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Five Z87 Motherboards Under $220, Reviewed

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a b K Overclocking
a b V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 1:14:05 AM

Intel’s Haswell architecture displaces Ivy Bridge in its desktop line-up, bringing with it yet another new CPU interface. We tested six motherboards that claimed to be ready for your overclocking efforts, and included the five survivors in today’s review.

Five Z87 Motherboards Under $220, Reviewed : Read more
a b K Overclocking
a c 246 V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 2:09:10 AM

Who did you get the CPU from? Given the Haswell launch article said they were unlikely to be able to hit 4.5GHz+, is this a cherry-picked chip from Intel?
Could we see some MBs around the $130-$140 mark? They're the interesting ones IMO, and would toast most of these in terms of value.
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June 4, 2013 2:20:50 AM

Someone Somewhere said:
Who did you get the CPU from? Given the Haswell launch article said they were unlikely to be able to hit 4.5GHz+, is this a cherry-picked chip from Intel?
Intel says it doesn't cherry-pick chips for reviewers...
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a b V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 2:26:41 AM

Thank you. I was looking forward for a review like this. I read some reviews and the o/c was varying from mobo to mobo lot. So if the same cpu was used, 4,3Ghz to 4,7Ghz is a lot of difference. Because if your cpu would o/c to 4,3Ghz most we would tell its a crap sample Haswell sucks on o/c etc etc, but if it was be able to clock to 4,7Ghz we would say its a nice sample.
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June 4, 2013 2:27:55 AM

Someone Somewhere said:
Who did you get the CPU from? Given the Haswell launch article said they were unlikely to be able to hit 4.5GHz+, is this a cherry-picked chip from Intel?
Could we see some MBs around the $130-$140 mark? They're the interesting ones IMO, and would toast most of these in terms of value.

Yes, the CPU comes from Intel. Almost certainly it was cherry-picked. But this is why we didn't rely on these CPUs for our launch coverage--it makes a lot more sense to go to a source with hundreds of boxed processors on the bench to get a real sense for what Haswell will do in the wild. At least for this round-up, the variable changing is the motherboard. So, we derive as much meaning as possible with a review sample that hits 4.7 GHz on one board and 4.5 GHz on another.
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a b K Overclocking
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June 4, 2013 2:38:44 AM

Yeah - but if people think that their chip is going to hit 4.7 on a good board, then find they can't get 4.5, they can be upset.

OTOH, the launch coverage said that was at 1.2V, while this is 1.3V, so I guess a few hundred MHz extra is reasonable.

Lot more variation than on IB's review: http://media.bestofmicro.com/X/O/335580/original/image0...
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June 4, 2013 2:46:38 AM

Isn't there a flaw in the Z87 technology regarding sleep mode? Was it mentioned in the article? I didn't see it.
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June 4, 2013 2:46:43 AM

do these board suffer from the rumoured usb3 sleep issue? or are they the fixed B3 steppings ?
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a b K Overclocking
a b V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 2:53:38 AM

JOSHSKORN said:
Isn't there a flaw in the Z87 technology regarding sleep mode? Was it mentioned in the article? I didn't see it.
Did you read the Haswell review? All current boards are affected, no future boards will be, there's nothing to update here, and the flaw is virtually meaningless.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i7-4770k-haswe...

If you have one of the affected drives and can't be bothered to reconnect it when it goes offline, wait a couple weeks and buy a board from the new batch.

The differences between boards in today's review are overclocking, power consumption, and onboard features. None of those things will change with the new PCH batch, and firmware updates should improve both batches equally.



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June 4, 2013 3:36:09 AM

do these board suffer from the rumoured usb3 sleep issue? or are they the fixed B3 steppings ?
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June 4, 2013 3:38:30 AM

Hello,
Can you guys please test 6 SSD in Raid 0 on these mobos ? this is the only Advantage of upgrading to a Haswell over ivy/sandy bridge.
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a b K Overclocking
a c 246 V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 3:48:22 AM

sna said:
Hello,
Can you guys please test 6 SSD in Raid 0 on these mobos ? this is the only Advantage of upgrading to a Haswell over ivy/sandy bridge.


Haswell does have another pair of USB3.0 ports... I agree though, it's kind of disappointing.
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June 4, 2013 6:34:07 AM

I bought the MSI board. The features looked good to me for what I wanted. I was really looking at the ASRock boards until I found that they only have a 1 year warranty.

