Z87 Hits The High End: Four Sub-$300 Motherboards

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brimur

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I always wonder about these MB benchmarks. For as long as I can remember they are always so similar with differences being negligable. Its really just comes down to the features you want on your board and the layout of the board
 

Onus

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I'm waiting to hear if Asus will make their Sonic Radar available either on their older ROG boards with SupremeFX sound, or on their ROG sound card. I'm only a mild overclocker and run a single graphics card, so this is the only feature that interests me. I'm deaf in one ear and cannot tell direction of sound, so it may allow me to enjoy FPS titles (otherwise I'm dead before I know the direction of incoming).
 

wussupi83

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I think it would be cool to see storage benchmarks on these boards. Only because I own an Z77X-UD5H and the extra Marvell SATA III ports perform barely better than the default chipset SATA II ports. When I started running benchmarks on my SSD I kind of felt a little conned at the Marvell SATA III add-ons were over 100MBPS behind the default Intel chipset SATA III ports. A real shame because I liked the board.
 

Crashman

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That's why it didn't win the value award in this class. It just doesn't fit into this price segment, but they tried to make it fit anyway :)

We had a storage guy who did those controllers at one time. The thing is, any PCIe x1 controller is going to be limited by its x1 connector, but Intel's integrated SATA probably has direct DMI access.

Gotta love the lower power bills, especially when AC is running right?

32 GB et al. Some of these could probably support 16GB DIMMs if they existed, but they don't, so every single Z87, Z77, Z68... they all support a maximum of 8GB per slot. No difference, no change, if you have a problem it's either bad memory programing or bad motherboard firmware.

You saw the explanation in the O/C section? There's a tiny difference between each board in the amount of over-voltage, yet none of them seem to be unstable.

^^^THIS^^^I couldn't believe Asus passed up the opportunity to be the only board with 3-way SLI. But be careful in your description, because the ASRock board has "a a PLX chip" of a different spec :0
 


It is not like they have not made a UD7H versions of other boards.
 

vertexx

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Yes - read that. I wasn't sure if there was a way to quantify quality of power supplied to the CPU like you see in some of the better PSU reviews. Maybe it's not really an issue or not much variance between the boards. I'm thinking more of ability to maintain the stable OC over a longer period of time. For example, I have a lower-end MSI MB that I use to overclock a Phenom II X4-965. It seems over time that the stability of the OC has gone down somewhat - not sure if that's due to quality of voltage regulation provided supplied to the CPU. Primarily interested in if there are any other measurable differences between these Mobo's. It's alot of work you put into this article for what is measured to be pretty much a wash.
 

Stevemeister

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I think sometimes people can't see the forest for the trees - the performance of these individual boards is so close that my conclusion is simply pick the one you like with the features you like or the colour scheme you like. Understand there will be variability in the manufacturing process of the boards that could affect performance and when it comes to overclocking the variability in Intels' products will make the biggest difference. long and short - you won't go drastically wrong with any of them.
 

Onus

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I generally agree with this. The exceptions (which you hint at) would be dealbreaker/dealmaker features, or consistent quality issues with boards of that company (e.g. I doubt an enthusiast would trust Jetway).
 

Crashman

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The voltage levels used in this article couldn't produce enough current load to make the voltage regulators get all wiggly. What we see here are boards with recent high-amperage voltage regulator designs and a CPU that can't take the extra load without overheating.

 

slomo4sho

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Fine, it has the PLX 8747 chip that increases lane counts to support 3 and 4 way SLI/Crossfire instead of the worthless PLX 8608 which only split lanes and produces unnecessary latency issues in 2 way SLI configurations.
 

vertexx

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Got it - thanks!
 

Onus

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^Agreed, except that a higher price generally buys more features and more durable components, not better benchmarks (although you may get higher, safer, and/or more stable overclocks).
 

ruidc

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it's the stable Overclocks I was after to justify the increased spend beyond number of interfaces and options. Durability is less of a point these days when you can't upgrade the CPUs across generations for most families of Intel processors. Specifically: would be good to see the difference from $130 boards and their $300 variety, across overclocks, network performance with inbuilt LAN drivers etc.
 

slomo4sho

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Ironically, my Maximus VI Extreme only has a 3 year warranty even though it is the most expensive board from Asus on their Z87 lineup and the Sabertooth, which is about ~60-65% of the price, does have the 5 year warranty. In fact, the Sabertoth and Gryphon (mATX version of Sabretooth) are the only boards that offer a 5 year warranty. Even the Z87-WS only has a 3 year warranty even though it is arguably the most durable board in the lineup.

 

jimmysmitty

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Everybody has a different experience but as I said mine is from retail. We used everything from MSI to Asus to ASRock ect and I saw the least returns/issues with Asus and the most from MSI.

As for the BIOS, I never said the Live Update didn't work. I just said it is not the best way to do it and also the least efficient. Having to build out a system with Windows vs just throwing a supported CPU, RAM and a PSU and using the BIOS.



Most memory works in every board. Most support DDR3 2600MHz or higher in OC.

Unless you mean speed and in the case of most Intel chips, you can have DDR3 3000MHz but the gains wont be substantial and in the real world and gaming (which these boards are normally aimed at) are minimal as its already blazingly fast.

I think once we hit DDR4 we will see nice gains but not until then.
 

Crashman

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Oh, was he talking frequency? Because available settings ARE shown on the overclocking chart, butt settings beyond the CPU's maximum (DDR3-2933) are not useable.

So, from my first answer, maximum capacity isn't a motherboard feature because the memory industry (rather than motherboard manufacturers) set a single limit of 8GB per slot that applies to all boards. And maximum frequency isn't a motherboard feature because Haswell sets a single limit of DDR3-2933 that applies to all boards.
 

Crashman

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All these boards support Quad SLI! None support 3-way SLI! 3-way SLI motherboards cost more than Quad SLI motherboards!

This is a cop-out of the marketing gurus. They refer to 4-way or Quad SLI support by using dual-GPU cards. They then put the extra slot that doesn't work in SLI on the board, hoping people will assume "if it supports 4-way, it supports 3-way!" And when people figure out that their assumption was wrong, the marketing gurus hope they'll blame themselves for that assumption.

 
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