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.
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.
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.