In general, the output of the Intel LGA1150 platform put ASUS in a rather difficult situation. For previous platforms, motherboards of this manufacturer were among the best, if not the best – both in overclocking functions and in expansion capabilities. Engineers of the company spent a lot of effort to get the most out of the performance (that is, performance) from the processors, and various shortcomings of the chipsets were compensated by a large number of additional controllers. No less responsibly the developers approached the issue of quality: the best components were used for production, and there could be no question of saving on the power converter.
But with the LGA1150 platform the situation is somewhat different. First, the maximum possible performance of the processor is limited only by a weak heat dissipation from the core to the distributor. As a result, the overclocking potential of modern Haswell processors is determined not by the capabilities of the board, but mostly by a successful or unsuccessful instance of the processor itself. Moreover, there is no difference: without physical modification of the processor the maximum frequency is in the 4.4 GHz region, regardless of the motherboard used. The quality of overclocking functions can be useful only in case of transition to Bclk bus frequencies over 100 MHz (we are talking about 125 and 166 MHz). But, in our opinion, the difficulties with these frequencies on the boards of other manufacturers – a phenomenon of short-term (until the release of the corrected BIOS versions). Also, you can not achieve a significant advantage in the field of processor power, because Haswell takes on this task. That is, the role of the power converter is not so significant. Secondly, the new Z87 chipset has quite powerful expansion capabilities, which include support for six SerialATA 6 Gb / s channels and six USB 3.0 ports. This number is enough for the vast majority of users, and a variety of additional controllers are no longer a significant advantage.
As a result, motherboards of different manufacturers are becoming more and more similar to each other in functional terms. So how do you single out your product among the likes of it? Let's see how ASUS coped with this task, using the example of a rather powerful Z87 Deluxe model.
|The ASUS Z87 Deluxe|
|The processor|| Socket LGA1150 connector
Support for Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 technology
|Chipset|| Intel Z87 (PCH)
Communication with the processor: DMI 20 Gb / s
|System memory|| Four 240-pin slots for DDR3 SDRAM DIMM
The maximum memory capacity is 32 GB
DDR3 1066/1333/1600/1866 * / .. / 3000 * memory is supported.
Dual-channel memory access is possible
Support for Intel XMP technology
|Drawing graphics|| Three PCI Express x16 slots
Support for Intel HD Graphics
Support for NVIDIA SLI technology
Support for AMD CrossFireX technology
|Possibilities of expansion|| Four PCI Express x1 slots
Eight USB 2.0 ports (four built-in, four optional)
Eight USB 3.0 ports (six built-in, two additional)
High Definition Audio 7.1
Two network controllers Gigabit Ethernet
WiFi Controller (802.11ac) / Bluetooth v4.0
|Overclocking opportunities|| Changing the frequency of Bclk from 80 to 300 MHz in 0.1 MHz steps, changing CPU multipliers, PCIe / DMI
Changing the voltage on the processor, memory, CSA, Input, Cache and chipset
ASUS utility AISuite III
|The disk subsystem|| SerialATA 6 Gb / s protocol support (six channels – Z87, with support for RAID)
SerialATA 6 Gb / s protocol support (four channels, 2 x ASMedia ASM1061)
|Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)|| ASUS EFI BIOS
64 MB Flash ROM
ASUS EZ Flash 2 technology
ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
ASUS support USB BIOS Flashback
ASUS support USB 3.0 Boost
Support ASUS OC Profile
|Other|| Buttons for turning on and restarting
MemoK button, DirectKey, CMOS reset button
TPU, EPU switches
Two seven-segment POST codes
STR (Suspend to RAM)
S / P- DIF Out
|The power management|| Wake from modem, mouse, keyboard, network, timer and USB
Main 24-pin ATX power connector
Additional 8-pin power connector
|Monitoring|| Tracking of the temperature of the processor and system, additional sensors, monitoring of voltages, rotation speed of all fans
ASUS Fan Xpert 2 technology
|Size||ATX form factor, 305×244 mm (12×9.6 inches)|
The ASUS Z87 Deluxe comes in a standard size box.
Its front side is a flip cover, which describes some of the company's technologies. In addition, the buyer can see the silhouette of the motherboard through a transparent window.
Usually through a similar window the board itself is visible, but in the case of Z87 Deluxe it is not covered with transparent plastic, but wrapped in a translucent package. Very doubtful, in our opinion, the economy.
In the box you can find the following:
- The motherboard;
- User's manual in English, brief guide AI Suite III;
- DVD with software and drivers;
- Six cables SerialATA;
- A set of additional connectors;
- The plug on the back panel of the case;
- SLI Bridge;
- Antenna for the Wi-Fi module.
