Test – Asus ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming Wifi: Specs | Price | CPU Performance | Profitability | Hashrate| best Coins | Set-up (settings) | Configuration| Advantage (Pros) and Disadvantages (Cons) and other important features that will help you make better decision.
Motherboards for the updated Intel LGA1200 desktop platform based on the Intel Z590 have been available on the market for some time. However, it is with the release of the Rocket Lake-S processors with the new Cypress Cove architecture that all the possibilities of these devices open up. Today we have a well-equipped model ASUS ROG STRIX Z590-E GAMING WiFi on review. What are the benefits of the new Intel platform?
The motherboard comes with a set of documentation, a disk with drivers and software, four SATA cables, an additional 40 mm fan and a pair of screws for attaching it, a set of plastic ties for fixing the interface / power cables inside the case, and an additional bracket Q- Latch for screwless mounting of M.2 drives and rubber pads for single-sided SSDs.
The package also includes an amplifier antenna for the wireless module, a support bracket for a video card, as well as a set of branded stickers and a rag keychain with the logo of the ROG gaming series.
Design and layout
ASUS ROG STRIX Z590-E GAMING WiFi complies with the full-format ATX standard, with dimensions of 305 × 244 mm. The motherboard is based on the top-end Intel Z590 chipset and is ready to work with 11th and 10th generation Intel Core processors using the LGA1200 socket.
As expected for the model, a rather restrained external design is used, using all shades of black. There is almost no free space on a six-layer PCB. The PCB is full of various slots, connectors and various elements. A significant part of the front panel of the board is hidden behind the radiator structures.
A powerful power supply stabilizer is used for the board. The VRM has a 14 + 2-phase partially redundant configuration controlled by the Intersil ISL69269 control controller. The assemblies are ready to work with currents up to 70A.
To cool the elements, a composite radiator structure is provided in which two blocks are interconnected by a heat pipe. The protective casing hanging over the interface connectors is part of the main radiator unit, due to which it has just the same huge dimensions. To increase the efficiency of heat removal, the profile of the blocks has additional ribbing.
In case of experiments with overclocking, the design provides a bracket for attaching an additional 40 mm fan. The use of an additional active element in the cooling system is perhaps an extreme measure only for cases when even such a bulky radiator structure will no longer cope with heat removal. Surely, for most situations, the additional fan included in the package will simply not be useful.
To connect additional power on the upper edge of the PCB, there are two ATX_12V connectors – for 8 and 4 pins. The main 8-pin connector is reinforced with a metal plate, and a power line connection indicator is located next to the connectors.
ASUS ROG STRIX Z590-E GAMING WiFi is equipped with four memory slots. Here, as expected, Q-DIMM connectors with one-sided RAM strips are used. As for the permissible modes, the specification claims support for sets up to DDR4-5333. The presented validation sheet currently contains modules that have passed validation up to DDR4-4800. At the same time, the manufacturer claims that the OptiMem III technology with optimization of signal tracing allows you to further accelerate the RAM, if the modules, in principle, can operate at higher effective frequencies.
The board offers “only” three full-size PCI Express x16 expansion slots. Perhaps such a composition is somewhat unusual to see on an ATX device, but the additional space is occupied by no less useful connectors.
Returning to the PCI-E slots, we note that the two main ones are serviced by the processor, and, depending on the CPU used (Core 10 or Core 11), they can correspond to the PCI-E 3.0 or PCI-E 4.0 standard. In both cases, the board allows splitting processor lines, and, accordingly, x16 + 0 or x8 + x8 configurations are available. The board supports SLI mode, although bundles of two video cards are exceptional cases. In the GeForce RTX 3000 line, only the RTX 3090 24 GB can work in pairs. At the current cost of such a configuration, the likelihood of seeing it in a game configuration is extremely small.
CrossFire support is not noted in the specification. However, given that the Radeon RX 6xxx graphics are not designed to work in duo, the loss is not great.
The third full-size expansion slot is serviced by the chipset and operates in PCI-E 3.0 x4 or x2 mode. Given the backward compatibility, the same connector can be used to connect any expansion cards with a PCI-E x1 connector.
In the case of the ASUS ROG STRIX Z590-E GAMING WiFi, the developers have placed great emphasis on the ability to use more M.2 drives. No joke, the board has four (!) M.2 slots.
The first connector (M.2_1), located above the top PCI-E x16 slot, is only available with Rocket Lake-S processors. In this case, you can count on the PCI-E 4.0 x4 mode. Finally, the fastest SSDs can be used on the Intel desktop platform. Surely this will be another argument for storage manufacturers to actively develop their line of devices with PCI-E 4.0.
