Tom's Hardware's Reader's Choice Awards 2013

Motherboards

ASRock Z87 Extreme 4 (Smart Buy)
From the article: Fast And Cheap? Five Sub-$160 Z87 Motherboards For Enthusiasts, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, August 13, 2013

Here's what we said: We don't like giving out awards based on temporary discounts since our logo shows up on packaging long after prices go back up, and moving forward, we're taking steps that should prevent any vendor from playing pricing games. Until the next round-up, though, it'd be impossible for us to deny that ASRock's Z87 Extreme4 is an impressive buy for the amount of hardware you get at $140. In this case, you, the reader, win. ASRock earns recognition parallel to Biostar as a result.

ASRock Z87 Extreme6 (Smart Buy)
From the article: Five Z87 Motherboards Under $220, Reviewed, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, June 3, 2013

Here's what we said: Hours before we published this article, ASRock’s Z87 Extreme6 price dropped to $170. Though a $185 [Gigabyte] Z87X-UD4H might have taken the value award ahead of a $190 Z87 Extreme6, ASRock’s price drop probably would have forced us to issue a matching award for both the Z87 Extreme6 and the [Gigabyte] Z87X-UD4H. We don't issue or retract awards retroactively though, so that point is now moot. Regardless, whether Gigabyte's attractive price at Micro Center is long-lived or a more recent development, the board now gets our recommendation as a top-value overclocking alternative.

ASRock Z87E-ITX (Approved)
From the article: Five Z87 Motherboards For Your Mini-ITX Build, Reviewed, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, November 24, 2013

Here's what we said: The flexibility of eSATA and mSATA connectors on ASRock's Z87E-ITX truly does make it difficult to crown another board unquestionably superior. So, competing closely for top-value and top-features, many of us would rightly consider the ASRock platform as a stunning offering as well. The only award we have left to bestow on the Z87E-ITX is Tom's Hardware Approved, which is recognition from our editor of a job well done.

Asus M5A99FX Pro R2.0 (Smart Buy)
From the article: Three AMD 990FX-Based Motherboards For Enthusiasts, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, April 1, 2013

Here's what we said: Gigabyte has the benefit of FireWire ports, which most users no longer need. Asus has the benefit of USB BIOS Flashback, which isn't needed very often either, but is a real lifesaver when you figure out an update is necessary to support that new processor you just bought. Asus bundles a better application suite to complement a longer list of exclusive features. Then again, we think Asus needs those extras to justify the M5A99FX Pro R2.0’s $5 premium over the Gigabyte board. The company succeeds in this. And, with overall value balanced, we cast our vote in favor of the better overclocker.

Asus Maximus VI Formula (Tom's Hardware Elite)
From the article: Z87 Hits The High End: Four Sub-$300 Motherboards, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, October 1, 2013

Here's what we said: Discounts that helped ASRock throughout the summer have now expired. In a battle for feature supremacy, Asus' on-board extras are worth a little more. Without a big price difference to distract us from the value of those bundled value-adds, the Maximus VI Formula earns our rarest and most prestigious Tom's Hardware Elite award.

Asus Z871-Deluxe (Tom's Hardware Elite)
From the article: Five Z87 Motherboards For Your Mini-ITX Build, Reviewed, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, November 24, 2013

Here's what we said: The Z87I-Deluxe’s beefier power circuitry costs more than ASRock’s alternative sneakily-placed SATA connector, and probably justifies its $30 price difference. Then again, Asus would tell us that the hardware needed to enable its USB BIOS Flashback feature is also worth a chunk of that difference, even if most of us won't have occasion to use it. The Z87E-ITX comes out on top of a practical features-to-price comparison, while Asus’s more-expensive extras finish first in a cost-versus-price analysis.

When Tom's Hardware looks to crown a product the best in a category, however, price gets limited weighting. Asus' features are probably more valuable than ASRock’s, even though we're asked to pay more for them. Nevertheless, the Asus Z871-Deluxe receives our coveted Tom's Hardware Elite award.

