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ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Dual LGA1150 Intel Motherboard Review

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Motherboard Testing Methodology

After a few years of testing motherboards, I’ve noticed that motherboards based on the same chipset tend to have very similar performance. This wasn’t always the case, but now that the memory controller’s in the processor, and the PCI-E lanes are in the chipset, it’s not surprising that everyone’s “Y22″ chipset motherboard performs pretty much alike…at stock settings, anyway. Haswell collapses the field even further by moving voltage regulation circuitry onto the CPU. Say goodbye to those exotic 24-phase CPU power supplies of yore…

So testing motherboards, unlike testing CPUs or video cards, is more about examining the proprietary features that make one different from another, as well as testing a board’s overclocking ability, especially if it’s marketed to the enthusiast community.

I tested the ASUS Z87-Deluxe Dual board with a Core i7-4770K CPU at both stock and overclocked speeds. For the stock clocks, I used the memory’s XMP profile. For the overclock, I used the auto overclocking features provided by the TPU switch on the motherboard. This motherboard is the first ASUS motherboard I’ve seen where the TPU switch has two settings, flagged by green (setting 1) and yellow (setting 2) LEDs.

asus_z87_deluxe_dual_tpu_states

Obviously what the TPU settings are will depend on your CPU. For my Core i7-4770K, the settings were:

TPU1: Strap 100, 43x multiplier for 1 or 2 cores, 42x for three cores, and 41x for four cores. XMP profile selected for memory. Load-line calibration and power phase both set to “Extreme”.

TPU2: Strap 125, multiplier 34x for 4.250GHz on all cores. Power settings the same as with TPU1, but the memory was run at its default 1333MHz due to the strap change.

I also included results from the highest manual overclock I could achieve, which as I know from experience with this processor is a strap of 100 and a 45x multiplier on all cores. I included the benchmark results from the stock-clocked MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX motherboard with the same CPU, memory, video card, and disk for comparison.

Test System

  • Motherboard: ASUS Z87-Deluxe Dual with BIOS 1305
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K “Haswell” CPU
  • System Memory: 8G (2x4G) DDR3-1600 at 9-9-9-24 timings
  • Video Card: AMD Radeon HD6850
  • CPU Cooler: Thermalright Silver Arrow
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Benchmark Applications

  • AIDA64 v3.00.2500
  • SPECViewPerf 11
  • x264HD 5.0

I’ll start with synthetic benchmarks in the next section.


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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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