The second M.2 slot is also on the processor support. If a brand new 11th Gen Core chip is used, then here you can also count on PCI-E 4.0 x4, while the owner of Comet Lake-S can count on PCI-E 3.0 x4. As with the first connector, M.2_2 allows devices with lengths from 42 to 110 mm. Individual radiator blocks are provided for both drives. High-speed SSDs often have increased heating, so an additional heat sink will come in handy.
Recall that Rocket Lake-S chips have 20 PCI Express 4.0 lanes at their disposal. When using one video card and one PCI-E 4.0 drive, they will be distributed in the proportion of x16 + x4. If it is possible to use two PCI-E 4.0 x4 drives, but in this case, 8 bus lines will already be allocated to the first PCI-E x16 slot. Considering the increased bandwidth of PCI-E 4.0, this is quite enough for a video card. Such valuable fps will not be lost.
Below the second PCI-E x16 slot is a solid aluminum plate, behind which there are a couple of M.2 connectors. The work of these connectors is provided by the Intel Z590 chipset. The M.2_3 connector allows the use of SSD standards from 2242 to 22110 with PCI-E 3.0 x4 interface. While M.2_4 is ready to accept models up to 80mm in length, this slot can be used for both PCI-E 3.0 and SATA drives. In the latter case, one of the standard Serial ATA ports (SATA6G_2) will be deactivated.
Such a number and variety of available M.2 ports on the board is welcome. Recently, drives of this format are actively replacing 2.5 ”devices, offering higher performance. At the same time, the price of the starting M.2 PCI-E models is almost the same as for classic SATA drives.
All connectors have special plastic M.2 Q-Latch clips, so no additional tools are needed to fix / remove the drive. Not that a technological breakthrough , but the lesser likelihood of searching for a rolled screw in the body is also worth something.
If it is necessary to connect drives via SATA, the owner of the board has six corresponding connectors at his disposal. The connectors are positioned parallel to the PCB plane to be able to connect an interface cable, even if the ports are covered by a massive video card. As we already mentioned, one of the SATA ports becomes inactive if a drive with SATA data transfer is installed in M.2_4. M.2 SSDs like this are rarely found among new models, but they were more common among devices that were one year old or even two years old.
The board has eight 4-pin connectors for configuring the cooling system. Two connectors are dedicated to the processor CO and have one paired control channel. Nominally, three connectors are for case fans. AIO_PUMP with 1A / 12W parameters can be used to connect SVO, and W_PUMP + with currents up to 3A and total power up to 36 W is suitable for the most powerful liquid pumps. Another connector with independent control channel is provided for a 40mm fan cooling the VRM. If it is not used, it can be used for other needs – the parameters allow (up to 1A / 12 W).
Another element of the cooling system setting can be considered a connector for connecting an external temperature sensor. An additional thermocouple will have to be purchased separately, after which it can be used to monitor the surface temperature of any element of the system, and also take these indicators into account to select the optimal mode of operation of CO.
The ASUS ROG STRIX Z590-E GAMING WiFi is well equipped, although there are no overwhelmingly enthusiastic features like power and reset buttons. For a system assembled in a case, such elements are unnecessary. And at open stands, the top models of the ROG series are often used.
At the same time, the board has a start-up diagnostics system. The Q-CODE segment indicator is located in the upper right corner, and for cases that do not require looking into the manual to determine the error code, there is a group of Q-LED indicators located next to it.
The ASUS ROG STRIX Z590-E GAMING WiFi interface panel has buttons for clearing CMOS memory – a useful accessory especially for those who are interested in experimenting with the new Rocket Lake-S chips. In addition, the board also implements the BIOS FlashBack mechanism, which allows you to update the firmware from a USB drive, having only a power supply at its disposal.
The developers of ASUS ROG STRIX Z590-E GAMING WiFi approached the issue of additional lighting very rationally. It’s important not to overdo it with RGB lights, and here these elements fit quite organically. The radiator shroud features a segment with a large, illuminated ROG logo. At this point, it is well “read” when using a case with a transparent side wall. Also, the LEDs are hidden behind the drive heatsink above the first PCI-E x16 slot and in the corner of the chipset cooler. They are also positioned so that even a massive graphics card does not overlap the view.
If the used light accents are not enough, it is possible to add intensity with the help of additional LED strips. For these purposes, the board has four connectors. Curiously, the developers are already focusing on addressable tapes, and the second generation with the ability to determine the number of elements in a segment. There are three connectors for such “daisies” based on WS2812B (5V). Another connector is designed for simple but powerful 5050 RGB elements powered by 12V. Of course, the possibility of synchronizing the backlight via AURA Sync is provided.
