ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Dual LGA1150 Intel Motherboard Review


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ASUS Motherboard Overclocking

As with many ASUS motherboards, there are a surfeit of overclocking mechanisms. Specifically, you can overclock by manually tweaking settings in the BIOS, by letting the BIOS do it for you with “OC Tuner”, by moving the TPU switch to position 1 or 2, and last by using 4-Way Optimization within AI Suite. Caveat: most of these overclocking adjustments are dependent on “K”-series Haswell CPUs. You won’t be able to overclock much, if at all, with non-“K” series devices.

If you’re the kind of reader that skips to the end of the book to see how things turned out, I’ll give you the manual overclocking results up front: the best I was able to do with a manual overclock was a multiplier of 45x on all cores, at 1.3 volts. This is the same maximum I’ve hit on virtually every Z87-based motherboard I’ve tried and it’s obviously a limit of my particular CPU, at least with air cooling. If you keep up with this sort of thing you’ll know that Ivy Bridge and Haswell silicon simply doesn’t overclock that well.


That said, I was very impressed by how well the various mechanisms ASUS provides actually did. Here are the actual settings made by moving the TPU switch to position 1 and position 2, as well as the more comprehensive changes made by ASUS’ 4-Way Optimization feature in AI Suite:

Strap 1 Core 2 Cores 3 Cores 4 Cores RAM
Stock 100MHz 39x 39x 39x 39x 1600MHz
TPU1 100MHz 43x 43x 42x 41x 1600MHz
TPU2 125MHz 34x 34x 34x 34x 1333MHz
Auto Tuning 100MHz 44x 44x 43x 43x 1600MHz
Manual OC 100MHz 45x 45x 45x 45x 1600MHz

Interestingly, both the TPU1 and Auto Tuning mechanism set different multipliers depending on the number of cores in use. I’m also very impressed by how well the Auto Tuning feature (invoked as part of 4-Way Optimizationworked. I didn’t include a benchmark run with this setting, but as you can see from the table above, its results would have come in just under those I achieved with manual overclocking.

I have never seen an auto overclocking mechanism come this close to the results I could achieve manually. Kudos to ASUS!


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  1. Nicely

    Thanks for your Excellent review
    I had read several reviews before buying, and was curious which Ethernet port was the Intel one.
    I just received my new ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad motherboard, and it has an “Intel” sticker that covers the top of the ethernet output port (the one closest to the BIOS feedback button), that states in three lines ” Intel Ethernet, Great Capability, GBit LAN”. Then by default, the Ethernet port next to the Analog port is the Realtek port !

  2. Dave

    I have recently purchased the ASUS Z87 and just read this excellent review.” I also purchased the Intel i7 4790 processor and question, how big of a deal is it not to have purchased the i7 4790K vs. the “boxed” version. I plan to use the PC for normal every day use and the occasional video editing. Should I really consider returning the i7 4790 for the “K” series? Finally, I am planning to puchase 16GB of RAM at 2133 Mhz.. Is this a smart move when the CPU supports only up to 1600 Mhz even though the motherboard will support much faster RAM?

    1. Olin Coles

      The Intel i7 4790K CPU comes unlocked from the factory at 4.4 GHz, while the i7 4790 is locked (not able to be overclocked) and runs at 4.0 GHz. Typically i7 4790K costs about $30 more than i7 4790. If you’re not overclocking, which is an enthusiast activity and doesn’t usually yield significant performance gains, there’s no reason the i7 4790 wouldn’t operate nearly the same as i7 4790K in day-to-day operations.

      As for the memory, the CPU can use RAM faster than 1600 MHz, but usually only if the clock settings are adjusted. With that much system memory you’re likely not utilizing more than 50% even under load, so data strobe cycles matter. Think of it this way: an instruction has to pass through all of the memory before returning to the processor. More memory equals a longer round-trip, but faster memory helps reduce the penalty.

      Personally, I would buy 8GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 and check the system resource monitor tool to see if more was really necessary. Oh- and use an SSD for the primary drive!

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