Page 1:Haswell: Is Now The Best Time To Build?
Page 2:ASRock Z87 Extreme6
Page 3:Z87 Extreme6 Firmware
Page 4:Z87 Extreme6 Tuning Software
Page 5:Z87 Extreme6 Applications
Page 6:Asus Z87-Pro
Page 7:Z87-Pro Firmware
Page 8:Z87-Pro Tuning Software
Page 9:Z87-Pro Applications
Page 10:ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme
Page 11:Z87H3-A2X Extreme Firmware
Page 12:Z87H3-A2X Extreme Tuning Software
Page 13:Z87H3-A2X Extreme Applications
Page 14:Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H
Page 15:Z87X-UD4H Firmware
Page 16:Z87X-UD4H Tuning Software
Page 17:Z87X-UD4H Applications
Page 18:MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming
Page 19:Z87-GD65 Gaming Firmware
Page 20:Z87-GD65 Gaming Tuning Software
Page 21:Z87-GD65 Gaming Applications
Page 22:Test Settings And Benchmarks
Page 23:Results: 3DMark And PCMark
Page 24:Results: SiSoftware Sandra
Page 25:Results: Audio And Video Encoding
Page 26:Results: Adobe Creative Suite
Page 27:Results: Productivity
Page 28:Results: File Compression
Page 29:Power, Heat, And Efficiency
Page 31:Picking Our First Z87-Based Winner
ASRock Z87 Extreme6
ASRock surprises Z87 Extreme6 buyers with dual network controllers and dual HDMI ports, in addition to DVI-I and DisplayPort. ASRock takes its network controllers upscale with Intel’s chipset-driven I217V PHY and PCIe-based I211AT parts, bringing with them Intel’s full set of management features and renowned response times.
The extra HDMI connector is neither an output nor a full-featured input, but instead a pass-through that can add a second device to a PC's single-port display. Though we liked this monitor-retasking feature in an all-in-one PC, its value on a motherboard that doesn’t have a dedicated display is less apparent.
Ten SATA ports that line the front panel are all SATA 6Gb/s-capable, including the four driven by a pair of PCIe x1 controllers. That interface limits those ports to 5.0 Gb/s per pair, and one of the ports must be left unoccupied to keep eSATA operational.
Placing four of the chipset’s USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel, ASRock adds a USB 3.0 hub to expand its front panel from single to twin dual-port headers. The four-port hub occupies only one of the chipset’s remaining two ports, so ASRock breaks the remaining port out as an internally-mounted external header. Think “USB drive on the motherboard”—with shades of first-generation ReadyBoost devices—but using the far-faster USB 3.0 interface. We have a few fast ones in mind that you'll see rounded-up in the next couple of days.
ASRock connects all three of its x16-length slots to the CPU’s PCIe 3.0 controller, dynamically changing between x16-x0-x0, x8-x8-x0, and x8-x4-x4 modes when cards are added. PCIe 3.0 mode offers twice the bandwidth of PCIe 2.0, circumventing our former criticism of four-lane graphics slots. The configuration also avoids the need to disable x1 slots or devices when adding a third card, though builders who prefer to put a slower device there might prefer not to share its bandwidth with graphics.
ASRock also dodges any complaint about blocked-off x1 slots beneath the main graphics card by instead putting a Mini PCIe slot there. Nearly any combination of graphics card and notebook-sized expansion card should fit simultaneously.
Power and reset buttons at the bottom-front corner assist bench testers like us, though these lose their usefulness once you button up your system's chassis. A dual-BIOS switch above those buttons makes it easy to get running after making a bad O/C setting, and the two ROMs above it are replaceable just in case you make a catastrophic mistake. A two-digit LED status display helps overclockers figure out which component they’ve pushed too far.
The engineers over at ASRock do a good job with this platform's layout, though a perfect design would require more space around the connectors. Caveats include a secondary USB 3.0 front-panel connector below the lowest graphics card slot that can’t be used when you have a graphics card installed, the internally-mounted external USB 3.0 port that likely suffers the same issue when installing long graphics cards, and a front-panel audio header that, by being located in the extreme bottom-rear corner, is unreachable by too-short cables that come with some cases. If you think that last problem is limited to old or cheap models, read all three parts of our recent 11-way case round-up.
The Z87 Extreme6 includes six SATA cables, an SLI bridge, and ASRock’s famous USB 3.0-to-3.5” bay adapter with integrated 2.5” SSD adapter tray.
- Haswell: Is Now The Best Time To Build?
- ASRock Z87 Extreme6
- Z87 Extreme6 Firmware
- Z87 Extreme6 Tuning Software
- Z87 Extreme6 Applications
- Asus Z87-Pro
- Z87-Pro Firmware
- Z87-Pro Tuning Software
- Z87-Pro Applications
- ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme
- Z87H3-A2X Extreme Firmware
- Z87H3-A2X Extreme Tuning Software
- Z87H3-A2X Extreme Applications
- Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H
- Z87X-UD4H Firmware
- Z87X-UD4H Tuning Software
- Z87X-UD4H Applications
- MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming
- Z87-GD65 Gaming Firmware
- Z87-GD65 Gaming Tuning Software
- Z87-GD65 Gaming Applications
- Test Settings And Benchmarks
- Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Results: Adobe Creative Suite
- Results: Productivity
- Results: File Compression
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- Picking Our First Z87-Based Winner