ASUS 970 PRO Gaming Aura
Dropping the price for our last entry and returning to Asus, we have its 970 PRO Gaming Aura. This is a fairly recent motherboard, released in May, using the older 970 chipset.
The 970 PRO Gaming Aura offers four DDR3 DIMM slots, six SATA 6Gbps ports, a single M. 2 port, two PCIe x16 slots, two PCI 2.0 x1 slots and a pair of legacy PCI slots.
Rear I/ O consists of a combo single PS/ 2 keyboard and mouse port, two USB 3.1 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, optical S/ PDIF out and a six- port audio block. As with most of the boards in this guide, there’s no video output on the motherboard itself, so you’re going to have to supply a separate graphics card.
The PRO Gaming side of the motherboard’s title covers the SLI/ CrossFire, SupremeFX shielded and high- performance audio. The Aura element is due to the under- lighting LED on the southbridge heatsink, where you can customise the colour and control scheme: static, breathing, strobing, colour cycle and even pulsing to the beat of any music played.
The LED lighting effects are a neat addition to the motherboard design, along with the now familiar black PCB and red components.
Beyond the aesthetics there’s plenty of room on the 970 PRO for a pair of large graphics cards, with lots of breathing room between the two slots, as well as room around the CPU socket for bigger than normal coolers.
On top of all that, there are also solid caps, highly durable components, stainless steel rear I/ O backplate and all manner of electrical protection. Asus’s UEFI BIOS, as mentioned with the A88X, is vastly improved and offers the user plenty of scope to tweak the settings. It’s exactly the same BIOS as the A88X, so there’s nothing really new to add here other than the additional calibration of the LED effects from the Aura element of the motherboard’s name.
Of course, there’s overclocking available, with the BIOS offering an easier than normal access to the various settings, profiles and so on for those who don’t want to push the CPU clock envelope too far.
The main feature of the Asus 970 PRO Gaming Aura is to provide the system builder with a good foundation, while offering something a little more alluring, in the case of the LEDs. Asus has done a good job of hitting that nail on the head here, with the price of the 970 PRO being just £ 103.
It’d be nice to see a video output port included, but for just over £ 100, it’s not too unrealistic to consider a couple of AMD’s new RX- GPUs to complement this already good motherboard.