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Review: ASUS TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WIFI Motherboard

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The motherboard is the central component of any PC build, and the overall PC experience hinges upon it. So, selecting the right motherboard is crucial. I’m a big fan of ASUS motherboards. They typically offer straightforward installation and configuration processes. Additionally, they provide a user-friendly interface for CPU overclocking, allowing you to extract that extra performance from your system. Based on its features, the TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WIFI appears to be another feather in the cap for ASUS.

The Z790-based motherboard offers compatibility for both Intel’s latest Socket LGA1700 for 13th Gen Intel Core and 12th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold, and Celeron Processors. There’s also support for Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0. What’s more, with 4 DIMM slots, this motherboard also supports a maximum of 192GB DDR5 memory.

Being a TUF board, it boasts a rugged construction. The board exudes toughness when you hold it in your hands. With its built-in input/output shield, the board seamlessly fits into your ATX case. During the assembly of the test rig, I discovered that the board’s screw holes aligned perfectly with the standoffs of the Corsair case. As any experienced system builder would agree, it’s a pleasant experience when a board effortlessly fits into a case without any sense of coercion or bending.

The ASUS TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WiFi is impressively equipped, boasting a wide range of high-end features and connectivity, as one would anticipate from a motherboard belonging to the Z-series chipset. It incorporates robust 16+1 DrMOS power stages, with each stage capable of handling 60 Amps and equipped with high-side and low-side MOSFETS. Additionally, the motherboard features an effective VRM cooling configuration to support the demanding power requirements of the latest Intel CPUs.

In terms of storage, you get a boatload of ports. Now, this includes four M.2 slots and four SATA 6Gb/s ports. For Ethernet, you get one Intel 2.5Gb Ethernet port with support for TUF LANGuard. The motherboard also offers Wi-Fi 6E (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax) connectivity supporting 2.4/5/6GHz frequency bands and Bluetooth v5.3.

You also get plenty of USB ports. On the rear panel, you get a total of eight ports, which includes one USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port (1 x USB Type-C), three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (2 x Type-A + 1 x USB Type-C), and four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (4 x Type-A). On the front panel, you get a total of seven ports, which includes one USB 3.2 Gen 2 connector (supports USB Type-C), one USB 3.2 Gen 1 header (supports 2 additional USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports), and two USB 2.0 headers (support additional 4 USB 2.0 ports). Other I/O ports include one DisplayPort, one HDMI port, one Wi-Fi Module, one Intel 2.5Gb Ethernet port, five audio jacks, and one Optical S/PDIF out port.

This motherboard is a dream come true for upgraders. The Intel CPU socket maintains a familiar appearance, with the recent addition of more pins to accommodate Intel’s latest CPUs. I combined this board with an Intel Core i5-13600K, a commendable CPU that offers excellent gaming performance at an affordable price point. Power is supplied to the board via an 8-pin and a 4-pin socket from the ATX power supply unit. It’s worth noting that an adapter is required for the 4-pin socket.

Installing DDR5 modules is a breeze. In my setup, I used two modules. The RAM slots feature a clip at the top, as part of ASUS Q-Design Q-DIMM, so you need to ensure that the module is properly seated from the bottom as you push it in, and the clip at the top securely clicks into place. While this process may seem a bit unsettling, it is designed to facilitate easier module insertion and removal. If you’re unfamiliar with ASUS boards, just exercise caution during this step.

One standout feature of ASUS boards is the M2 Q-Latch. Instead of dealing with tiny screws to secure M.2 SSDs, there’s a convenient latch that holds the devices in place. I find this feature particularly useful since I frequently swap out M.2 drives for reviews, saving me time and effort.

Featuring four SATA 6GB/s ports and four M.2 slots, the motherboard offers ample data storage options. All M.2 slots support PCI 4.0 x4, with one slot also accommodating M.2 SATA drives. For audio, the Realtek S1200A chip delivers 7.1 surround sound, with the I/O panel featuring five 3.5mm audio outputs and an optical S/PDIF output, as previously mentioned.

While the test rig booted up smoothly, this is not always the case, even for experienced system builders. There’s always a chance of having a faulty component or not securely connecting something. This is where the board’s Q-LEDs prove invaluable for both novice and expert PC builders. Located at the top of the motherboard, these LEDs indicate the status of the CPU, RAM, display, and boot device during startup, facilitating troubleshooting and identifying boot-related issues.

Once the PC is up and running, we come to another notable feature: the ASUS UEFI BIOS. With both a basic (EZ) and advanced mode, the interface is clean and user-friendly, making setup a breeze. I only needed to adjust the XMP profile to optimize the performance of the DDR4 memory, leaving the rest of the settings untouched. The BIOS includes AI fan control and overclocking options to extract a little more performance from the CPU.

ASUS’s pricier motherboards offer even more aggressive automatic overclocking options. However, this can be a double-edged sword, as the performance gains are minimal and there is a risk of stability issues. This is not the case with the TUF board. By enabling the EZ System tuning to the extreme and setting XMP to ASUS’s recommended settings, the board exhibited rock-solid performance across various tests and games.

In order to thoroughly evaluate the board’s capabilities and ensure optimal performance with the 13th-generation i5 CPU, I used a series of standard benchmarks. These included 3DMark Timespy Extreme, PCMark 10 Express, and Cinebench R23. These benchmarks assess PC performance in various areas such as office applications, photo and video editing, and 3D rendering.

In 3DMark Timespy Extreme, the board clocked 18913 points in the CPU score and 18272 in the total score. In PCMark 10 Express, the motherboard scored 7218 points, while in Cinebench R23, the motherboard scored 37892 in multi-core and 2287 in single-core tests.

