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