ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Dual LGA1150 Intel Motherboard Review


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NFC Express

NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and it’s a standard originally developed for smart phones and other mobile devices. The idea behind NFC is that devices must be very close– typically within a few inches– in order to communicate, and that the protocol doesn’t require logging in and in general is simpler to set up than WiFi. NFC can be used between two powered devices, such as your phone and a payment pad at a store, or between a single powered device and an unpowered device. Unpowered devices are called “tags”.

The ASUS Z87-Deluxe Dual comes with an NFC pad they call NFC Express, and one bright yellow tag you can put on your key ring. It’s in the form of a small plastic box that connects to the motherboard via one of the rear USB 3 ports– it also acts as a USB 3 hub with two additional ports on one edge.


ASUS only supplies Windows 8 drivers for he NFC Express, so you’re out of luck if you’re sticking with Windows 7. When the drivers are installed and the device is connected, AI Suite’s WiFi GO! icon is replaced with a new NFC Express icon. Clicking this icon opens a new NFC Express page that has four selections: Windows 8 Login, Quick Launch, Remote Desktop, and Photo Express.

Windows 8 Login lets you log into Windows 8 by tapping the yellow tag on the NFC Express box. Simply enter the account and password you want to log into, place the tag on the box, and click OK, and the tag is programmed. Subsequently you can log into Windows just by tapping the tag on the box.


With Quick Launch, you can configure profiles of applications and files, and save them to an NFC-enabled device or a tag. Touching the tag to the box will automatically open all the files you selected:


And that works fine, too. In fact, the same tag can be used both to log in and to launch applications. However, you’re limited to files that “Windows 8 knows about”; as best I can determine, you can’t select arbitrary *.exe files: you can only select things shown in the file selection dialog, and it doesn’t show much. Also, the system’s only good for launching files in the desktop environment: you can’t launch tiled apps, and if you touch the tag to the NFX Express box while in the interface formerly known as Metro, the apps will launch, but you’ll have to manually switch to desktop mode to see them.

I couldn’t test Remote Desktop and Photo Express since I don’t have an NFC-enabled phone or tablet. However, it seems to me that Remote Desktop over NFC would be of limited utility since the phone or tablet would have to be very close to the NFC box. Photo Express purports to automatically move photos from your NFC device to the computer, which is nice, but you have to have AI Suite open and set to the Photo Express page for this to work. Using File Transfer from WiFi GO! Remote seems easier, since you can do it from anywhere in your WiFi network range and don’t need to set up the receiving computer beforehand.

The trouble is, it seems as if you must choose one or the other: once I installed the NFC drivers, WiFi GO! vanished as an option in AI Suite, its icon replaced by NFC Express.

I’m sure the utility of NFC Express will continue to evolve, but right now I think WiFi GO! will be more useful for most people.


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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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