The release of the Fourth generation of Intel CPUs on the Haswell microarchitecture means it is once again time for motherboard manufacturers to release new models. Given the chipset is hot off the press, the number of available models is limited compared to the total number that manufacturers have announced their intent to produce. We will take a quick look at some of the features of the Z87 chipset and a few motherboards that are currently available.
What’s New on the Z87?
The most important reason to jump up to one of the best Z87 motherboards is to accommodate the new Intel Haswell CPUs. The Z87 chipset, socket Lga1150 takes on the same high performance role as the Z77 motherboards did for the LGA1155 socket. Other changes are mostly on the utility side, such as the increase in the number of USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s ports. The PCIe 3.0 lanes are identical to the Z77, though the legacy basic PCI slot has been removed entirely. Nothing here should be horribly new, so we will jump right into peeking at the motherboards.
The Deluxe line from Asus is slated towards those who want maximum performance, sacrificing non of the extra features that other top of the line manufacturers feature. There is enough here to be considered a more than quality hi-end motherboard, including Wi-Fi and BlueTooth connectivity, 4-Way SLI/CrossFire support, and 4-Way Optimization for your shiny new Haswell CPU.
MSI Z87 GD65 Gaming
The Taiwanese company Micro-Star International recently came out with a line of boards tailor made for gamers, and they have released a new product in that line on the Z87 chipset. You will get a number of overclocking tools, great audio, military grade hardware that can handle the higher temperatures of overclocking, and a Gigabit LAN connection. The Luciv Virtu MVP 2.0 software also has neat tricks like Virtual VSync that helps prevent tearing with less impact on your FPS. Oh, and there is a dragon on it, and who doesn’t love dragons?
So micro enthusiasts do not feel left out, we have a micro ATX board from Gigabyte. As you would expect, you still get most of the performance of the full sized ATX and E-ATX boards with some features left out due to space. You only get two way SLI/CrossFire, but you likely will not want to use more than a single GPU given the more compact space of builds that use the smaller motherboard.
Asus Sabertooth Z87
The second offering from Asus is from the more performance-oriented Sabertooth line. You still get almost every feature of the Z87 Pro, plus a few nice extras like enhanced BIOS and overclocking tools, as well as better thermal design and enhancements to keep things cool while you push one the new hardware to its limits. It is the most expensive board on the list, but the quality of the manufacturer and features make it the ATX board to buy if price is no concern.
The UD3H is a board that is built to last and excel. Gigabyte is known for putting the best components made from the best materials into their electronics, ranging from durable gold plated connections to high efficiency heat sinks. Gigabyte is also offering the UD3H in a complete bundle that will get you going with a Haswell based PC, including a tower, an i5-4670K CPU, a decent helping of RAM, a SSD, and a TB SATA hard disk drive.
And More Z87 Motherboards to Come
This is just a small sampling of the dozens of Z87′s that will be released in the coming months. As more are released, you can expect the competition to stiffen, and we will be there to pick them apart. Stay tuned.