Z87 rules the PC enthusiast market by exposing the Haswell architecture's full feature set. We're particularly interested in mini-ITX-based platforms able to integrate Z87 in a compact form factor. Five boards contend for supremacy of compact computing.
Gigabyte’s APP Center resides under the Windows task bar, popping up when selected to reveal a scrolling menu. The image below shows these menu items pasted side-by-side for a quicker view, and the applet links a variety of handy applications such as USB Blocker for port security and Live Update to poll Gigabyte’s server for new drivers.
Gigabyte @BIOS allows firmware updates within windows, polls from Gigabyte’s server, and includes its “Face Wizard” boot image modification application.
Gigabyte’s EZ Setup provides a simple interface for the functions of Intel’s SATA controller.
Smart Recovery 2 provides file backup and system recovery functions.
Gigabyte Smart TimeLock gives PC owners additional user management options, as described on its info page.
The company's EasyTune hasn’t changed significantly since our previous verbose description, but its tuning options are still governed by each motherboard model's feature set. We find the full range of clock, multiplier, and voltage controls repeated from firmware into this easy Windows-based interface:
Automatic overclocking is also an option, with both pre-defined overclocking profiles and an overclocking algorithm at your fingertips. The top profile (OC Extreme) increases the CPU frequency range to 3.7 through 4.5 GHz, depending on the number of cores in use, at 1.30 volts.
Gigabyte’s Auto Tuning algorithm managed to get our CPU stable at 4.40 GHz with all of its cores loaded. The voltage level for this somewhat-impressive O/C was on the high side at 1.475 V unfortunately, causing near-instant thermal throttling from our Haswell-based Core i7.
- The Mini-ITX Market Is Small, But Growing...
- ASRock Z87E-ITX
- Z87E-ITX Software
- Z87E-ITX Firmware
- Asus Z87I-Deluxe
- Z87I-Deluxe Software
- Z87I-Deluxe Firmware
- EVGA Z87 Stinger
- Z87 Stinger Software
- Z87 Stinger Firmware
- Gigabyte Z87N-WiFi
- Z87N-WiFi Software
- Z87N-WiFi Firmware
- MSI Z87I
- Z87I Software
- Z87I Firmware
- Test Hardware And Benchmark Settings
- Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Results: Adobe Creative Suite
- Results: Productivity
- Results: File Compression
- Energy, Heat, And Efficiency
- Which Mini-ITX Motherboard Would We Buy For Haswell?