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Five Z87 Motherboards For Your Mini-ITX Build, Reviewed

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a b V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
November 24, 2013 10:03:35 PM

Here is another MSI ITX board

November 24, 2013 10:05:17 PM

Why would one pay extra for ASUS's power delivery if it didn't yield any additional OC/DRAM stability? In the end, ASRock features & cheaper price should be a better option here.
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a b V Motherboard
November 24, 2013 10:34:33 PM

lp231 said:
Here is another MSI ITX board

Yes, they've sent one for another article. If the site did multiple items per manufacturer the article would take weeks to finish. That wouldn't be a problem if all Tom's Hardware did was motherboards :p 
PEJUman said:
Why would one pay extra for ASUS's power delivery if it didn't yield any additional OC/DRAM stability? In the end, ASRock features & cheaper price should be a better option here.
ASRock's cheaper features also made it a competitor with the cheaper boards for the value award. Since it competed well for both awards, it had to get a different award.

a c 108 V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
November 24, 2013 10:36:43 PM

While some may not like the layout, the Gigabyte and MSI layout should work well in some cases like the SG05 from SilverStone. The top mounted power and sata ports help keep wires out of the air flow path.

More room between the PCI-E and CPU LGA is nice on the Asus as are all the features.

I am still running an older H55n usb3 24/7 and it has been quite stable and cool and low on power consumption. Shame that this new gigabyte board has higher power and temperature levels.
November 24, 2013 10:37:53 PM

Since most of them has built in Wi-Fi. Will it be better to include a Wi-Fi test column?
a b V Motherboard
November 24, 2013 10:47:37 PM

xkm1948 said:
Since most of them has built in Wi-Fi. Will it be better to include a Wi-Fi test column?
We formerly had a controller reviewer, and I'd like to see someone take on this task again. A separate article on the controllers (with everything else identical) wouldn't tell you anything about the antennas included with different products, but antennas are cheaply replaceable.

November 24, 2013 11:08:27 PM

Is the Asus Z87 Pro the same as the Deluxe? Seems to be region specific but I can't find the difference. Help? I've just bought the Pro for myself as it is only slightly more than the MSI or Gigabyte options.
November 25, 2013 3:57:12 AM

I think that the Pro version comes with wifi-N instead of wifi-AC.
a b V Motherboard
November 25, 2013 5:08:12 AM

Let's just roll some dice and toss out some awards, eh? Couldn't help but laugh through the conclusion.

Overall it's good to see the roundup. Would have liked to see post times. With SSD storage, motherboard post times are now becoming the longer wait in a system boot up.

Also interested in thoughts on reasons for Z87 mobos for a standard non-overclocking build. For a non-overclocked gaming ITX PC, say with an I3 or low-end I5, are there any compelling reasons to pay the Z87 premium over, say an H81, which can run $100 cheaper?
a c 1034 V Motherboard
a c 276 Ĉ ASUS
November 25, 2013 7:10:48 AM

Nice review and boards, conclusion is all good buy's depending on what features you want except the EVGA.
a b V Motherboard
November 25, 2013 8:50:29 AM

From the article:
Quote:
A non K-series processor can still get a 9% overclock from Asus’ Z87I-Deluxe, in addition to the four 100 MHz bins of headroom available to those processors.


I thought Intel did away with allowing non-k processors to use the four 100 MHz bins with Haswell. It only applies to Sandy and Ivy. At least that was what has been reported:

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2013/06/14/haswel...
a c 108 V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
November 25, 2013 8:56:50 AM

lp231 said:
Here is another MSI ITX board
Spoiler

Now that looks interesting.

November 25, 2013 8:59:20 AM

You know I am told that in the west, they give an award to every kid in the kindergarten during an competition so no one feels left out.
November 25, 2013 11:00:09 AM

Add the cost of a LED fan to mask that color scheme of the Asus ;)  Of these, I'd go with the ASRock, but overall, I think I'd go AMD for this form factor.
November 25, 2013 11:23:18 AM

Quote:
The Z87E-ITX’s CPU interface is positioned to the far right, putting more space between the CPU cooler and graphics card. Placing it there forced ASRock to move its eight-pin EPS12V connector to the left of the CPU’s input voltage regulator, where it could be unreachable under mid-sized coolers. Builders may be forced to attach this cable before installing a wide, low profile cooler.


I don't see how this is even a consideration. How many people have the need to plug in the connector AFTER installing the cooler? Or for that matter, BEFORE removing the cooler? The only need to move this at all would be during a PSU swap, which is probably very infrequent for most.
a b V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
November 25, 2013 1:30:51 PM

unipablo said:
I think that the Pro version comes with wifi-N instead of wifi-AC.


nukemaster said:
lp231 said:
Here is another MSI ITX board
Spoiler

Now that looks interesting.




Yep that does look interesting.
Some other itx boards, not as cool as that MSI, but worth sharing.
http://www.asus.com/Commercial_Servers_Workstations/P9D...
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Q87T/
http://www.asrock.com/server/overview.asp?Model=E3C226D...
http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=...