Edit: ASRock has a 3 year warranty as I see now. Still happy with my choice when looking around the interwebz and seeing how people seem to really like the MSI board.
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a b K Overclocking
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June 4, 2013 8:47:59 AM

ahh, the perfect review that I was looking for :) 
now only 2 things left to do:
1. wait a few months to wait for the C2-revision to proliforate so that I don't have weird USB3.0 annoyance
2. wait for a review on the high-end: z87 delux, sniper, M-power max, ROG extreme etc. just to see whether it's worth the price difference (at least to me )

UPDATE:
well, was hoping for slightly more out of MSI's gaming board, but it seems it can't fully satisfy the overclocker in me. still a damn nice board though. all in all it looks like once again ASUS and ASrock come out as the top players for this range. looking forward to seeing if a ROG Extreme is what I ultimately need/want :D 
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a b K Overclocking
a b V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 9:41:19 AM

Richland APUs were released and not a single article about it... Can you at least attempt to conceal the Intel bias on this site?
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a b K Overclocking
a c 82 V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 10:04:35 AM

sna said:
Can you guys please test 6 SSD in Raid 0 on these mobos ? this is the only Advantage of upgrading to a Haswell over ivy/sandy bridge.

Since Haswell uses the same DMI2.0 bus between the CPU and chipset, total IO performance is capped to ~2GB/s... the equivalent of 4x USB3 ports or 3x SATA3 or one x4 PCIe 2.0 device.

From what I read, the z77 and z87 chipsets are interchangeable - a motherboard manufacturer could pair z77 with Haswell or z87 with SB/IB if they wanted to. The main thing that prevented Intel from reusing LGA1155 is FIVR.
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June 4, 2013 10:32:36 AM

slomo4sho said:
Richland APUs were released and not a single article about it... Can you at least attempt to conceal the Intel bias on this site?

This is simply not true. Desktop Richland has not yet launched. Desktop Richland drops into FM2, just like Trinity. So, when it does launch, we can revisit the FM2 market to see if there's a reason for another round-up. In the meantime here's a round-up of motherboards that'll support Richland: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/socket-fm2-motherbo.... Hope you enjoy!
Chris
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a b K Overclocking
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June 4, 2013 10:53:28 AM

sna said:
Hello,
Can you guys please test 6 SSD in Raid 0 on these mobos ? this is the only Advantage of upgrading to a Haswell over ivy/sandy bridge.
Check InvalidError's valid answer, this is also mentioned in the article. 6-way RAID 0 might be useful for HDD's (I'd go RAID 10), but SSD's will simply overwhelm the DMI.

But most users (even in the enthusiast market) don't do that anyway. There are very few "storage enthusiasts" in the general "performance enthusiast" market. And for most of us, having more than two SATA 6Gb/s ports simply means our storage drives won't use up the SATA 6Gb/s port needed for our system drive.

I'd still like to see our storage guy add this controller to his next big article :) 
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a b K Overclocking
a c 148 V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 11:20:43 AM

I agree with BigMack70; the new CPUs offer meaningless differences in actual use, but the motherboards certainly do, especially with their additional SATA 6Gb/s ports.
It seems to me Asus teased something about a driver that would visually identify the location of sound sources on screen with [one of] their Z87 boards. Can you shed any light on this?
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a b K Overclocking
a b V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 11:26:41 AM

cangelini said:

This is simply not true. Desktop Richland has not yet launched. Desktop Richland drops into FM2, just like Trinity. So, when it does launch, we can revisit the FM2 market to see if there's a reason for another round-up. In the meantime here's a round-up of motherboards that'll support Richland: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/socket-fm2-motherbo.... Hope you enjoy!
Chris


I don't know who dropped the ball but the launch of Richland was today. It is available for sale on multiple retail sites including Newegg, Aria, and Microcenter.
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a b K Overclocking
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June 4, 2013 11:35:49 AM

slomo4sho said:
Richland APUs were released and not a single article about it... Can you at least attempt to conceal the Intel bias on this site?

I didn't answer this earlier because I'm not a CPU editor. But since you're going on about bias, listen up: This was a motherboard review. Your comment has nothing to do with the topic, unless you can show me a new chipset upon which I can justify a roundup. Otherwise, the motherboard roundup you're requesting was published 8 months ago...http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/socket-fm2-motherbo...

Now, if we can find a group of guys with a high interest in an FM2 update, that would create a market for the new motherboard article. Does anyone else want to chime in with their opinions on an FM2 update?
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a b K Overclocking
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June 4, 2013 12:05:52 PM

Crashman said:
I didn't answer this earlier because I'm not a CPU editor. But since you're going on about bias, listen up: This was a motherboard review. Your comment has nothing to do with the topic, unless you can show me a new chipset upon which I can justify a roundup. Otherwise, the motherboard roundup you're requesting was published 8 months ago...http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/socket-fm2-motherbo...

