Gigabyte Z87 Haswell Motherboard Round-Up

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Gigabyte Z87X OC Force

The Gigabyte Z87X OC Force is decorated in Halloween colors, and that orange and black can only mean one thing: it’s an overclocking board. Indeed, Gigabyte has this motherboard tricked out with extra overclocking goodies. A simple addition is a metal bracket called the OC Brace that helps keep graphics cards snugly secured in place. The board's heatsink system--which is essentially identical to that of the G1.Sniper 5 except that the southbridge has an active heatsink, too--is called OC Cool.

There’s also OC Peg, which is an extra SATA power port attached directly to the PCB that you can plug into to give more juice to the system for more stability when using a multi-way graphics setup. In addition, the OC PCIe Switch feature lets you turn given PCI lanes on or off so you can effectively “remove” a graphics card without going through the hassle of physically pulling it out.

Gigabyte Z87X OC Force
Specifications & Features

CPU:

Chipset:

Memory:





Onboard Graphics:



Audio:





LAN:


Wireless:


Expansion Slots:




Storage:






USB:






Form Factor:

Price:
Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors in the LGA1150 package

Intel Z87 Express Chipset

4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
Dual channel memory architecture, support for non-ECC memory modules and XMP
Support for DDR3 3000(O.C.) / 2933(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2600(O.C.) /
2500(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2200(O.C.) / 2133(O.C.) / 2000(O.C.) / 1866(O.C.) /
1800(O.C.) / 1600 / 1333 MHz memory modules

2 x HDMI ports, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160
1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 3840x2160
Maximum shared memory of 1 GB

Realtek ALC898 codec
High Definition Audio
2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
Support for S/PDIF In
Support for S/PDIF Out

2 x Intel GbE LAN chips (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Support for Teaming

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0+HS, 2.1+EDR

3 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1~3)
2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1~2)
2 x PCI Express x1 slots
Support for 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire/NVIDIA SLI technology

Chipset:
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5) supporting up to 6 SATA 6Gb/s devices
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
Marvell 88SE9230 chip:
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3 6~9) supporting up to 4 SATA 6Gb/s devices
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10

Chipset:
Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (available through the internal USB header)
Up to 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available
through the internal USB headers)
Chipset + 2 Renesas uPD720210 USB 3.0 Hubs:
Up to 8 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (6 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available
through the internal USB header)
E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 26.4cm

Currently a $409 flagship Z87 overclocking motherboard

Gigabyte gave overclockers a handful of physical buttons with which to tweak your system. The OC Tag button lets you load saved overclocking profiles. OC Ignition lets you run fans and drives even without booting, which enables functions such as check for leaks in a liquid cooling system, removing moisture from LN2-cooled systems, maintaining continuous power to drives, and more.

With OC Turbo, the system will optimally overclock a CPU based on the memory and processor setup, and the OC Trigger Switch lets you jump between high and low frequencies, so if you’re just booting and dinking around on your PC, you can keep things low-power, but if you’re testing or are otherwise looking for a performance boost, you can flip the switch to engage your higher frequencies.
     
The OC Gear button can change BCLK steppings, and there are two sets of +/- buttons that let you bump up the BCLK and CPU ratio incrementally. There’s also the predictable power and reset buttons as well as voltage read points.

Like the other two Z87 boards from Gigabyte we’ve looked at, this one supports up to 32GB of DDR3-3000 (OC) system memory, and it has the same onboard DisplayPort and pair of HDMI ports as the G1.Sniper 5.

  

Three of this mainboard’s PCIe x16 slots run at x16 even with three cards installed, and there are two more PCIe x16 slots (x8 connected) and a pair of PCIe x1 slots, and it supports up to 4-way SLI or CrossFire setups. There are ten total SATA 6Gbps ports--six from the chipset and four from a Marvell chip--with the former supporting RAID 0/1/5/10 and the latter RAID 0/1/10.
     
The Z87 chipset also offers up to two USB 3.0 ports and six USB 2.0 ports, and the Renesas chip gives you eight more USB 3.0 ports. The OC Force has the same WiFi and Bluetooth wireless module as the G1.Sniper 5, and it also has two LAN ports, but in this case the LAN ports are both Intel GbE and support teaming.

  

The rear I/O panel has a PS/2 port, optical S/PDIF, two HDMI ports, DisplayPort, six USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, six audio jacks, and the aforementioned two LAN ports. We already mentioned the OC Brace that comes with the OC Force and a wireless module, and the box also contains a 3.5-inch front panel with two USB 3.0 ports, eight voltage measurement cables, one CrossFire and three SLI bridge connectors, I/O shield, six SATA cables, quick installation guide, user manual, and driver disc. It's locked and loaded for performance.

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