Fast And Cheap? Five Sub-$160 Z87 Motherboards For Enthusiasts

Status
Not open for further replies.

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
The sad things about "exposing enthusiast features" on z87:
1- the x8x4x4 PCIe controller is a CPU feature in all i5 and i7. All the z*7 chipset does is unlock the CPU feature
2- same goes for multipliers on K-chips: CPU feature locked out by non-z*7 chipsets
3- SATA-6G ports do not really cost Intel any thing extra to put on-chip (little more than a PLL tweak to lock on faster signals), which makes it somewhat of a shame they aren't fully standard
4- USB3 ports do not cost Intel all that much extra either - maybe an extra square millimeter on silicon to upgrade all remaining USB2 ports to USB3
5- the DMI bus can only manage ~20Gbps so it will bottleneck if you attempt to use even 1/5th the total the connectivity available on z87

More connectivity, yes. But DMI lacks the muscle to actually stress that extra IO. As such, it is little more than a glorified SATA port replicator and USB hub.

I almost exclusively use Intel CPUs but it still annoys me how Intel charges extra for trivial things or unlock stuff they arbitrarily locked out just because they can.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
It still saves motherboard makers a lot of money when they don't need to add all those controllers. And it frees up some of those x1 slots. Remember that most users don't use "everything at once" to fill up the DMI, so having the x1 slots available rather than consumed by onboard devices adds flexibility to a build.

In other words, they might be charging for stuff that should be free or should have been included all the way back in the Z68, but past omission doesn't negate current usefullness.

 

DookieDraws

Distinguished
Oct 8, 2004
1,153
10
19,665
150
I am planning a new Haswell build, soon, and I really appreciate the the effort put into this review. Very helpful!

The market is flooded with tons of these Z87 motherboards and it can be very overwhelming researching them. So, hopefully we'll see a few more Z87 reviews from you guys, soon.

Would also like to see some powerful i7 builds built around more energy efficient components. That would be very interesting. Hint. :)
 
Yeah, I would not be caught dead with a Biostar board. Booo... Interesting that the G45 did not overclock to well, they are usually not the best OCers due to low cost VRMs, thought this would change with Haswell. Hmmm...
 

axehead15

Honorable
Apr 9, 2013
443
0
10,810
25
I really think that ASRock has taken a lot of steps to put the naysayers to rest. The amount of features that is on these boards for the cost is incredible.

Rather surprised that Biostar had such a good board. Maybe it's time to start considering those boards for future builds.
 

JPNpower

Honorable
Jun 7, 2013
1,072
0
11,360
41
Can anybody tell me the true difference between the Asus Z87-A and Z-87 plus, without all the marketing hogwash? I'm confused what the difference is. (woth say $15 extra for the plus?)
 

vertexx

Honorable
Apr 2, 2013
747
0
11,060
30
Trying to pick a winner based strictly on the numbers - tough when the measured numbers have been commoditized to the extent they have. Funny to give in on ASRock based on a temporary price break. I think the feature-set vs. value helps ASRock stand on it's own. I really think there is a good target audience for each of these boards. Pulling that out would be a great analysis.

It is great to see a round-up of the mainstream boards, though, so thanks!
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator

Most users don't have enough such devices to fill every port in the first place (how many people need more than two upper-tier SSDs?) but those who might actually "need" and use 6xSATA-6G would be people wanting to do things like RAID0/1/5 with 3-6x SSDs. At 6x SSDs, we would be looking at ~25Gbps peak not counting GbE, USB3 or PCIe devices on the 8x 2.0 lanes.

Still does not change the fact that the only reason why Intel gets away with charging $10-15 extra for less than $1 worth of features while the DMI bus lacks the bandwidth to properly support them for people who may actually intend to use them is because they have a practical monopoly which allows them to arbitrarily fragment the market so they can artificially inflate prices.

The main reason most people go with z?7 is the overclock unlock for K-chips. That itself is the biggest joke since it is a completely artificial limitation Intel engineered into their products to enforce co-upselling. As shown with the h87 slip-up, the h87 is perfectly capable of managing multipliers on Haswell K-chips when the K-chip lacks the microcode to enforce the z87 unlock "requirement."