Now, if we can find a group of guys with a high interest in an FM2 update, that would create a market for the new motherboard article. Does anyone else want to chime in with their opinions on an FM2 update?


The comment wasn't geared specifically towards motherboards but a general observation of the obscenely biased reviews as of late. Sorry if you felt this to be a personal attack against you, your articles are generally a good read :) 
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a b K Overclocking
a b V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 1:52:00 PM

slomo4sho said:

The comment wasn't geared specifically towards motherboards but a general observation of the obscenely biased reviews as of late. Sorry if you felt this to be a personal attack against you, your articles are generally a good read :) 

I think everyone in commercial publishing has a little bit of a "majority bias", which in this case means "show the largest portion of readers what they want to see" But focusing even more narrowly on this response thread, tangential arguments simply clutter things up for me.
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June 4, 2013 4:42:41 PM

Nice to see ASRock keep their power consumption and temps in check ( IIRC, their last few boards seemed to run hotter and juicier than the others. ) Still wish they'd add more than 2 PWM fan headers to their boards.
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June 4, 2013 6:03:37 PM

Why dis asus choose gold? Now they look like those ugly ecs boards.
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a b K Overclocking
a c 148 V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 6:12:16 PM

I've always thought White and Gold looked a lot better for a high-tech product than Black and Red, but maybe that's because I'm a Georgia Tech alumnus, and Black and Red are the colors of that farmboy school in the northern part of the state.
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June 4, 2013 6:52:17 PM

I run an older QX6850 with a permanent 20% overclock (watercooled) and was holding off upgrading until Haswell was released. Given that the performance benefits of Haswell compared with Ivy seem to be minimal when it comes to gaming would I be simply better off buying a 3770K rather than a 4770K given that the prices on the older technology are some 10-20% lower than the newer stuff and the overclocking on Ivy may be better. All things considered what is best from a performance/dollar perspective taking into account overclocking. I would love to see an evaluation of this - it may actually show that the older technology is better!
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a b K Overclocking
a c 82 V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 8:08:50 PM

Crashman said:
would I be simply better off buying a 3770K rather than a 4770K given that the prices on the older technology are some 10-20% lower than the newer stuff and the overclocking on Ivy may be better.

IB may overclock a little better but you need to clock it ~300MHz faster than Haswell to beat Haswell's IPC improvements so in the end, you are almost choosing between four quarters and a dollar.

However, Haswell has AVX2 instructions and an IGP that is a fair bit faster than HD4000 for iGPGPU purposes if more software embraces OpenCL/DirectCompute for heavy-lifting.

The only thing I really don't like about desktop Haswell is how much more power it uses under load (10-30W depending on sample and motherboard) due to cascaded VRMs (MoBo + on-chip) and FIVR's somewhat low efficiency - only 82% based on Intel's whitepaper.
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a b K Overclocking
a c 246 V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 8:31:35 PM

Quote:
We tested six motherboards that claimed to be ready for your overclocking efforts, and included the five survivors in today’s review.


What's that about? It doesn't seem like a typo. What was the sixth board - I couldn't find any actual explanations. Did it fry? Should we be worried?
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a b K Overclocking
a b V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 8:45:46 PM

Someone Somewhere said:
Quote:
We tested six motherboards that claimed to be ready for your overclocking efforts, and included the five survivors in today’s review.


What's that about? It doesn't seem like a typo. What was the sixth board - I couldn't find any actual explanations. Did it fry? Should we be worried?

Probably. At least you know it wasn't any of the brands that participated, since the article was limited to one sample per brand :) 

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a b K Overclocking
a c 246 V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 9:00:35 PM

EVGA, Zotac, or Biostar are the only others I can think of; probably the latter.

Are you going to give us an explanation, or is it a "covered by NDA" type issue? Or are you waiting for a new one?
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a b K Overclocking
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June 4, 2013 9:43:34 PM

Someone Somewhere said:
EVGA, Zotac, or Biostar are the only others I can think of; probably the latter.

Are you going to give us an explanation, or is it a "covered by NDA" type issue? Or are you waiting for a new one?
Or it could be someone you'd never think of :p  Anyway, a new sample is on the way.

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a b K Overclocking
a c 246 V Motherboard
June 4, 2013 9:53:03 PM

Intel, Foxconn, Sapphire, DFI, Microsoft (just because), Corsair (who knows), Supermicro, Jetway, Tyan, and then probably a couple more.