Not ITX but worth sharing too
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/CSB/
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/VANGUARD_B85/



November 25, 2013 3:18:57 PM

I can't wait to see the new MSI Z87i GAMING mini-itx with the 760 ITX VGA for review!
November 25, 2013 5:00:22 PM

Really not that much difference in terms of overall performance between the boards so its a question of what features are most important to you - do you want to game or make a HTPC. For the gamers can we start to lobby Intel to go back to using solder for the thermal interface on their high end processors - most of us would pay the extra $5 or so it probably costs to do this versus using their current solution - then Asus's VR's would start to show some value.
a b V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
November 25, 2013 7:12:52 PM

unipablo said:
I think that the Pro version comes with wifi-N instead of wifi-AC.


Yep the Deluxe has Wifi AC and pro has Wifi N
November 25, 2013 7:52:18 PM

I'm just glad to see more ITX attention/information.
a b V Motherboard
November 26, 2013 3:40:37 AM

Christopher Shaffer said:
Quote:
The Z87E-ITX’s CPU interface is positioned to the far right, putting more space between the CPU cooler and graphics card. Placing it there forced ASRock to move its eight-pin EPS12V connector to the left of the CPU’s input voltage regulator, where it could be unreachable under mid-sized coolers. Builders may be forced to attach this cable before installing a wide, low profile cooler.


I don't see how this is even a consideration. How many people have the need to plug in the connector AFTER installing the cooler? Or for that matter, BEFORE removing the cooler? The only need to move this at all would be during a PSU swap, which is probably very infrequent for most.
So, you like assembling everything INCLUDING CABLES outside the case? Because many of these cases don't give you access beneath the board to install a cooler support plate, so you do end up installing the cooler before you put it into the case.

a b V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
November 29, 2013 4:43:23 AM

Very nice article and a good read. Was on the fence about getting an EVGA board for my client in this form factor until the review indicated EVGA haven't mopped up their spills since the Z77 stinger issue.

Thanks Thomas!
a b V Motherboard
November 29, 2013 5:52:50 AM

Lutfij said:
Very nice article and a good read. Was on the fence about getting an EVGA board for my client in this form factor until the review indicated EVGA haven't mopped up their spills since the Z77 stinger issue.

Thanks Thomas!
No major complaints, just waiting for the price to drop :) 

November 30, 2013 4:03:58 AM

When it comes to the boards with limited clearance for the CPU cooler, I can't recommend the Prolimatech Ultra Sleek Vortex 14 fans enough; I ordered one a while ago that finally arrived, and was a bit dubious that the specs were too good to be true, but it actually performs very close to what is promised; extremely quiet, great airflow and strong static pressure. I do think it isn't as quiet as they claim at the higher end of its speeds, but it's definitely quieter than many bulkier fans.

Although I'm using mine as a case fan (since nothing deeper would fit) I'm now seriously considering them for use on all future CPU coolers I get, as you can use them to fit larger heatsinks (with or without better clearance if you need it) without sacrificing performance. Or you could even use them with a dual-fan cooler to improve clearance, both to the CPU itself and in height.

In a well setup case such an arrangement can be pretty sweet; just add a big vent right over the cooler with the fans drawing heat straight out of it from the biggest heatsink you can fit (press the fans right up against the case if you have to, just don't forget some anti-vibration pads if you do). Then add intake vents all around the sides wherever you can, and you have a CPU cooler that's pretty much cooling the entire case.

Sorry that's a bit off-topic, but all I'm saying is that while some of the motherboards are mentioned as having restricted clearance, I've been finding the ultra sleek vortexes can negate that issue entirely. I'd like to see more slim fans like them to choose between, but even though they're currently the only choice they are *really* good. I'm planning to use them for pretty much everything for the foreseeable future ;) 
a b V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
November 30, 2013 12:01:49 PM

Haha, So you're seriously considering the EVGA board? I mean the board seems barren compared to the impact and furthermore EVGA skimped on the extras that you're getting on the lower priced boards.

Black Friday price drop? :D 

+ 1 to outside case installation. Usually the cases in this form factor warrants you to install most of the components outside case and then pop it straight into the chassis. In fact you may even need to attach your sata cables prior to mobo fitment for those with big hands.
December 2, 2013 6:57:10 PM

I bought the Gigabyte on Black Friday, the 4770K was $80 off. Running Linux, the combination always taints the kernel, because of missing VT-d support in the K processors, but the BIOS still has entries for the iommu in acpi database, and lists the address as zero. Linux doesn't like getting zero as a register address. I assume a non-K chip wouldn't have this problem, since it supports VT-d.
December 18, 2013 10:38:40 AM

It's starting to become apparent that EVGA is overpriced. Charge more for products with less features claiming they overclock higher. They simply don't. Even their first case is overpriced and lacks things like... PAINT.
a b V Motherboard
December 18, 2013 7:25:55 PM

I just looked at it. It's painted. I wish the idea of painting the inside of a case would go away, but it won't, because bad ideas stick better than aluminum or zinc plating.
!