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Four Z87 Express Motherboards For Three- And Four-Way SLI

Power, Heat, And Efficiency

Packed with add-on SATA controllers, USB hubs, and a heafty PEX 8747 PCIe bridge, we expected all of these boards to consume more power than those reviewed in our mini-ITX round-up. From a competitive standpoint, the Z87X-UD7 TH’s high idle energy use is a little disconcerting.

MSI’s huge voltage regulator runs coolly under the low load of a non-overclocked CPU. Lower CPU temperatures may also be the result of smoother current that can come from all those extra phases.

A couple pages into the benchmarks, I anticipated that Gigabyte’s lower synthetic memory score would have little to no effect on its overall performance. Indeed, it’s dead center of a very tight pack. However, poor idle power consumption triggers a loss in this efficiency comparison.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.