GIGABYTE GA-Z87X-OC (Intel LGA 1150)

GIGABYTE GA-Z87X-OC (Intel LGA 1150)

Intel Z87 Chipset »

Introduction


On the corner of my desk (in a spot meant for my third monitor), sits my motherboard test bench, and the system build on that test bench changes every week. I have released reviews of two completely new products on the market these past two weeks--a Dragon and a tank with ARMOR plating as part of the design; but that ARMOR doesn't come in the same box the Tank does. The Dragon came from MSI, a company I am relatively new in dealing with as a reviewer, and the tank came from ASUS, a significant long-time supporter of TPU's motherboard reviews (and, as such, me). However, MSI and ASUS aren't the only brands out there, and other companies have completely new products too. So what about those other OEMs?

Since I'm situated in Edmonton, Alberta, I'm obviously in North America but not the U.S., so dealings are mainly with reps in Taiwan because Canada's market is too thinly spread over the country's wide geography for individual offices of these tech companies, and U.S. reps also don't seem to realize Canada even exists. This is an issue I have identified to exist across the entire industry. Sign up for game accounts with numerous game developers and you'll find country listings you can add to your profile with those companies, but Canada is rarely an option. In my dealings with ASRock, ASUS, G.Skill, and others that have given me reps to deal with in Taiwan, I have learned many things, but one thing that stands out to me is how much personal pride these reps take in what they do. If it had not been for Canada's lack of attention from these companies, I'd have not had these great relationships with reps the world over, and there will always be a special place in my heart for the reps in Taiwan. Not that there is anything wrong with my U.S. reps, far from it, as they are very much people who could live next door, but communicating with reps from a different global region definitely raised my cultural awareness.

As I sat at my desk in an attempt to work things out for the launch of this platform, arranging meetings for Computex and working on plans for content in the coming months, my mind once again wandered to the Taiwanese reps and that feeling of genuine confidence and pride I picked up on, and it occurred to me that right there, likely in those same offices as my reps, are the hardware designers and engineers that make all these tech products we spend so much time playing with. In my test bench and on the peripherals of my vision sat Gigabyte's latest new product, the Gigabyte GA-Z87X-OC, a design that clearly had a specific focus in mind, especially when compared to the other products Gigabyte is releasing for Intel's Haswell CPUs. So I contacted my Gigabyte rep and asked her if she could take a moment to walk down the hall and ask the lead designer of the Gigabyte GA-Z87X-OC what this board is all about. Here's the response I got:
“We’ve tried to evaluate the experience of overclocking from as many different angles as possible in order to adapt features and design considerations that not only make it as easy as possible to push your hardware to its absolute max, but to also make sure you are having a great time doing it,” commented Hicookie, Chief Overclocking Evangelist, GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit. “As an overclocker myself, these are the motherboards I would rely on to break world records.”
As I read the words, a smile appeared on my face. Overclocking, indeed. There can be no mistake, the Gigabyte GA-Z87X-OC is built for OC through and through, with a bunch of features that focus on taking your parts to the limit and beyond. Such functionality has normally been reserved for high-end boards stuffed to the frills with features that might not truly benefit overclocking but appeal to the same crowd for 24/7 use. We all saw Gigabyte's Z77X-UP7 with the best on-board audio I've heard yet, a killer VRM section, and a PLX PEX8747 to add Quad-SLI support to Intel's Z77 Express platform. However, all those high-end features cost ''high-end'' money, and not all overclockers can afford to spend such money. So what we have here is what I affectionately refer to as the Racer, a stripped-down overclock dyno machine that's light on the wallet but heavy on OC ability, with just the right mix of features to match.




Specifications

Specifications
CPU SUPPORT:4th Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processor family for the LGA 1150 Socket
POWER DESIGN:CPU Power: 8 Phases
Memory Power: 2 Phases
CHIPSET:Intel Z87 Express
INTEGRATED GRAPHICS:Dependant on installed CPU
MEMORY:4 x DIMM, Max. 32 GB, DDR3 1066 to DDR3 3000+(OC)
BIOS:Dual AMI UEFI BIOS with 2x 128 Mb Flash ROM
SLOTS:3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16 or x8/x0/x8 or x8/x4/x4)
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot(x4 mode max, bottom orange slot)
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot
2 x PCI slot
HDD CONNECTIVITY:6 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (Intel Z87)
NETWORKING:1 x Intel Gigabit LAN
PORTS:10 x USB 3.0 ports (4 at front panel, 6 at rear panel)
8 x USB 2.0 ports (2 at front panel, 4 at rear panel, 2 internal)
1 x RJ45 LAN connectors
1 x Audio block with 6 OFC audio jacks
1 x Optical Digital Audio port
2 x HDMI port
1 x Displayport
AUDIO:Realtek ALC892 HD CODEC
FAN HEADERS:6 x 4-pin PWM, 2 x 3-pin
FORM FACTOR:ATX Form Factor (305 mm x 244 mm)
EXCLUSIVE FEATURES:
  • OC Ignition
  • OC Touch
  • OC PCIe Switch
  • OC PEG
  • OC Brace
  • OC Connect
  • Extreme Multi-GPU
  • Gold-plated, solid power connectors
  • Gold-plated CPU socket, DDR- and PCI Express Slots
  • Q-Flash
  • Xpress Install
  • APP Center
  • @[USER=2828]bios[/USER]
  • EasyTune
  • EZ Setup
  • ON/OFF Charge2
  • USB Blocker
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