The developers of ASUS ROG STRIX Z590-E GAMING WiFi paid special attention to the network environment of the board. The model is equipped with the new Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210 (802.11ax) wireless controller. Its feature is the ability to work not only in the usual 2.4 / 5 GHz bands, but also at 6 GHz. In addition, it provides support for Bluetooth 5.2. Included with the board is a tilt-adjustable amplifying antenna with a magnetized base for good fixation on the PC case cover.
Two Intel i225-V controllers are responsible for wired communication, so the owner will be ready to increase the throughput of the Ethernet channel to 2.5 Gb / s. It seems that this standard will soon replace the classic wired gigabit.
Finally, the board designers can offer something special for the integrated audio subsystem.
In this case, it is based on the new Realtek ALC4080 codec, hidden under a metal casing. In addition, the circuit uses a Savitech SV3H712 preamplifier and a set of Japanese Nichicon capacitors. The audio area is isolated to reduce external noise.
The board’s interface panel is very busy. First of all, we note the pre-installed metal plugs, which has already become a good taste even for devices of a lower class. There is a whole load of USB ports on the panel. Four USB 3.2 Gen1 (USB 3.0) are marked with blue inserts, and a pair of USB 2.0 is also located here. In addition, we have three USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gb / s) ports – two Type-A and one Type-C. Well, one of the fastest USB 3.2 Gen 2 × 2 with a bandwidth of up to 20 Gb / s, which is made in the Type-C format.
As we already mentioned, the panel also contains buttons for clearing CMOS and starting an offline BIOS flashing from a USB drive. There are also two Ethernet 2.5G sockets nearby for connecting an amplifying antenna of the wireless module.
To connect display devices, full-size DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI are displayed on the panel. The video output capabilities depend on the processor used. For the new 11th Gen Core chips, DisplayPort can output 5120×2880 @ 60Hz, while HDMI operates in 2.0 mode, offering up to 4K @ 60Hz. At the same time, when using the Comet Lake-S model over DP, you can get a maximum of 4096 × 2304 @ 60 Hz, while HDMI 1.4 only offers 4K @ 30 Hz. Of course, this is all relevant when using the integrated graphics core of processors.
You can connect a speaker system using five 3.5 mm audio jacks or via optical S / PDIF.
There are a minimum of surface mount elements on the reverse side of the printed circuit board. At the same time, the insulating track separating the sound path is clearly visible.
UEFI and software
The motherboard’s UEFI capabilities are predictably good.
The shell allows you to fine-tune the system, while the application is well and logically structured, it is possible to create a section with priority options to adjust which you return most often.
In the most prominent place of the top menu there is an option to activate the sensational ReSize BAR function, which allows the processor to get direct access to the memory sections of the video card.
Among the innovations, it is worth noting the integration into the BIOS of the application for testing the memory MemTest86. The system application will definitely not be superfluous and will be useful when searching for the cause of the platform’s instability. RAM problems are often caused by the much-disliked “floating faults”. And here any means of catching failures are good.
At the start, the firmware is actively updated. The developers add various options, eliminating possible flaws. During the preparation of the material for ASUS ROG STRIX Z590-E GAMING WiFi, version 0704 was already available. Of course, the board is ready from the start to work with Rocket Lake-S chips, but additional optimizations at this stage will not be superfluous.
Core i7-11700K Rapid Test
The new 8-core 16-thread Core i7-11700K processor was recognized without any problems.
A quick test of performance in Cinebench R23 demonstrates a tangible advantage over its predecessor.
In single-threaded mode, the processor scored 1575 points and almost 14800 in multi-threaded. The predecessor – Core i7-10700K, in this test, on average, demonstrates the results of 1300/12600 points, respectively. The performance gain in this task is an impressive 17–20%.
The new CPU is not bad at working with memory, but in terms of latencies, there are definitely no revelations here.
Geekbench 5 has an even more convincing advantage of the novelty. Here, the novelty is gaining 1775/10490 points, while the Core i7-10700K in the same discipline showed results at the level of 1350/9000 points. In single-threaded mode, performance has increased by about a third.
In the processor subtest at the 3DMark Time Spy stage, the newcomer also got an advantage, earning ~ 12,500 points, while the 8-core processor of the previous generation knocked out about 11,200 “parrots” here. We still have a closer look at the capabilities of Rocket Lake-S, but even the first results show that the new CPUs do offer noticeable acceleration, although a lot of effort has been put into this.