Admittedly I got a couple of those from lists of current boards, but if they aren't in there it's someone new. Or even if they are.
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June 5, 2013 4:15:07 AM

I'm still using an overclocked i5-760. Apart from an increase in energy efficiency, I see no point in getting a new CPU for my next upgrade. Although I'd like someone to prove me wrong. Will the new generation reduce micro stutter or input lag, if I buy an i5-4570k at 3.2ghz, compared to my i5-760 OC'd to 3.6ghz?
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June 5, 2013 4:28:21 AM

When sub $190 motherboard reviewed? I want to build new rig with Haswell because my Wolfdale bottlenecking my gaming experience!
But should I delay buy Haswell component next few week? Because the Z87 has USB flaw when sleeping
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a b K Overclocking
a c 246 V Motherboard
June 5, 2013 5:00:36 AM

Very minor flaw - read up the thread. Pointless to base a decision on that.

Get a cheap H87/B85 MB if you don't intend to OC or CF/SLI, and at a guess something like a GA-Z87X-D3H if you do.
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June 5, 2013 5:21:05 AM

Someone Somewhere said:
Very minor flaw - read up the thread. Pointless to base a decision on that.

Get a cheap H87/B85 MB if you don't intend to OC or CF/SLI, and at a guess something like a GA-Z87X-D3H if you do.


Z87X-D3H are my favorite spot, but let's wait the review....
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a b K Overclocking
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June 5, 2013 8:24:01 AM

frenzyvanrafi said:
When sub $190 motherboard reviewed? I want to build new rig with Haswell because my Wolfdale bottlenecking my gaming experience!
But should I delay buy Haswell component next few week? Because the Z87 has USB flaw when sleeping


I forget where I read this, but intel intends to have a very minor revision to the chipset done by July. there won't be any distinguishing features as far as I know, but basically by the end of Junly or August the vast majority of boards on the market shoudn't have the USB 3.0 issue.
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a b K Overclocking
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June 5, 2013 8:49:58 AM

vmem said:
by the end of Junly or August the vast majority of boards on the market shoudn't have the USB 3.0 issue.

Intel could also track device state information on standby/resume from their driver to identify potentially stalled devices and stealthily reset the port they are plugged into to bring them back on if still attached without the user/OS noticing - spares the user the trouble or removing and re-inserting the device.
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June 5, 2013 2:06:32 PM

Thank you Thomas Soderstrom for including the DTS CONNECT information in there!
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June 5, 2013 8:37:07 PM

vmem said:
frenzyvanrafi said:
When sub $190 motherboard reviewed? I want to build new rig with Haswell because my Wolfdale bottlenecking my gaming experience!
But should I delay buy Haswell component next few week? Because the Z87 has USB flaw when sleeping


I forget where I read this, but intel intends to have a very minor revision to the chipset done by July. there won't be any distinguishing features as far as I know, but basically by the end of Junly or August the vast majority of boards on the market shoudn't have the USB 3.0 issue.


But I am actually never using sleep state because I am regret it when power outage happen, I use hibernate instead. I am frequently unplug the USB device when my system goes hibernate, turned off, or standby when I go out. Is it no problem for me to buy initial Haswell mobo?
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a b K Overclocking
a c 246 V Motherboard
June 5, 2013 9:09:48 PM

It's not a problem anyway - it's very rare. Believe hibernate is affected too, though I'm not sure.
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June 7, 2013 4:42:38 PM

Shouldn't socket 1150 prices be a bit cheaper due to the on-die VRM?
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a b K Overclocking
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June 7, 2013 5:39:47 PM

hixbot said:
Shouldn't socket 1150 prices be a bit cheaper due to the on-die VRM?
Well, let's see what the article says:
Quote:
Rather than split its input voltage across multiple rails externally, Intel's LGA 1150 uses a single input voltage and splits it via an internal voltage regulator. That would apparently allow motherboard manufacturers to simplify their PWM designs, but the firms still use a similar number of power phases to assure voltage stability across quickly-shifting loads.
The hardware is still there, it's just spitting out one voltage instead of two.

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a b K Overclocking
a c 82 V Motherboard
June 8, 2013 12:11:11 AM

Crashman said:
The hardware is still there, it's just spitting out one voltage instead of two.

It is also spitting out about half as much current and does not need so support a wide VID range or fast core voltages changes to accommodate SpeedStep.

This should make the VRM much easier to design and allow more efficient implementations.
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June 8, 2013 9:24:20 AM

Crashman said:
sna said:
Hello,
Can you guys please test 6 SSD in Raid 0 on these mobos ? this is the only Advantage of upgrading to a Haswell over ivy/sandy bridge.
Check InvalidError's valid answer, this is also mentioned in the article. 6-way RAID 0 might be useful for HDD's (I'd go RAID 10), but SSD's will simply overwhelm the DMI.

