ASUS Z87-A Intel Z87 Haswell motherboard Review with Intel Core i7-4770 processor

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ASUS Z87-A motherboard with Intel Core i7-4770 Processor
1 Jun 2013

A few weeks ago, we did a preview of the upcoming motherboards that support the 4th generation Intel processors. Today, we will take a look at one of the motherboards – the ASUS Z87-A motherboard.

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The Z87-A motherboard is a mid range board that most users would consider unless you want to pay extra for what are offered on the TUF and Gaming series boards. Being a mainstream board does have it’s plus points. The board provides the adequate functionalities, no more no less and should not burn a hole in your pocket.

Ok, so what is the deal with the new processor. Well Intel’s 4th generation  Haswell uses the 22nm fabrication process for it’s processor. This makes it even cooler and require lesser voltage level to power. This also means that for the overclockers, it is easier to achieve higher clock speeds with the K series processors.

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As you are probably aware the K series are multiplier and BCLK (base clock) unlocked, thus you can achieve higher multiplier and BCLK together with boot strap setting to achieve higher overclock. (the non-K is limited in both these areas).

The Z87-A supports the new generation processors with the Socket LGA1150. Just like the predecessor, the memory and graphics controller are all built into the chip itself. The Intel Z87 chipset powers the processor and external peripherals.

The board supports 4 DIMMs of up to DDR3-2800(OC) in a dual memory channel architecture. It can also support XMP profiles for easy configuration.

ON board  are two PCIe 3.0 x16 sots which operates in single X16 mode or dual X8 mode. The third PCIe 2.0 slot works in x2 mode.  The 2 PCIe 3.0 (2×8) slots supports both Quad SLI and Quad CrossFire.

As for the integrated graphics,  the processor we have comes with a intel HD 4600 graphics. It supports multi display output including HDMI/DVI/D SUB/DisplayPort. It supports 4K resolution on HDMI DVi and RGB at HD resolution. It also support Intel Intr 3D, intel Quick Sync Video,  Clear Video HD and Insider.

On board are 6 SATA 6.0Gbps ports supported by the chipset. It supports Raid 0,1,5,10 and IRST. The on board LAN uses a Realtek 8111GR chipset with ASUS remote Go! Utility. The audio is supported by Realtek ALC892 8 channel HDA Codec. It supports DTS UltraPC II, DTS connect etc.

External connectors on board include 2 USb 3.0 at mid board for front panel support, 4 USB 3.0 at rear panel and 8 USB 2.0 (6 on board, 2 rear).

Other than Intel standard specifications, ASUS also added their own features on this board. They include DIGI+VRM, an 8 phase power design. EPU switch for power savings, TPU for auto tuning, Fan Xper2 , Remote GO! (Remote Go includes Cloud GO!, DLNA media Hub, Remote Desktop, File Transfer). Some other features include network iControl, USB 3.0 Boost, Disk Unlocked, AI Suite 3, Anti Surge, MemOk.

The new UEFI BIOS is also redesigned for easy registration of changes made to the settings and there is a favourites for direct access to a particular option of the BIOS.

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  • Lenk

    Running the graphics test at 1024×768 it was just to show how powerfull is the CPU.
    In my opinion the good way would be to run all graphics test at hd resolution at 1280×800,
    like in Unigine Heaven. Small resolution with reduced detail is no struggle for a nowadays decent gpu. This CPU-GPU pair from Intel supposed to be one of the first one with “GPU”. And the benchmark just simply missed this point. Make the vga work hard, yes also for the amd counterpart. Let we see what they can do if we go over the word/excel/powerpoint type of works. 100 fps is useless in excel.

    • http://www.ocworkbench.com bluetooth

      Thanks for your response. Regarding Heaven Demo, it is tested in Basic mode which runs 1280×720 to test the internal graphics. Likewise we use the same method to test the AMD APUs e.g. A10-5800K

  • Mike

    You ask why performance dropped with overclocking? One word: Throttling. Haswell gets very hot, you need excellent cooling if you don’t want throttling during OC!

    • http://www.ocworkbench.com bluetooth

      You may be right but temperatures were ok. You don’t really need excellent cooling with this processor as 4.1GHz is really nothing compared to the 4770K running 4.7GHz on AIR.
      If you look at it, when the BCLK is raised, the other clks like DMI are also affected. In fact, at certain CLK levels>100mhz, the DMI drops below 90Mhz. Don’t forget we applied a ratio to the graphics core. If graphics core is set to default, it might not have affected the processor’s performance.

  • GG

    Why even bother to test the 4770 along side with a i5 3570K.. not really any use since the 3570K is last gen and it is one model down at that too. more appropriate would be to use the i7 3770K as a point of reference for the 4770 as this will give a better review to if Haswell made any significant performance improvements in either processing power, energy savings,and video performance. Between the 3770K and 4770/k it seems more of a video improvement… at least on paper

    • http://www.ocworkbench.com bluetooth

      Sometimes it just happens that you don’t have the processor on hand. You are right the improvement is more on the video and power.