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My impressions of the ASUS ROG Strix Z790-A Gaming WiFi II Motherboard (2024)

My impressions of the ASUS ROG Strix Z790-A: cutting-edge tech, power innovations, good connectivity, and good user experience
Daniel Anderson



December 16, 2023


I recently upgraded my gaming setup and decided to give the ASUS ROG Strix Z790-A Gaming WiFi II a shot. The board is packed with features that cater to both gamers and power users alike. Below I’ll elaborate on some of my experiences.


Property Value Property Value
Brand ASUS CPU Socket LGA 1700
Compatible Devices Personal Computer RAM Memory Technology DDR5
Compatible Processors Intel Core™ 14th & 13th Gen Chipset Type Intel Z790
Platform Windows Model Name ROG STRIX Z790-A GAMING WIFI II
CPU Model Pentium Memory Storage Capacity 192 GB


Click on photos to enlarge them:

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Cutting-Edge Technology and Compatibility

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When it comes to building or updating a gaming rig, choosing the right motherboard is critical, and the ASUS ROG Strix Z790-A Gaming WiFi II offers a plethora of cutting-edge technology that frankly impressed me, despite a few setbacks.

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Intel LGA 1700 socket compatibility: It’s ready for the latest Intel processors, including the 13th Gen, which is a big plus for future-proofing your build.

  • DDR5 RAM Memory Technology: This means faster memory speeds and improved performance overall.

  • Ample connectivity options, with a variety of USB ports and even a front-panel USB connector with PD 3.0.

  • Impressive storage capabilities, with one PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot with a heatsink and four additional PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots, all fitting neatly into the board’s layout.

  • High memory storage capacity of up to 192 GB: More than sufficient for even the most intense gaming sessions or content creation workloads.

  • Support for the latest networking protocols, including WiFi 7, which is still relatively rare in motherboards and could offer future benefits as the infrastructure catches up.

In my experience, the transition from an older Maximus Hero VIII to this board was a leap forward, especially in terms of audio. The isolation and clarity of the sound are top-notch. The dreaded audio bleed-through to my mic is a thing of the past, which is a little thing that adds a lot to the online gaming sessions.

But it’s not all sunshine. I had a bit of trouble with the driver installation. It took some figuring out how to install without an initial internet connection due to missing LAN or WiFi drivers. A workaround with a USB and the designated BIOS port got things up and running, but it’s something ASUS could streamline.

Also, while the design is sleek and the build quality is top-notch, I noticed the lack of PCIe 5.0 for NVMe storage. This might not be a huge deal right now as PCIe 4.0 is still fast and widely used, but looking forward, it’s a slight compromise on the future-proofing aspect, especially when some competitors like MSI are offering it for a similar price point.

The technical support was hard to access, a bit of a letdown for those who might need assistance. And the advertised one-month Adobe Cloud subscription didn’t materialize, which, while not a deal-breaker, suggests a lack of attention to detail on ASUS’s part.

I’d nudge ASUS to consider these aspects for a truly unbeatable product. But despite these few hiccups, you really can’t go wrong with the ROG Strix Z790-A Gaming WiFi II; the power and potential it brings to a gaming setup are undeniably attractive. It’s an investment in smooth and robust performance, setting you up nicely for the current gaming landscape and beyond.

Innovations in Power and Cooling

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Let’s break down what’s impressive about the power and cooling features:

  • Robust Power Solution: The motherboard houses a 16+1+2 power stage that’s rated for a hefty 70A per stage. This robust configuration ensures that even the most power-hungry CPUs get a stable and ample supply of electricity. I’ve experienced smooth overclocking sessions, thanks to this design.

  • Optimized VRM Thermals: The massive heatsinks, coupled with high-conductivity thermal pads, and a strategically placed L-shaped heatpipe, have kept temperatures in check. This is especially important when pushing the system to its limits.

However, the flip side to this robust power architecture could be an overkill for more casual users who might not require such an advanced power setup. The cost gets pushed up for high-end features that not everyone will leverage, but for enthusiasts like me, it’s a valuable investment for future-proofing my system.

About cooling, the oversized heatsinks and the integrated I/O cover aren’t just for show. They provide substantial surface area to dissipate heat efficiently. The thermal pads have been a noticeable upgrade from my previous rig, and my system runs cooler and quieter, even under load.

One minor quibble is the weight and bulk added by the large heatsinks, causing concerns about potential strain on the motherboard during installation or transport. Yet, once everything is setup, the peace of mind given by low temperatures is a clear win.

In summary, the ASUS ROG Strix Z790-A Gaming WiFi II has struck a commendable balance between robust power delivery and effective cooling, making it a reliable foundation for high-end gaming and productivity tasks. While it may come with a premium price and a degree of over-engineering for non-enthusiasts, for power users like myself, it is an investment in stability and longevity. My experiences so far affirm that ASUS has kept its focus on delivering a motherboard that doesn’t just meet, but exceeds the power and thermal management needs of the modern gamer.

