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What's the word on the Z97-WS?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Google seems to go from "best thing ever" to "disappointing piece of junk" with not a lot of inbetween.
Forum search is full of generic z97 results.
Thoughts? I'm not really needing quad graphics but it checks all my other
desire boxes so far. Any particular "gotchas" cropped up with it?
 
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post #2 of 17
So far I love the board. still working out all the little extras. I got it cause I needed a board that could do 3 or 4 way sli. which it easily did. now if I could only figure out that home cloud server software stuff they have with this thing.
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post #3 of 17
I thought Asus would be an easy choice...
post #4 of 17
I've been building my own PCs since the early 1990s, and this is the strangest motherboard I've ever worked on.

After nearly a week since installing it, I still don't have it working quite right--sometimes it boots quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes it hangs with various LED error codes and the VGA LED lit (tried two separate GTX 970s, no difference). Once it successfully loads an OS (Windows 8.1 or Linux on different SSDs) it works perfectly and is totally stable.

I enjoy troubleshooting, and I'm not giving up on this board yet. I'm not sure if it's subtly defective or I'm Doing It Wrong somehow, despite all my successful previous builds. It does have some wonderful features, so I'll keep trying to figure out the magic formula of BIOS settings, etc. till I can't stand it any more. smile.gif It does work more often than it did out of the box.

So I can only recommend caution with this board. I can't say it's bad, I have an odd setup and it may all be my fault, but I wouldn't wish my present install problems on anyone not very experienced in troubleshooting.

Just my thoughts.
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post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Appreciate the responses. I've been reading reviews but they aren't so much an opinion on build/use as they are on features/performance of a working example these days it seems.

I'm going to buy something soon and am down to pretty much the WS, the Z97-Deluxe, or the Supermicro C7Z97-OCE-O.
I trust SM to have a solid, long lasting, trouble free board and would love to have one again (last one was dual slot-1!),
but it's a little... Odd. They are a sever outfit pretty much. Mostly I'm concerned with fan control, I'm sure it works but I don't
think it's adjustable to the degree I want it to be. And it's short on USB3 rear ports. I could get around those two things if I had to, if
it was a hair cheaper. No doubt the component quality deserves the price though.

The WS is in the lead, hope I can get a good one. Probably going to order from amazon, easier RMA.

Feel free to make further suggestions if anyone is watching. I want 6 rear USB3, exceptional reliability/durability/power supply,
good hardware temp/fan monitoring/control, m.2 and preferably PCI Express with at least 4 SATA ports active with either of them in use,
and I think that's really it. And no wifi or other goofiness I don't need. I'm a minimalist.
 
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post #6 of 17
Looking back to your OP, I should mention that I think a good bit of this board's cost is from the PLX chip that supports the quad graphics.

Without multi-GPU needs, you may have more choices and a lower price with other boards from a good vendor that'll do what you want. Because I wanted to keep my two video cards spaced far apart, and also wanted to preserve the SATA-Express/M.2 option for later, I only had a few suitable boards to choose from. Since I'm also a minimalist in many ways, I didn't want all the add-ons many other pricey boards include.

Best of luck getting a good board, whichever one you choose.
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post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
I hate picking motherboards these days. It used to be fairly easy, every manufacturer made like, three. Now, thirty three. In each of three separate product lines.
Asus is the only one i've found an actual spreadsheet like table showing features to make things slightly easier. My OCD dictates that I find the ideal board for me so
I'm stuck with hours upon hours of reading.

I had been reading about the Gigabyte UDH5, it met most of my requirements, but the managed the 6 rear USB3 with an onboard hub that I'm a bit leary of.
I've got a ton of USB stuff anymore unfortunately. MSI Gaming 7 is pretty good looking too, still reading about it.
I'm weary of my requirements for hardware monitoring/fan control that I only know for sure Asus stuff will do right now.
If the reviews were more universally glowing for the WS I'd be content to just go with it, even though I will never do more than two GPU's.

The WS has a pcie x4 slot too, the "lesser" boards seem to all be x1's unless you share the 16x GPU slot down to 8.
Which probably does not matter, but it's the principle of the thing.
 
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post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Dilemma solved I guess, bought a new in box z97-ws on ebay for $220.
Wish me luck..
 
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post #9 of 17
Indeed, I wish you the best of luck.

After lots of various BIOS tweaks, the Z97-WS seems to be a fundamentally excellent board; my sample just has a weird reluctance to start the boot process from a completely cold PC.

Sometimes it boots correctly right away. Sometimes it clicks and alternately lights the CPU and VGA LEDs several times, then boots. Sometimes it turns itself off then on again 1,2,or 3 times, then boots. Sometimes it boots directly into BIOS Setup, but then the keyboard isn't lit and the keys don't work.

If I see the BIOS boot screen, it always works perfectly from that point, even playing maxed-out Skyrim in SLI has no problems. Once it's turned on and does boot, further boots usually work fine until the PC is turned off and sits for at least 15 minutes! Then all bets are off. Weird.

I'm getting pretty sure mine isn't fixable by adjusting settings; I've tweaked everything I can think of, and the cold-PC problem occurs randomly.

Beginning to suspect this particular mobo has a case of demonic possession. biggrin.gif

Hopefully yours will be excellent throughout.
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post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
So, up and running. So far so good, more or less.


Couple small snags.

My D15 hangs over the 1st pcie, so I used the second, and it'll only do x8. Moved over another and have x16 now.
Not a big deal really but I'm picky, gonna take a smaller cooler if I ever go back to dual GPU's.

This board seems to have decided that auto/stock CPU settings involved setting turbo to 4.4 on all four cores and being a bit
liberal with the voltage. It was running HOT as hell, especially with prime 95 that I have since learned appears to kick haswells
ass for some reason. I deciphered the 8.2 million freakin settings in the bios and got the cpu and power stuff sorted to stock levels
and it's better, can still see 76c core with other stress testers in a 24c room. And I thought the 9590 ran hot, sheesh...

AI Suite 3 has some really neat features, sure wish it was less buggy.
The fan control is neat in that it tests the fans and is so well optioned, I still get some weird
up and down sometimes but I'm tweaking the speed curve.
I'll eventually get speedfan going on here assuming it's compatible, it's rock solid just a bear to set up.

No problems otherwise so far, saw some weirdness in the even log but I suspect it's Asus (male cow fecal material) software glitch.
Edited by wolfwalker - 5/17/15 at 11:39pm
 
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