I don't bother with overclocking so this does not affect me... but it still annoys me on the basis of principles and general dislike for hair-splitting for profit.
 

NinjaNerd56

Honorable
Apr 6, 2013
58
0
10,630
0
Very well done. I've typically used GigaByte and MSI for my builds, and had excellent results.

I'm about to build a new gaming box, and I'll consider the 'winners' in the article when I'm shopping. While price is not a big driver for me, I'll see if ASRock stays true.
 

Onus

Titan
Moderator
I run RAID1 for my data drives, so I'd like to have more than the two Intel-based SATA 6Gb/s ports that Z77 offers so I can have them and my boot drive on Intel controllers. It isn't enough to justify a $450 upgrade though (CPU+Mobo+Windows).
 

vertexx

Honorable
Apr 2, 2013
747
0
11,060
30
Just find this interesting... Number of LGA 1150 ATX Motherboard Models on Newegg:

ASUS - 16
ASRock - 10
Gigabyte - 11
MSI - 8
ECS - 3
Biostar - 2

How in the heck does marketing sort out product definition for 16 models, all for the same form factor?
 

Onus

Titan
Moderator
That is true, but since they're paired, I want them on the same-speed port. I also have a backup drive and an optical drive; just need to move a few things around a little.
 

JPNpower

Honorable
Jun 7, 2013
1,072
0
11,360
41
I'd just invest in PCI based SATA ports. SATA controller?

ANYWAY, your choice

Spend a lot for a single issue fix

Spend a lot more for a new layout with superior everything and future proof for next gen CPUs.

Spend nothing, stop whining and deal with it.
 

POgli

Honorable
Aug 14, 2013
2
0
10,510
0
I am planning to buy the extreme 4 for my next build. I was wondering how ASRock managed to create an appealing board cheaper than the competitors. Are the components used by them of inferior quality if compared to MSI, ASUS and Gigabyte or are the later charging a premium for their names? Or is it ASRock strategy to get market share?
Thanks
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Cheaper? Well, the regular price is $160, and they keep adding temporary discounts at Newegg to win awards. They probably make it up by not having the discounts anywhere else and using the award logo everywhere else.

 

POgli

Honorable
Aug 14, 2013
2
0
10,510
0


Hey thanks for the answers...

Just to clarify... I should have said that I am looking at the Australian market. The table below shows the difference comparing the average price in the 5 top stores in QLD/AU: (yes they are THAT much more expensive... ;) )
ASRock Z87 Extreme4: $192.75 / Extreme6: $221.67
ASUS Z87-Plus: $235.67 / A: $210.33 / Pro: $277.67
Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H: $226.50 / OC: $260.67 / D3H: $194.17 / UD4H: $269.40
MSI Z87-GD45: $195.00 / GD65: $258.40

and yes I have being very busy lately trying decide where to spend my money... :p
Thank you for all the knowledge that comes from your reviews...
 

RedJaron

Splendid
Moderator
Dear ASRock,

I love your boards. I use one myself and I often recommend your products to others. I think you pack nice value onto them. So could you PLEASE start adding more 4-pin fan headers to your boards? If my CPU fan speed can scale with temperature, I see no reason why my case fans can't do the same. Really, I'll pay an extra $5 if my PWM case fans can be fully used.

Tom's you guys have some weight to throw around. Can you please start requesting board manufacturers make all their fan headers PWM? Or at least four of them? Thanks.

However, I have to disagree with you a bit on SATA ports and cables in this price segment. No, you weren't heavily critical on the drive ports, but it sounded almost as if you thought it was stingy. I think six internal SATA III ports is more than enough for the mid-range enthusiast crowd. That's enough for dual optical burners and two RAIDS of paired SSDs and HDDs. At this price point, I can't imagine many builders using more than that ( really, any six-drive setup at the mid-range level sounds really odd. ) The vast majority don't need more than three drives ( optical, SSD, HDD, ) so the fourth cable is kind of a bonus ( though MSI should be ashamed for only bundling two cables. )

Anyone who wants/needs more than six drives is either building a high-end luxury rig or some type of NAS machine. If the former, they're much more likely to buy a deluxe board, something in the $180+ range. If the latter, that means they're either looking for a specialized mboard, or something cheaper and simpler they can throw in some add-on storage cards.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS