Budget conscious enthusiasts should consider the ASUS Z87-A Motherboard for their newly built computer rig that supports the new Haswell line processors in socket 1150 platform. This is one of the Best Z87 Motherboard having the capability to overclock the unlock versions of Haswell CPU’s from Intel. The good thing about it is that it comes in a very affordable price.
The ASUS Z87-A Motherboard Review introduced more features to put forward like the ASUS 5X Protection, USB 3.0 Boost, New UEFI BIOS , Dual Intelligent Processors 2 and the AI Suite 3 to name some, these can also be found in their high priced board. Each one of this can be discuss as we progress.
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The Looks And Connectivity
Asus have move away from its traditional blue and black color scheme, since the release of the Z87 motherboard they embrace the gold format which is far better than the old one. The board has a very nice layout that provides fast and clean connections.
The voltage regulator circuitry provides a good heatsink size which is very often you can see from an entry level board. The CPU slot provides a descent space for an oversized CPU cooler in case you decide to upgrade for overclocking purposes.
The DIMM slots are nicely color coded with black and gold color for proper memory pairing. It supports up to 32GB of DDR3 with maximum 3000MHz memory frequency. The 24-pin power supply connector is well placed on the edge of the board beside the memory slot while the 8-pin is near on the voltage regulator circuitry.
Moving on the SATA ports, you can see the six SATA 6GB/s in gold color provided by the Intel Z87 chipset. Four of them are cleverly laid down in single while the two comes in a typical dual. The idea behind this is to prevent it from distracting the GPU card when populated.
On the expansion slot side, there are three PCIe 16x, the first two supports the Gen 3 graphics card that can accommodate both CrossfireX and SLI multi graphics configuration. You also have two PCIe 1x slot in yellow and two legacy PCI slots in black.
Looking at the back I/O panel, you have the keyboard/mouse combo port, 4x USB 3.0 in blue with Boost Speed and 2x USB 2.0 in black, 1x RJ45 LAN port, 1x Optical S/PDIF out and 6x audio jacks. Asus generously provides healthy dose of display port to maximize your display options such as the VGA, DVI-D, HDMI and the mini display port.
More Features From ASUS Z87-A Motherboard
The board features the Asus 5X Protection that delivers top quality, highly reliable and durable for you to enjoy its benefits for longer period of time. This includes the DIGI + VRM power phase design that delivers accurate CPU power without loss for maximum performance. This is great for overclocking purposes. Second is the Over Current protection, with the inclusion of resettable fuse the system will prevent from possible short circuit. Third is the ESD with its fully tested circuit that passed the strict standard to eliminate the unwanted electro static interference. Fourth is the high quality solid caps with 5K hours capability and lastly, the stainless steel back I/O shield to prevents corrosion that may lead to components malfunctioning.
The Dual Intelligent Processor 2 feature includes two physical onboard chips with TPU (TurboV Processing Unit) and the EPU (Energy Processing Unit) incorporated with DIGI + VRM. This aim to provide precise Vcore PWM, iGP voltage and frequency module adjustment with the lowest possible loss, this greatly helps to push further your CPU overclocking capability.
The DIGI + VRM gives you control over the CPU power options for maximum performance and maximum power efficiency. The Asus Fan Xpert 2 lets you fine tune the entire system fan to achieve maximum coolness with minimum noise level.
The all new Asus UEFI BIOS provides quicker access to areas you most often visited. The EZ mode part is the first you’ll going to arrive at when you enter CMOS settings. It provides more options and user-friendlier with its new look than the older version. Functions like performance settings, CPU monitoring, fan information and adjustment, memory configuration, and boot priority options are readily available without the need to go on the Advance Mode.
If you’re not comfortable with the typical BIOS settings the AI Suite 3 would be a great place to tweak. The AI Suite 3 is bundled software from Asus making its first debut with the release of the Z87 series motherboard. It features a user friendly utilities that allows you to tweak everything on your system from overclocking, energy saving and fan speed for optimum performance with total power efficiency.
Another great software from Asus is the Remote GO! That allows you to create your own PC remote control and entertainment. Here are some of the possibilities you can do with the Remote GO! Access to all your cloud storage services, operate your desktop computer in real time from your mobile devices such as SmartPhone or tablets, your desktop computer can function as a media server that can access anyone within the wireless network and transfer files from your desktop to mobile devices or vice versa.
The Direct Key button function can be found on the system board itself which is very handy when you need to test the board. It will take you directly on the BIOS setting that eliminate the pain of continuously pressing on the DEL key during boot-up.
Asus claims to have a 170-percent increase in speed with their USB 3.0 Boost feature with UASP support compare to any traditional USB 3.0. This thing really works fast however, it varies depending on the type of USB flash drive being use. If you’re always on the go, this will definitely makes you happy.
Overclocking The Asus Z87-A
Overclicking the Asus Z87-A motherboard gives you more capability to push it to the limit. Using the Core i7 4770K Unlock version of Haswell processor from Intel provides a descent overclock from 4.4GHz to 4.8GHz. Of course never forget the oversize heatsink to protect your processor under stressed conditions.
After spending some time tweaking the board we arrive at 4.6GHz with full stability after 24/7 testing while the memory was OC at 2400MHz. If you want to squeeze more juice out of it you can still increase the multiplier to x 47 to arrive at 4.7GHz but, we manage to go back to 4.6GHz at full stability due to the unbearable heat. This really depends on your CPU cooling system but, I suspect that a water cooler doesn’t fit on its crowded CPU socket.
Overall, the Asus Z87-A motherboard proves to be one of the best Z87 motherboard that shows an incredible performance on both stock speed and overclock. At oveclocked speed it shows tremendous increase in its performance with full stability. Great features from its pricier counterpart motherboard can also be found in this entry level board. This alone delivers an excellent value on the table.
The current street pricing is only $129 making it the cheapest Best Z87 motherboard you can have but, the features and performance it offers is definitely on a top notch. The Asus Z87-A motherboard review satisfies those who want more from an entry level priced board. Click Here to get the Lowest Price!