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GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force is the flagship board in GIGABYTE's LGA1150 line of boards. GIGABYTE used the previous generation flagship board, the Z77X-UP7, as a template and improved the design to take the new build to even greater performance heights. In addition to the fan-cooled and optionally water-cooled heat pipe, the board includes the latest iteration of GIGABYTE's power system, dubbed Ultra Durable 5 Plus. For a flagship board, performance and craftsmanship comes at a premium. For $419.99, the Z87-OC Force is a sound investment.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE designed the Z87X-OC Force with an impressive 16-phase digital power delivery system, powered by International Rectifier (IR) manufactured PowIRstage™ ICs and PWM controllers. GIGABYTE integrated a plethora of features into the Z87X-OC Force including: 10 SATA 6Gb/s ports; dual Intel GigE NICs; five PCI-Express x16 slots for up to quad-card support; two PCI-Express x1 slots; onboard power, reset, BIOS reset, pre-power (OC Ignition), base clock up/down, CPU ratio up/down, OC Tag, OC Gear, and OC Turbo buttons; dual BIOS, BIOS select, PCIe port, and LN2 switches; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; integrated voltage measurement points; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force motherboard!

Technical Specifications (taken from the GIGABYTE website)

CPU Support

1.Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/ Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1150 package
2.L3 cache varies with CPU
(Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.)

Chipset

1.Intel® Z87 Express Chipset

Memory

1.4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
* Due to a Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than the size of the physical memory installed.
2.Dual channel memory architecture
3.Support for DDR3 3000(O.C.)/2933(O.C.)/1600/1333 MHz memory modules
4.Support for non-ECC memory modules
5.Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
(Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)

Onboard Graphics

Integrated Graphics Processor:
1.2 x HDMI ports, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160
* Support for HDMI 1.4a version.
2.1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 3840x2160
* Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version.
3.Maximum shared memory of 1 GB

Audio

1.Realtek® ALC898 codec
2.High Definition Audio
3.2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
4.Support for S/PDIF In
5.Support for S/PDIF Out

LAN

1.2 x Intel® GbE LAN chips (10/100/1000 Mbit)
2.Support for Teaming

Wireless Communication module

1.Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
2.Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0+HS, 2.1+EDR

Expansion Slots

1.3 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1~3)
* For optimum performance, if only one expansion card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16_2 slot.

2.2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1~2)
* The PCIEX8_1 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16_1 slot and the PCIEX8_2 slot with PCIEX16_3. The PCIEX16_1/PCIEX16_3 slot will operate at up to x8 mode when the PCIEX8_1/PCIEX8_2 is populated.
(The PCIEX16 and PCIEX8 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
* The PCIEX16_2 slot will become unavailable when an expansion card is installed in the orange PCI Express x16 slot.

3.2 x PCI Express x1 slots
(The PCI Express x1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)

Multi-Graphics Technology

1.Support for 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire™/NVIDIA® SLI™ technology

Storage Interface

Chipset:
1.6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5) supporting up to 6 SATA 6Gb/s devices
2.Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10

Marvell® 88SE9230 chip:
1.4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3 6~9) supporting up to 4 SATA 6Gb/s devices
2.Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10

USB Chipset

Chipset:
1.Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (available through the internal USB header)
2.Up to 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)

Chipset + 2 Renesas® uPD720210 USB 3.0 Hubs:
1.Up to 8 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (6 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)

Internal I/O Connectors

1.1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
2.1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
3.1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
4.1 x PCIe power connector
5.10 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
6.1 x CPU fan header
7.1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
8.7 x system fan headers
9.2 x heatsink fan connectors
10.1 x front panel header
11.1 x front panel audio header
12.1 x S/PDIF Out header
13.1 x S/PDIF In header
14.2 x USB 3.0/2.0 headers
15.2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
16.1 x serial port header
17.1 x Clear CMOS jumper
18.1 x power button
19.1 x reset button
20.1 x Clear CMOS button
21.1 x Gear button
22.1 x OC Turbo button
23.1 x OC Tag button
24.1 x OC Trigger switch
25.1 x OC Ignition button
26.1 x OC PCIe switch
27.1 x CPU BCLK Down button
28.1 x CPU BCLK Up button
29.1 x CPU Ratio Down button
30.1 x CPU Ratio Up button
31.1 x onboard voltage measurement module
32.2 x BIOS switches

Back Panel Connectors

1.1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
2.1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
3.2 x HDMI ports
4.1 x DisplayPort
5.6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
6.2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
7.2 x RJ-45 ports
8.6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)

I/O Controller

1.iTE I/O Controller Chip

H/W Monitor

1.System voltage detection
2.CPU/System/Chipset temperature detection
3.CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed detection
4.CPU/System overheating warning
5.CPU/CPU OPT/System fan fail warning
6.CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed control
* Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the cooler you install.