Apart from the impressive TUF features, this motherboard’s aesthetic appeal is truly noteworthy, considering that gamers often prioritize both visual appeal and specifications when making their purchase decisions. It boasts a well-thought-out design that combines aesthetics with practicality. Fast connectivity is available throughout, numerous M.2 mounts are provided, generously sized heatsinks ensure effective cooling, and the rear I/O panel meets the demands of everyday usage.

For those seeking a visually appealing motherboard that offers abundant connectivity, versatility, and reliability, the latest addition to the TUF Gaming motherboard lineup unquestionably fits the bill. It provides hardware comparable to more expensive ROG motherboards while maintaining lower VRM temperatures and power consumption. The board delivers exceptionally fast performance at a surprisingly reasonable price point of $368. It’s no doubt that this motherboard will be highly sought after by those looking to invest in the Z790 platform.

Price: $368

ASUS TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WIFI Motherboard $368
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

Apart from the impressive TUF features, this motherboard’s aesthetic appeal is truly noteworthy, considering that gamers often prioritize both visual appeal and specifications when making their purchase decisions. It boasts a well-thought-out design that combines aesthetics with practicality.

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Components

CORSAIR Intros 30mm Thick RS MAX Series PC Fans

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CORSAIR has announced the launch of its first 30mm-thick PC cooling fans, the RS MAX Series. By combining extremely durable Liquid Crystal Polymer material with a larger fan blade bolstered by AirGuide technology, CORSAIR’s expert engineers have created its best-performing fan with zero compromises.

The RS MAX Series connects with a simple 4-pin PWM header, enabling precise adjustment over fan speeds without the need for a separate controller.

With a 20% increase in thickness over standard fans, the RS MAX Series can spin at a lower speed to generate the same airflow as its thinner counterparts – translating into lower overall fan noise.

For enthusiasts who push their systems to the limit, the high static pressure created by the RS MAX’s larger fan blade helps power airflow through obstructions and dense radiators, making it an ideal choice for high-performance liquid cooling setups.

CORSAIR Magnetic Dome bearings – an evolution of the acclaimed magnetic levitation bearing – significantly reduce friction for both enhanced longevity and quieter operation. For PC builders looking to boost performance without boosting noise, the RS MAX Series will help push your system to the max.

The CORSAIR RS MAX Series is available in 120mm and 140mm sizes from the CORSAIR webstore and the CORSAIR worldwide network of authorized retailers and distributors.

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TEAMGROUP Launches the MP44Q M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD

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Team Group has launched TEAMGROUP MP44Q M.2 PCIe 4.0 Solid State Drive, featuring the latest 3D QLC NAND technology, combining cutting-edge technology with the trend of demanding high storage capacity to meet daily system and file storage needs. TEAMGROUP MP44Q M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD utilises the latest 3D QLC NAND, offering capacities of up to 4TB. With the PCIe Gen4 x4 interface and SLC Caching technology, it achieves maximum sequential read and write speeds of up to 7,400 MB/s and 6,500 MB/s, respectively.

The MP44Q SSD operates with low power consumption, catering to all document processing and storage applications, significantly enhancing work efficiency. Paired with TEAMGROUP’s exclusively patented graphene heat dissipation sticker, whose thickness is less than 1 mm, eliminating the potential for mechanical interference in any assembly, coupled with the native heat sink of the motherboard, such an arrangement effectively addresses the heat generated by high performance, extending the SSD’s lifespan.

Additionally, it supports TEAMGROUP’s exclusively patented SSD intelligent monitoring software, S.M.A.R.T., allowing for quick and easy configuration and testing, effortlessly monitoring the quality and performance of the SSD. The product also provides the latest QLC high-speed Gen4 x4 SSD to cater to various storage needs for both life and work.

The packaging of TEAMGROUP MP44Q M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD adopts recyclable packaging materials and has passed RoHS, REACH, and other environmental protection certifications with the effort of contributing to sustainable living. The product comes with a comprehensive 5-year warranty, ensuring consumer confidence in product quality. It is expected to be available globally starting in early May 2024.

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Gigabyte Unveils Limited Edition “Ice” Themed Motherboard and GPU

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Gigabyte has officially launched its long-awaited XTREME Prestige Limited Edition lineup, featuring a visually stunning and overclocked RTX 4080 SUPER graphics card and a feature-packed Z790 motherboard. Both components boast a luxurious titanium and gold design, complete with unique engraved serial numbers, hinting at the limited production run – estimated between 300 and 500 units.

The centrepiece, the Aorus GeForce RTX 4080 Super Xtreme Ice 16G, boasts a factory overclock of 150 MHz and improved performance over the stock model. Gigabyte claims it delivers 885 AI TOPs compared to the stock card’s 836. Cooling this beast are three massive “bionic shark” fans and a large vapour chamber. For those seeking ultimate customization, the fans feature addressable RGB rings, and the card itself sports an LCD monitor displaying customizable GIFs.

The Z790 Aorus Xtreme X Ice motherboard complements the graphics card perfectly. It boasts a unique crystalized titanium finish, a golden CPU socket, and a removable M.2 heatsink. Feature-wise, it supports DDR5 memory with speeds exceeding XMP-8266 and offers AI-powered CPU overclocking, promising speeds exceeding 6.3 GHz on an i9-14900KS. An included external DAC further boosts audio quality.

While pricing remains a mystery (promised on the Gigabyte website but currently unavailable), expect a hefty price tag, likely exceeding $1,299 for the graphics card alone. Both products will be sold separately, but a future bundle with additional Xtreme Ice components is a possibility.

Gigabyte promises a luxurious “unboxing experience” for each component, complete with premium packaging, high-end tools, and even anti-static gloves. We’ll update this story with confirmed pricing when available.

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