaintance with the device, we will study this node in more detail.
The three gold-plated audio outputs will be illuminated in colors familiar to those purposes. There are no auxiliary buttons, but it is worth highlighting the variable FlexKey, that is, the case Reset will be able to perform other tasks, depending on the UEFI settings and the user’s wishes. The rest of the set of interfaces is modern and quite sufficient for assemblies with a multimedia and gaming bias.