Despite the fact that in late summer 2013 the motherboard cost more than 9,000 rubles, its configuration can not be called appropriate. The problem is not even the lack of slats with additional ports, but in the missing connecting bridge for 3-Way SLI technology. We have repeatedly said that standard components can be easily purchased in stores, but with connecting bridges it's not so simple, because the distance between PEG-slots on different boards is different. So, the buyer receives six SerialATA cables, one flexible SLI bridge and a set of connectors for easy connection of the board to the buttons and indicators on the case.
The user manual, consisting of two brochures, is executed at a very high level. It includes a description of the main points of the assembly and configuration of the system, as well as BIOS settings and proprietary ASUS utilities.
Note that the kit contains an antenna on a magnetic base for the Wi-Fi module. In this case, this is a mandatory component, since this very module is an integral part of the board.
There are no complaints about the contents of the DVD-ROM, which contains a full set of drivers, a set of proprietary ASUS utilities, as well as a trial version of the antivirus Norton Internet Security 2013. And all software has an excellent interface for installation.
This board attracts attention primarily by its color. The combination of black and gold looks quite solid and highlights the Z87 Deluxe from a series of gloomy black motherboards, which for some reason have become popular lately.
In addition, the board was somewhat surprised by its impressive weight, which resulted from the installation of massive radiators on the power converter and chipset. Radiators of this size increase the cooling efficiency and theoretically increase the service life of the board.
The cooling of the system can be improved by installing additional fans. There are six corresponding 4-pin connectors on the ASUS Z87 Deluxe board, one of which is reserved for the CPU cooler (connector with an additional side lock). It is on the right edge of the board, near the DIMM slots. There is also another connector. The third and fourth are located near the back panel and on the left edge respectively, and the last two are near the main, 24-pin power connector, on the bottom edge of the board.
As for the 8-pin power connector, it is removed to the right edge, which is already a tradition for ASUS motherboards.
The memory subsystem includes four 240-pin DIMM slots for DDR3 memory modules, which are divided into two groups of two slots with alternating colors. To enable dual-channel mode, you need to install the modules in slots of the same color.
Note that the board supports the memory of standard frequencies DDR3-1066 / 1333/1600 and allows you to increase the frequency up to DDR3-2800 MHz in overclocking mode. Immediately note that the maximum amount of memory is 32 GB.
In addition, the board has three PCI Express Graphics slots. The possible configurations of the first two slots (conforming to the specification v3.0) are 16 + 0 and 8 + 8. As for the third slot, only four bus lines are allocated to it and, judging by the v2.0 specification, these lines are borrowed from the chipset.
At the same time, ASUS engineers installed a PCI Express bridge to support additional lines. The chip is called PEX 8608, and it was produced by PLX.
Immediately note that the board has four PCI Express x1 slots.
ASUS Z87 Deluxe, thanks to the Z87 chipset, supports six SerialATA 6 Gb / s channels. All ports are colored yellow, located near the chipset and oriented parallel to the plane of the board.
In the same block, there are four more brown SerialATA 6 Gb / s ports (on the right), which are served by two additional ASM 1061 chips:
As for USB support, there are eight USB 2.0 ports on the board: half is on the back panel, and the other half is plugged (not included). Also, the board supports eight USB 3.0 ports using the Z87 chipset itself and an additional ASMedia ASM1074 chip. The latter is a hub that splits two ports from a chipset into four. Six ports are connected to the back panel of the board, and two more are connected using a bracket. The kit does not include this strap, but it will only be needed if there are no corresponding ports in the case.
The ASUS Z87 Deluxe board supports eight-channel audio, and the ALC1150 chip is used as the codec.
The network subsystem of the board includes two high-speed controllers: Intel i217-V and Realtek 8111GR, each of which is connected to a separate line PCI Express (x1). Both the corresponding connectors (RJ-45) are connected to the rear panel.
It looks like this:
The built-in graphics support is implemented in a rather specific way: there are no massive video outputs VGA and DVI, but there are HDMI and DisplayPort. And the latter is already present in two form-factors: the usual DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort. And since the graphics core in Haswell processors supports independent output to three monitors, the ASUS Z87 Deluxe motherboard fully reveals the potential of the LGA1150 platform by this parameter.
Also note the presence of a large number of USB ports on the panel, the USB BIOS Flashback button (launches BIOS of the same name), an optical S / P-DIF output and a Wi-Fi module (the antenna is included). As for such obsolete ports as COM or PS / 2, the board does not support them.
The traditional scheme of components.
Of the additional functions is worth noting button MemOK, which guarantees a successful start on safe memory settings in the event of overclocking the last button, start and restart the system, as well as two seven-segment indicators POST-codes. We also note that the second indicator is not yet used and, apparently, is reserved for future functions. We saw a similar solution on the Intel DZ87KLT-75K board and we will also postulate that the second indicator could be used to output the current core temperature of Haswell (which is very important for overclocking these processors).
Also on the board is a reset button for CMOS settings and a push button in the BIOS (DirectKey). Next to the latter, there is a dip switch for the TPU function that is responsible for the automatic overclocking of the processor, and the second is for activating the EPU function (power management and power saving).