GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Motherboard Review
CPU Cooler Fit and Included Accessories
CPU Cooler Fit
To test the amount of space surrounding the CPU socket, we mounted the Noctua NH-D14 cooler to the CPU socket. This behemoth CPU air cooler sports a dual fan construction and two huge vertical cooling towers.
Oriented with the fans blowing air towards the rear panel of the case, GIGABYTE designed the Z87X-OC Force's CPU socket area with more than enough room for the cooler. None of the slots surrounding the cooler where affected, including use of the primary or secondary PCI-Express x16 slots. However, you will need to seat your memory modules prior to using such a large cooler.
From the right side view, none of the VRM heat sinks or the memory modules are impeded by the cooler including those with larger heat spreaders. If you do choose to populate all four DIMM slots, you might be better off using memory with lower profile spreader though. You may have a hard time using the water barb to the right of the socket, but chances are you will not be water cooling the VRMs if you are air cooling the CPU.
The Noctua CPU cooler has one of the larger mounting mechanism, making it a good test of the space surrounding the CPU socket. The mounting mechanism is in no way impeded by the proximity of the heat sinks surrounding the CPU nor by the low profile black capacitors.
GIGABYTE includes only the bare minimum needed to get the board functional.
GIGABYTE includes multiple manuals and install CDs with the Z87X-OC Force containing information for the motherboard and including 802.11n Wi-Fi card. The motherboard manual contains sufficient information to get the board up and running, but is not as detailed on the more esoteric areas of the board and BIOS. With such a feature-rich high-end board, you expect the motherboard manual to detail out everything.
The rear panel shield is a flat black color with color-coded port holes for the PS/2, USB 3.0, and analog audio ports for easy identification.
GIGABYTE included a total of six 6Gb/s rated SATA cables for use with the integrated port. The cables have integrated port locks and a mix of straight and 90 degree connectors.
For multi-GPU use, GIGABYTE includes two-way, three-way, and four-way NVIDIA SLI cables as well as a single two-way AMD CrossFire cable.
GIGABYTE includes their OC Brace for extra support when using multiple video cards on a test bench (open-air) type system. The brace screws directly into the board surface offering addition support to the cards for better seating and PCI-Express slot contact. The cards screw directly into the brace similar in nature to the slot brackets in normal PC enclosure. Gigabyte includes screws for attaching to the motherboard as well as thumbscrews for securing the cards to the bracket.
Also included is a 3.5 inch front panel bracket containing two USB 3.0 ports.
A total of eight voltage measuring cables are included for direct board voltage measurement. Note that each cable has integrated positive and negative leads used to attached to a multi-meter.
For attaching to wireless and Bluetooth-based networks, GIGABYTE included a PCI-Express x1 card with an Atheros based PCIe module and dual antenna ports. includes their redesigned dual-plug antennae. The included cable is used to attach to the one of the onboard USB 2.0 headers to help power the module and for additional monitoring functionality. The antenna screws directly into the provided ports on the PCIe card and can be swiveled in a 180 degree arc for optimal signal reception.