BIOS

1.2 x 128 Mbit flash
2.Use of licensed AMI EFI BIOS
3.Support for DualBIOS™
4.PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0

Unique Features

1.Support for Q-Flash
2.Support for Xpress Install
3.Support for APP Center
* Available applications in APP Center may differ by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also differ depending on motherboard specifications.
  • @BIOS
  • EasyTune
  • EZ Setup
  • ON/OFF Charge2
  • USB Blocker

Bundle Software

1.Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
2.Intel® Rapid Start Technology
3.Intel® Smart Connect Technology
4.Intel® Smart Response Technology
5.cFosSpeed

Operating System

1.Support for Windows 8/7

Form Factor

1.E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 26.4cm

 

July 19, 2013 | 12:38 PM - Posted by Captain Homey (not verified)

My current build is a Gigabyte GA800GA board with AMD Rhenom 6 core processor and 4 x 4gb g-skil DDR5 rip jaw memory and 2GB Radeon graphics card. Theres 10 x 2TB Caviar Green as well as
8 External HDD's making a total of 38 Terabytes.
This runs through built in Ceiling speakers fed from a Technics Class AA Amplifier..... a 42 inch Panachronic Monitor as well as 2x Hanns-G HH251 25 inch monitors (really BAD monitors compared to the smaller 21" Acer's they replaced as the ancient non HD Acer are FAR superior in every way but screen size even after ten years of use).

I intend to get a huge case.. probably the Caselabs MAGNUM M8 Case as my space is height critical and the Lian Li monster is just too tall

what I'm trying to find out is the absolute BEST motherboards for huge archives of Audio Visual and Photoshop creations etc... Best CPU and Mem and so on

I know this will cost in excess of £2000 as the build above I managed all for £1500 (bar the big Panasonic screen)

I intend to max out the case with something between 15 and 20 4TB Caviar Blacks

I have no interest...or ever will in high end gaming....
my limit is the old space invaders and table top games you used to see in pubs lol

Nor have I any intention of elaborate looking dust trap chassis... hence the clean lined monster mentioned above

any ideas or further input will be gratefully received as I really am a total novice and it was more LUCK on first build attempt

This build absolutely MUST not cut corners on tech in so much as I wont be updating software for some YEARS after this kind of outlay (if all that makes sense)

I'm lost with all tech pointing to high gaming etc.... unless someone can confirm or deny for MY purposes I should be looking for the same spec despite main use as mass entertainment archive heavy webby use and photoshop work

July 19, 2013 | 12:39 PM - Posted by Captain Homey (not verified)

I meant GA-880 motherboard not 800

July 19, 2013 | 01:47 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

If you're looking for high-end performance, you *might* want to consider an X79 based board.  However, that would require the use of an LGA2011-based CPU which are a bit more expensive than their 1150 or 1155 counterparts.  X79 does have the benefit of quad-channel DRAM support though, which may be useful if you are doing intensive photo and graphics manipulation jobs and rendering.

Don't get me wrong, the LGA1150 adn LGA1155 systems are good, but they are memory limited to a maximum of 32MB and support dual-channel mode.

July 19, 2013 | 05:01 PM - Posted by Captain Homey (not verified)

Thanks Morry

To be clear once again.... I'm not limiting the costings
for example if the BEST x79 is vastly superior to the AMD Phenom six core (maxed with 4x4gb 16gb memory) I'm currently running then they are the prices I simply MUST start from

I'm definately intending on a "double sized" case like those mentioned... clean lines and will FILL itwith 4TB drives
(But only when the manufacturers reverse their rip off price controlling... might be a long wait lol) most likely in the region of 20 x 4TB drives perhaps even the 5TB that are due for end of year release... if I'm lucky they may bring on the 6tb at the same time rather than delay them for another year.

From my novices position I KNOW I need maximum sata ports on the board (minimum of ten as opposed to the normal 8)
As with my current build boards to beadded to increase the number...
Graphics cards perhaps two so the pci slots need to be spaced and again best suited to utilise all I need so I can FIT the card adapter to give the extra sata's
I'll use a minimum of 1000/1200 PSU

But I'm after as much advice as poss from you skilled peeps in the know!

July 26, 2013 | 09:11 AM - Posted by meganerd

I am not sure exactly what you mean by "best". With OpenCL support in a lot of the more recent content creation apps the line between a "gaming" rig and a media production rig is blurring.

Based on your description, either a LGA2011 or LGA 1150/1155 will smoke your AMD 6 core. If you need more than 32 GiB of RAM (or 2 CPU sockets), then LGA 2011 is the answer.

I would not worry too much about the number of SATA ports on a given mother board when you can buy cards like these: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816118127

I would also separate out the storage of media from the production computer. Personally I would use a higher end Synology for the storage, and then build a high end PC to do the actual work on.

My current setup is 19 hard drives stuffed into my "old" Core i7 920 as a storage server, with the media creation/manipulation (mostly multi-track audio, some blender for 3d) on a high end LGA1155 based PC. I will be replacing the i7 920 with a synology within the next year.

Hth,

July 26, 2013 | 04:56 PM - Posted by Captain Homey (not verified)

Awesome info Hth

I'm not doing editing (perhaps one day tho)

imagine a 24/7 media usage plus web and photoshop on the smaller 27-32" screens

My current set up likes to hang occasionally when I'm viewing a movie and shifting from archive to archive (as I'm constantly having to rearrange to keep some sort of order with my 32 Terrible bitties of audio and video files etc.

so from THAT info I don't want to throw money on boards that will offer 100 abilities that I'd simply NEVER use
But on the other hand I DO want to erradicate (as much as possible) the occasional hang up when multitasking.

Thanks once again for the positive feedback ...

it's going a LONG WAY toward enlightening me as to what I actually need and what I don't

as well as what da hell I'm doing lol

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