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ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Dual LGA1150 Intel Motherboard Review

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ASUS Mainstream Motherboard Final Thoughts

As Intel moves more and more capabilities onto its CPUs and chipsets, vendors must differentiate their products with other features. ASUS has several broad lines of motherboards: the TUF series trade on their mil-spec components and 5-year warranties, while the Republic of Gamers boards are aimed at overclockers and hardware hackers. Building a workstation? ASUS’ WS Series boards have you covered.

The mainstream boards are for everyone else, and they come in varieties ranging from rather basic to the Deluxe versions such as this Z87-Deluxe Dual. With features ranging from the subtle but very useful in some cases (the PLX chip that allows for three- or four-way video card setups) to the more obvious (10 SATA 6G ports and onboard WiFi and BlueTooth), there’s something here for everyone.

asus_z87_deluxe_dual_rot3_antenna

Honestly, this board pretty much nails the ATX form-factor sweet spot for me: it’s got the enthusiast-level features like a 4-digit POST code display, onboard power and reset buttons, and a PLX chip. It has what I consider the perfect ATX slot layout. There are more than enough fan connectors, and they’re all four-pin PWM versions, and Fan Xpert 2 will ensure that you can use them all effectively. For the future, there’s two Thunderbolt ports.

I only missed two things on this board:

  • An eSata port on the I/O panel (there were probably no lanes free what with the 10 SATA ports otherwise on the board, and you can work around this by a prudent case choice anyway)
  • A tri-SLI bridge. This omission seems odd since these are normally included with capable motherboards and I don’t really know where you’d find one otherwise.

Z87-Deluxe Dual Conclusion

I have to admit it: in the past, when I’ve spent my own money for motherboards, I’ve gravitated to the ROG series. But I’ve never really needed them; I just thought they looked cool with the red and black color scheme and I liked the “Yeah, I’ve got a seriously bad mobo” thing.

But this board has more features and utility for most folks. If you don’t have a tank of LN2 in your garage, you might as well go with this board, even if you’re a serious overclocker and gamer. With the limitations of the Haswell CPUs, you’re not going to get better overclocking without going to exotic cooling, and most people will find the WiFi GO! features more useful than the temperature probe connectors on a Maximus VI Extreme.

Performance of the board was excellent, and I’m not just talking about the (CPU limited) performance. The Auto Tuning feature in the 4-Way Optimization portion of AI Suite provided a tailored overclock very close to what I was able to achieve with an hour of hand-tweaking. This makes maximum performance easily accessible to anyone. This is a big deal: buy a “K” series CPU, and some high-performance memory and a good CPU cooler. Install everything and press a button. A few minutes later, you’ve very, very close to the theoretical maximum performance of your components.

Unless you have a windowed case, you probably don’t care what your motherboard looks like. But if you do, the black and gold Z87-Deluxe Dual will make a good impression.

As with all ASUS motherboards, the construction quality was excellent. Electrostatic discharge protection, 5K caps, and other features should make this board very reliable in the field.

Functionality is just dripping off this board. The only criticism I have here is of the NFC Express box, which seems to have been pushed onto the market before it was really ready. I just don’t see what use most people will be able to make of it…other than a USB 3.0 hub.

Available online for $337.99 (Amazon | Newegg), this is a pretty expensive motherboard. This is a lot of money but it pays for features like NFC Express, dual Thunderbolt ports, and the PLX chip. If you don’t need these features, ASUS has less expensive options such as the Z87-Deluxe and Z87 Expert.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

+ Best auto-overclocking I’ve ever seen.
+ PLX chip. Yes, some times you just need a lot of GPUs
+ “4-Way Optimization” really works!
+ Excellent fan control
+ POST code display, onboard Power and Reset
+ Flash your munged BIOS without a CPU or RAM
+ Someday, I expect to really appreciate the Thunderbolt ports

Cons:

- NFC Express not ready for prime time; only works under Win 8; disables WiFi GO!
– No tri-SLI bridge

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.75
  • Appearance: 9.00
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.75
  • Value: 8.50

Final Score: 9.3 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: Who makes the best motherboards, in your opinion?

NewEgg.com

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3 comments

  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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