Closer Look: ASUS Z87I-Deluxe
The Z87I-Deluxe is a mini-ITX motherboard. This means that it’s limited to 170mm by 170mm (6.7″ square) in size. This is just wide enough for a standard I/O panel and one slot, and just long enough to squeeze in two DIMM slots. In other words, there’s not a lot of space on a mini-ITX motherboard. Simply finding board real estate for all the connectors is a real problem.
Compared to its full ATX sibling (in this case, the Z87-Deluxe Dual), the Z87I-Deluxe looks positively Lilliputian.
The small box means fewer accessories: clockwise from the left, you get a manual, a driver and utilities disk, four latching SATA cables, a modified version of ASUS’ Q Connector for the front panel header, an I/O shield, and the new integrated 802.11ac/BlueTooth 4.0 antenna.
The limited space on a min-ITX motherboard forces some components to be placed on the back. I have used some mini-ITX motherboards where components around the CPU socket baseplate interfered with the installation of back plates for third party coolers. Fortunately this isn’t the case here: the back of the board around the CPU area is clean and free of obstructions.
The Z87 chipset supports 6 SATA 6G ports natively, and ASUS makes sure you’ve got them all. The front panel header is to the left of the lowest two ports; just to the left of the front panel header is a vertical row of four (tiny) POST status LEDs.
The included antenna integrates both 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0, replacing the two “stick” antennas ASUS used on previous motherboards. The integrated design of this antenna makes it easier to position, especially in an HTPC setting.
Let’s take a closer look at the some of the hardware details of this board in the next section.