Asus Z87 Plus (Approved)
From the article: Fast And Cheap? Five Sub-$160 Z87 Motherboards For Enthusiasts, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, August 13, 2013

Here's what we said: This isn't to take away anything from the two boards still selling around $160: Asus' Z87-Plus and Gigabyte's Z87X-UD3H. We suspect both are truly worth more than the price at which they're selling, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend either to an enthusiast able to put their feature sets to good use. So, in an unprecedented move for us, we're acknowledging both platforms with Tom's Hardware Approved recognition.

Asus Z87 Pro (Approved)
From the article: Five Z87 Motherboards Under $220, Reviewed, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, June 3, 2013

Here's what we said: The Asus Z87 Pro roughly matches ASRock’s apparent feature value by adding a fairly good Wi-Fi and Bluetooth solution. Higher stability, quality components like 5,000-hour-rated capacitors, and less conspicuous features (such as its USB BIOS Flashback IC) probably make up for its $20 price premium. We’re not afraid of radical price shifts from Asus; the company's prices usually go down following a launch. And those factors come together, making it easy for us to give the most stable motherboard in this round-up our stamp of approval.

Biostar Hi-Fi Z87X 3D (Smart Buy)
From the article: Fast And Cheap? Five Sub-$160 Z87 Motherboards For Enthusiasts, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, August 13, 2013

Here's what we said: Biostar's Hi-Fi Z87X 3D is at the top. On the 5th, it was also the cheapest board in our round-up. And yet it hung in there with the rest of the pack in terms of overclocking. This platform is light on value-added extras; however, it handles the basics well. As such, it rose to the surface as the original pick for our Smart Buy award. This is a Tom's Hardware recognition that explicitly calls out bang for your buck, and it's well-deserved.

Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3 (Approved)
From the article: Three AMD 990FX-Based Motherboards For Enthusiasts, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, April 1, 2013

Here's what we said: We know that some of those same purists will object, pointing out that they won't install any of Asus' value-added software anyway, will do their research before buying a processor that might not be supported out of the box, and don't plan on using extraordinarily fast DDR3 memory. They'll tell us they're better off saving $5, keeping FireWire connectivity, or adding an expansion card to its extra single-lane PCI Express slot. Because those enthusiasts have their own specific needs, they already know they're right. Our next award is proof that $5 saved is $5 earned, and recognition that Gigabyte's 990FXA-UD3 is still a solid, well-priced product that does its job well.

Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H (Approved)
From the article: Fast And Cheap? Five Sub-$160 Z87 Motherboards For Enthusiasts, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, August 13, 2013

Here's what we said: This isn't to take away anything from the two boards still selling around $160: Asus' Z87-Plus and Gigabyte's Z87X-UD3H. We suspect both are truly worth more than the price at which they're selling, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend either to an enthusiast able to put their feature sets to good use. So, in an unprecedented move for us, we're acknowledging both platforms with Tom's Hardware Approved recognition.

Gigabyte Z87N-WiFi (Smart Buy)
From the article: Five Z87 Motherboards For Your Mini-ITX Build, Reviewed, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, November 24, 2013

Here's what we said: Gigabyte and MSI present significantly similar platforms, which offer features and faults that largely mirror each other. Naturally, they sell for almost identical prices, too. The Z87N-WiFi had a tough time pushing memory data rates beyond 2400 MT/s, while the Z87I was over 50 MHz down on CPU core over clocking. Recent memory tests indicate that CPU core frequency is the more important variable, though anyone who disagrees will want to see these motherboards achieve a value tie. Our Smart Buy recognition doesn't have to be exclusive in a round-up, so they both receive our recognition.

MSI Z871 (Smart Buy)
From the article: Five Z87 Motherboards For Your Mini-ITX Build, Reviewed, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, November 24, 2013

Here's what we said: Gigabyte and MSI present significantly similar platforms, which offer features and faults that largely mirror each other. Naturally, they sell for almost identical prices, too. The Z87N-WiFi had a tough time pushing memory data rates beyond 2400 MT/s, while the Z87I was over 50 MHz down on CPU core over clocking. Recent memory tests indicate that CPU core frequency is the more important variable, though anyone who disagrees will want to see these motherboards achieve a value tie. Our Smart Buy recognition doesn't have to be exclusive in a round-up, so they both receive our recognition.

