MSI Z87 Motherboard Roundup: Rockin Haswell
|4th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors for LGA 1150 socket
Intel Z87 Express Chipset
Supports two DDR3 DIMMs 1066/1333/1600/1866*/2000*/2133*/2200*/2400*/2600*/2666*/2800*/3000* (*OC) MHz,
up to 16GB Max
Supports Dual-Channel mode; non-ECC, un-buffered memory; Intel XMP
1 x DisplayPort with max. resolution of 4096x2160@24Hz, 24bpp/ 3840x2160@60Hz, 24bpp
1 x HDMI port with max. resolution up to 4096x2160@24Hz, 24bpp/2560x1600@60Hz,
1 x DVI-I port with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @60Hz, 24bpp
Realtek ALC892 Codec (7.1-Channel High Definition Audio)
2 x Realtek 8111G Gigabit LAN controller
1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot
1 x Half-size mini-PCIe slot
Supports four SATAIII ports (SATA1~4) by Z87, up to 6Gb/s transfer speed
6x USB 3.0 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB connectors)
4x USB 2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB connectors)
The Z87I has four 6Gbps SATA ports that support RAID 0/1/5/10, and the board supports up to 10 USB ports (6 USB 3.0, 4 USB 2.0); all of the above is provided by the chipset. For audio, the Z87I has 7.1 surround sound via a Realtek chip, as well as Sound Blaster Cinema software that lets you select presets (based on use cases and situations such as movie-watching or video chatting) or customize your own surround setup.
MSI gave you options for built-on graphics, too, by including DVI-D as well as DisplayPort and HDMI. The latter two both support 4K displays, and you can use any two of the onboard graphics ports for dual-display functionality.
In the box, you’ll find driver and utilities discs, a compact user manual, quick start guide, WiFi module antennae, two SATA cables, and the I/O shield.
With respect to the fact that a mini-ITX motherboard doesn’t give you much room to work with, we found there to be some layout issues with the Z87I. For one thing, the wires from the WiFi module to the WiFi antenna mounts on the I/O panel drape all the way across one side of the board, and they’re completely in the way--especially when you’re trying to connect to the adjacent pin headers. In fact, the headers most occluded by the WiFi module wires are the ones for the power and reset switches and one of the two fan headers.
In summation, the Z87I has some solid features, but the layout of the board is pretty tight in spots and you are going to want to double-check your complementary components for compatibility.