Intel Motherboard Final Thoughts
At the beginning of this year, Intel announced that it will be ramping down its motherboard production, ceasing it entirely sometime around the transition to the Broadwell, the 14nm successor to Haswell.
What’s making this possible is the way Intel has been moving more and more functionality onto the CPU and the Platform Controller Hub (i.e. the Z87 chipset). Building all required functionality into the CPU and PCH makes it much easier for third parties to design boards with all features most people need. These two chips now provide multiple PCI-E lanes, six SATA 6G ports, and USB, Ethernet, and other ports without requiring a single slice of third party silicon.
Of course, there’s still plenty of room for vendors to distinguish their own offerings, and Intel is no exception, adding an expensive PLX multiplexer, PCI-E to PCI bridge, an mSATA connector, and other features to this board. These features aim this board squarely at the enthusiast community, and like most Intel boards, it will likely be a paragon of reliability. My only real complaint is some of the complexity and quirks of the BIOS (like those zero voltage readings), which will hopefully be addressed at some point. But the BIOS I have now (Intel sent me their latest unreleased BIOS when I had problems with the board as delivered) is later than the latest version on Intel’s support page for this motherboard, so I have to assume the retails boards have these same problems.
Intel DZ87KLT-75K Conclusion
Enthusiasts don’t typically look at Intel motherboards, but maybe they should. Although it’s expensive at about $260 (Amazon|Newegg), the DZ87KLT-75K is competitive with enthusiast-level boards at this price point from third party vendors, and inclusions like the PLX multiplexer make it a good board for those who want the maximum performance out of an SLI or CrossFireX system, with some PCI-E lanes left over.
Sometimes it’s hard to figure Intel out. I’ve never seen an advertisement for an Intel motherboard, so it would seem that they’re not aiming at the enthusiast or individual system builder, until you look at this board, which is obviously aimed at them.
+ POST code progress and power phase LEDs
+ mSATA connector and POST code display
+ If you still need a PCI slot, this is one of the few LGA1150 boards that has one.
+ 3-year warranty beats most of the competition
– No automatic overclocking function
– No included utilities (may be in retail box)
– No wireless features
COMMENT QUESTION: Which motherboard manufacturer do you prefer most?