Review Index:
Feedback

GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Conclusion

Performance

GIGABYTE did a great job in designing the Z87X-OC Force, as evident in its strong feature set and very competitive stock performance. Further, the board remained rock-solid stable throughout the entire test run.

Pricing

As of July 09, the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force was available at Newegg.com for $409.99. The board was also available from other retailers such as Amazon.com for $409.99 with Prime shipping and TigerDirect.com for $422.24.

View Full Size

Conclusion

Before continuing with our final thoughts on this board, we would like to take this opportunity to give our friends at GIGABYTE a hearty “Thank You” for giving us the opportunity and pleasure of reviewing the Z87X-OC Force motherboard. GIGABYTE took their award-winning Z77X-UP7 design and improved upon it. The board keeps the orange and black theme from the last generation flagship line, but adds a fully integrated heat pipe cooling all hot areas on the board. The heat pipe includes integrated fans as well as 3/8 inch integrated water barbs for the water cooling enthusiasts. Due to its E-ATX form factor, the Z87X-OC Force has more than enough room for all its add-on features without sacrificing on space in the critical areas around the CPU or PCI-Express slots. The board's performance is top-notch with no stability issues encountered at all in testing. The CMOS battery placement is interesting directly below the chipset heat sink and should remain accessible unless running in dual or more card mode with full length video cards.

The board did have a few issues to take note of, the most obvious being the mouse related performance issues encountered in the BIOS. At times, the mouse acceleration in the BIOS appeared to be disabled, making mouse use difficult at best. However, rebooting the system and reentry into the BIOS normally correctly the issue. The other issue was more of a design oddity. For a high-end board designed for both LN2 and water cooling enthusiasts, it was an odd choice to go with integrated barbs on the VRMs sinks. Users are locked in to using 3/8 inch inner diameter tubing with the integrated barbs, small for most enthusiast custom water-based builds. A more flexible solution would have been to allow the user to choose their barb size by integrating G1/4 ports instead of fixed barbs.

Strengths

  • Stock performance
  • CMOS battery placement - accessible under most conditions
  • Board layout and design
  • Accessible PCI-Express x1 slot with board used with single or dual video cards
  • UEFI BIOS design
  • Active and Water-based cooling options on board heat pipe cooler
  • 16 digital power phases just for the CPU
  • Dual Intel GigE NICs
  • BIOS HD resolution mode

Weaknesses

  • Non-removable water barbs
  • Use of 3/8" water barbs
  • BIOS mouse-related issues in Windows Mode
  • Lack of detail in manual on esoteric features
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

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.