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ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Dual LGA1150 Intel Motherboard Review

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Z87-Deluxe Dual Details

There’s been a “component quality war” going on in the motherboard field for some time now. ASUS has equipped the Deluxe Dual with 5,000-hour solid capacitors as part of their “5x Protection”, which comprises DRAM overcurrent protection, precise power control via Digi+ VRM, enhanced electrostatic discharge protection, stainless steel housings for the rear I/O ports, and the aforementioned 5K caps.

asus_z87_deluxe_dual_5k_caps

The ASUS LGA1150 motherboard uses a number of third-party and custom chips to implement its features, some of which are shown below. Clockwise from the top left, we have the ASMedia ASM1074 USB 3.0 hub controller, a Nuvoton 6791D for fan control and voltage monitoring, a PLX 8608 8-lane PCI Express switch, a Winbond BIOS chip, ASUS’ own TPU controller, and last an Intel DSL4510 Thunderbolt controller.

ASUS Z87-Deluxe Dual chips

The Z87-Deluxe Dual provides the full ATX complement of seven slots: three PCI-E x16 and four PCI-E x1. The yellow x16 slot provides the full sixteen PCI-E lanes with a single video card, but splits into an x8-x8 configuration with two cards. The image shows the PLX chip just below the third x1 slot; it’s what enables a 8x/4x/4x configuration with three video cards. Don’t worry about 4x lanes holding you back– these are PCI-E 3.0 lanes, remember.

asus_z87_deluxe_dual_pcie_slots

Looking at the lower left of the board, going from the left, we can see the SPDIF Out connector, just above the analog audio connector (should your case have front panel microphone/headphone ports). Next are the onboard Reset and Power switches, followed by the Trusted Platform Module connector and the four-digit POST code display.

asus_z87_deluxe_dual_lower_left

Past the POST code display, there’s the Clear CMOS button (which I would really prefer to have on the rear I/O panel), two USB 2.0 headers, the DirectKey button (pressing this button when the system is off will turn it on and go directly into the BIOS), a chassis fan connector, and the front panel header. Above the front panel header are the TPU and EPU switches. On previous ASUS motherboards, the TPU switch has had only “on” and “off” positions, but now there are two “on” selections. Position 1 performs a mild multiplier overclock (assuming you have a “K” series CPU) while position two also tries a BCLK overclock. I’m not sure how effective the latter will be, but we’ll find out in the testing portion.

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The Mem OK button is becoming a standard feature. If you render your system unbootable with a memory overclock, pressing this button will instantly reset the stock memory timings.

asus_z87_deluxe_dual_mem_ok

The CPU socket area is clear of obstructions and the heat sinks for the voltage regulator modules shouldn’t cause clearance problems for any heat sink. Under the heat sinks we can see the chokes for the 16-phase CPU power circuits.

asus_z87_deluxe_dual_cpu_area

Of course, these days it’s not all about the hardware– there’s the BIOS and utility software too!


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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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