ASUS H97-Pro Gamer Review – It might not be mentioned on the packaging, but ASUS has enabled overclocking of Intel’s K-series CPUs on this H97-powered motherboard. This fact alone puts it at a bit of an advantage, but even if you weren’t thinking of overclocking it delivers a very value-packed board for the price.
Twin PCIe 3.0 x16 slots are provided, yet it can only handle AMD’s CrossFire (no SLI support here), but this probably isn’t a great concern to those building a budget gaming rig. Interestingly ASUS has equipped the board with three legacy PCI slots, and another two PCIe x1; while this is great for owners of older PCI peripherals, we have to question whether it’s worth sacrificing so many PCIe slots for them. The M.2 port is a welcome addition, but it’s limited to PCIe 2.0 x 2 speeds, likely due to the lack of PCIe lanes on the H97 chipset. The four SATA3 ports supplied by H97 are supplemented by an extra SATAe port, which can also be used as twin SATA ports.
Intel’s reliable Ethernet connection is used, but ASUS provides GAMEFIRST II software to enable QoS control, ensuring your gaming data takes priority over YouTube and the like. Onboard audio consists of ASUS’ SupremeFX solution, which we’re guessing uses the same Realtek ALC115 codec found elsewhere, as it’s rated to deliver an excellent signal to noise ratio of 115dB.
This board presents solid value for money, and the inclusion of overclocking makes it a bargain for tweakers, but we wish they’d trimmed back the number of PCI slots. It’s also a little pricey compared to some of the entry-level H97 boards on offer.
- Includes M.2 and SATAe
- Decent onboard audio
- Three PCI Slots
- A little expensive ($165)
ASUS H97-Pro Gamer Specifications
- Intel® H97 Express Chipset
- Dual DDR3 1600 support
- SupremeFX – Flawless audio that makes you part of the game
- Intel Gigabit Ethernet & GameFirst II – Networking that just goes faster
- Sonic Radar ll – Scan and detect to dominate
- M.2 & SATA Express – Top-speed transfers for faster gaming
- Gamer’s Guardian – for real-world protection