But most users (even in the enthusiast market) don't do that anyway. There are very few "storage enthusiasts" in the general "performance enthusiast" market. And for most of us, having more than two SATA 6Gb/s ports simply means our storage drives won't use up the SATA 6Gb/s port needed for our system drive.

I'd still like to see our storage guy add this controller to his next big article :) 



Thanks for the reply . The main advantage here is the TRIM support in Intel chipset. Stand alone SAS Raid cards do not give you TRIM . and they start at 200$ price point for entry level .

being able to Raid 0 6xSSD for cheap using lets say 6X64G SSD or 6x128G SSD in raid 0 is something no one can ignore ... it is the same price , why would I buy for example one 256 SSD while I can raid 4x64 in raid 0 ? and so on ...

I want to try out 6x128G Samsung 840 pro in Raid 0 ...

as for fail Rate , I dont really care , the Data will be backed up on the Mechanical Hard drive if they are important .
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June 8, 2013 9:34:04 AM

InvalidError said:
sna said:
Can you guys please test 6 SSD in Raid 0 on these mobos ? this is the only Advantage of upgrading to a Haswell over ivy/sandy bridge.

Since Haswell uses the same DMI2.0 bus between the CPU and chipset, total IO performance is capped to ~2GB/s... the equivalent of 4x USB3 ports or 3x SATA3 or one x4 PCIe 2.0 device.

From what I read, the z77 and z87 chipsets are interchangeable - a motherboard manufacturer could pair z77 with Haswell or z87 with SB/IB if they wanted to. The main thing that prevented Intel from reusing LGA1155 is FIVR.


lol , this is cheating us .. what you are saying that this chipset is fake ... that is , If I connect 4 USB3 SSD drives there will be no bandwidth left for the Sata Drives lol ...

this is not REAL then ... they are "Shared"



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a b K Overclocking
a c 82 V Motherboard
June 8, 2013 10:59:17 AM

sna said:
lol , this is cheating us .. what you are saying that this chipset is fake ... that is , If I connect 4 USB3 SSD drives there will be no bandwidth left for the Sata Drives lol ...

The DMI bottleneck is well-known documented. DMI is not intended for IO-intensive server-like tasks and very few desktop PC users will ever notice it through everyday use - almost no desktop users have RAID0/1/5/10 setups and even fewer of them ever need to read/write over 2GB/s. More bandwidth does mean more pins and/or more power so they can't buff it just for the heck of it and to please the 1-3% of people who MIGHT notice.

This may change with the next iteration of SATA and SSDs for it. By that time though, Intel will probably have integrated the IO Hub into the CPU and that should effectively eliminate the bottleneck.
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June 9, 2013 7:08:09 AM

InvalidError said:
sna said:
lol , this is cheating us .. what you are saying that this chipset is fake ... that is , If I connect 4 USB3 SSD drives there will be no bandwidth left for the Sata Drives lol ...

The DMI bottleneck is well-known documented. DMI is not intended for IO-intensive server-like tasks and very few desktop PC users will ever notice it through everyday use - almost no desktop users have RAID0/1/5/10 setups and even fewer of them ever need to read/write over 2GB/s. More bandwidth does mean more pins and/or more power so they can't buff it just for the heck of it and to please the 1-3% of people who MIGHT notice.

This may change with the next iteration of SATA and SSDs for it. By that time though, Intel will probably have integrated the IO Hub into the CPU and that should effectively eliminate the bottleneck.


and why do they take that route anyway , they have PCIe 3.0 now , 4 lanes will give you 4G/s ... and I really dont think missing 4 lanes will be noticed at all .

And you are mistaken , even Notebooks are using Raid 0 in SSD today consuming 1G/s of bandwidth ... add a 2.5 SSD to it thats 1.5G/s

and we are talking about notebooks here ...

The desktop ? I allways used Raid 5 Raptors on my desktops .. I dont know where do you get your info that no one is using raid on their desktops... almost every one I know had Raid5 Raptors 10k rpm drives 10 years ago .. and they were the same price of today 256G SSD so nothing has changed really.

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a b K Overclocking
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June 9, 2013 8:05:07 AM

sna said:
And you are mistaken , even Notebooks are using Raid 0 in SSD today consuming 1G/s of bandwidth ... add a 2.5 SSD to it thats 1.5G/s

The desktop ? I allways used Raid 5 Raptors on my desktops .. I dont know where do you get your info that no one is using raid on their desktops... almost every one I know had Raid5 Raptors 10k rpm drives 10 years ago

Humm, lol.

Practically no laptops on the market (maybe 1% of models out there) even have the ability to stuff two internal drives and the majority of people do not even know what RAID is.
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