Connectivity and Expansion Options

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In building my latest gaming rig, the ASUS ROG Strix Z790-A Gaming WiFi II has been a central piece, especially when considering the importance of connectivity and expansion options. As someone deeply involved in the gaming community, I understand that a modern motherboard needs to offer more than just raw performance; it should also cater to the diverse needs of gamers and enthusiasts.

At first glance, the abundant connectivity of this board is eye-catching:

  • Multiple USB Ports: It’s equipped with USB ports of varying speeds, including 20Gbps, which is great for transferring large game files or connecting high-speed peripherals.

  • Front-panel USB Connector with PD 3.0: This can deliver up to 30W, ensuring that your devices charge quickly while you game.

  • PCIe 5.0 x16 SafeSlot: It provides a robust connection for your latest graphics card, ensuring signal integrity and a firm hold.

  • Latest Display Connectors: HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 are available for high-resolution, high-refresh-rate gaming monitors.

But it’s not just about the sheer number of ports. The board includes one PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot with a heatsink and backplate, and an additional four PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots, all with heatsinks. This wealth of M.2 support means you can load your rig with a slew of the fastest storage on the market to reduce game load times to the bare minimum.

While there is no denying that the ASUS ROG Strix Z790-A is packed with features to support extensive connectivity and expansion, a potential drawback is the lack of PCIe 5.0 M.2 slots, which are expected for future-proofing. Some might consider this a miss, given that other motherboards in a similar price bracket, such as certain MSI alternatives, offer this future-ready technology. Nevertheless, ASUS tries to balance this with the inclusion of Wi-Fi 7, ensuring that you can stay on the ultra-fast wireless connection if you decide to go the wireless route.

In terms of design, the board stands out with its sleek white aesthetics, and it’s always refreshing to have a build that looks as good as it performs. However, not everything was perfect straight out of the box. I encountered some hiccups with driver installations, where I had to bypass the traditional download process due to unavailable LAN and Wi-Fi drivers. A workaround involved using a USB to download and install the necessary drivers.

Despite this hiccup, the ASUS ROG Strix Z790-A shines in its core offerings. If you’re like me and value a motherboard’s connectivity and expansion capabilities as much as its performance, this board is a contender that’s hard to overlook, even with its slight shortcomings.

Real-World Usage and Driver Installation Challenges

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After putting my new ASUS ROG Strix Z790-A Gaming WiFi II through its paces, I’ve largely been impressed with the performance uplift and the premium features it offers. However, I’ve also encountered some hurdles, particularly around driver installation, that are worth mentioning.

Firstly, the upgrade from an older motherboard like my trusty Maximus Hero VIII has been substantial, especially in terms of audio quality. The noise-cancellation feature is a standout, enabling me to ditch headphones during gaming sessions because my mic refuses to pick up the speaker audio—huge kudos there.

But let’s talk about setting up this beast. Driver installation was less than smooth. Despite ASUS being a household name for reliability, I hit a snag right out of the gate: drivers on the ASUS website weren’t playing ball. Getting WiFi and LAN to function meant I couldn’t immediately download what I needed. The workaround? A USB stick and the BIOS USB port, marked clearly for this lifeline use.

For prospective buyers, here’s a rundown of my real-world usage experience:

  • Pro: The noise-cancelling audio is a game-changer.

  • Con: The driver installation process needs refinement.

  • Pro: Once set up, the board delivers top-notch performance.

  • Con: Lack of PCIe 5.0 for M.2 slots might be a future compatibility concern.

Despite this hiccup, once the drivers were in place, the motherboard ran flawlessly, exuding a sense of reliability and performance I’ve come to expect from ASUS. I’ve also found that the ASUS Armoury Crate software can be helpful for keeping everything up to date, though having to rely on a suite for drivers wasn’t exactly high on my wish list.

The lack of PCIe 5.0 support for the M.2 slots did nip at my enthusiasm for futureproofing, especially when other brands at similar price points offer this feature. I had hoped to harness PCIe 5.0 speeds for my next NVMe upgrade. However, the inclusion of WiFi 7 support and a robust power solution does soften this blow.

After cycling through a couple of motherboards, from z690 to z790, it’s clear that not all motherboards are created equal. The ASUS ROG Strix Z790-A stood out in terms of stability and aesthetic pleasure, not to mention how smoothly my system ran once everything was dialed in.

It’s worth noting that my experience with customer support could have been better, mirroring some online community feedback regarding accessibility. Nonetheless, the board’s overarching performance, alongside its future-ready features, like support for up to Intel Core 14th Gen processors and abundant connectivity options, cement its place in my setup.

In conclusion, the ASUS ROG Strix Z790-A Gaming WiFi II is a compelling choice, marred slightly by a rocky start due to driver installation woes. Once past this bump, it’s been smooth sailing—a testament to the quality one expects from ASUS. While it may not be perfect, it’s got all the hallmarks of a motherboard that’ll stand the test of time and gaming rigors with aplomb.