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29 comments
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  • Conrad925
    On the ballot/entry form, the PowerColor HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition is listed twice.
    2
  • lunyone
    "On the ballot/entry form, the PowerColor HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition is listed twice."

    Sooo your supposed to vote twice, right? Lol! I noticed that too. I guess when copy/pasting that it got pasted twice :)
    2
  • rolli59
    Lol It was a great Card on release so definitely a winner. You guys don't get the hint?
    2
  • zichus
    Don't get it - outside US residents should vote or will the answer discarded anyways? I just want to vote, but if its useless then why bother?

    7. I am a legal resident of the USA (excluding RI) and 18 years of age or older. *This question is required.
    Yes
    No, Your Entry Will Be Discarded
    1
  • Mike Friesen
    This is good.
    -1
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    You kinda excluded the Nanoxia Deep Silence 2... If I have some spare cash for myself this year I'm getting it as a Christmas present To Me, Love Me. :-)
    0
  • ubercake
    Another article by which the Tom's models could enhance the look and feel of the hunks of plastic and metal.
    -2
  • Cryio
    I can't wait 'till the next Browser Grand Prix. Let's see what damage does IE11 do against Opera 18, Firefox's crumbling engine and Chrome's staleness
    0
  • Avro Arrow
    As is usual, sweepstakes for Americans only. I guess the rest of us just don't count as far as tomsharware is concerned. I haven't seen a single contest that included anyone outside the USA the whole time I've been here.
    0
  • ubercake
    Anonymous said:
    As is usual, sweepstakes for Americans only. I guess the rest of us just don't count as far as tomsharware is concerned. I haven't seen a single contest that included anyone outside the USA the whole time I've been here.


    Hooray for Canadians!
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/virgin-mobile-nexus-5-canada-sweepstakes,25240.html

    I'm sure there are legal and tax restrictions for these things.
    2
  • SessouXFX
    Does Tom's need a good editor? Calling the Corsair 900D a 800D, should be a punishable offense. Maybe being forced to cook one's food over AMD's R9 290X for a month would suffice?
    1
  • ssalim
    Why is voting only limited to US residents? That's stupid imo.
    2
  • lothdk
    On page 7, is there a typo for Corsair Obsidian?
    You write 800D but do you actually mean 900D?
    1
  • Sid Jeong
    They STILL recommend gtx 770? Just why?
    1
  • bemused_fred
    Anonymous said:
    I can't wait 'till the next Browser Grand Prix. Let's see what damage does IE11 do against Opera 18, Firefox's crumbling engine and Chrome's staleness


    Ballmer, have you nothing better to do with your retirement?
    3
  • FritzEiv
    <"On the ballot/entry form, the PowerColor HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition is listed twice.">
    Fixed. Thank you for catching this.

    <"On page 7, is there a typo for Corsair Obsidian? You write 800D but do you actually mean 900D?"> Thanks for that catch, too. Fixed on the context and in the article.

    re: U.S. only. We spell out why in the article, page 1. We regret this too, but we don't have much choice legally. However, we have modified the form to explain that non-U.S. residents can still vote . . . we just can't enter you into the contest.
    2
  • Stevemeister
    "Why is voting only limited to US residents? That's stupid imo".

    Voting is not limited to US residents - just the prize awards . . . for ZIP code use 90210 if you are outside the US because as usual the ZIP code field is only set up to accept US Zip codes
    0
  • ipwn3r456
    Uhh, no tablets, smartphones, and laptops?
    1
  • Free2play_noobs
    one question, Why Gigabyte G1 Sniper 5 in not on the list ?:s
    0
  • Niko_boy
    7870 and GTX 770
    Firefox!
    0