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GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Motherboard Second Look Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Overview and Technical Specifications

What is the Second Look Review

The Second Look Review is used to take a more in-depth look at boards here at PC Perspective. In the initial review, we try to give you an overview of the board, forming an impression of how the board will perform in your system. The initial review details out the board features and layout, BIOS features, and stock performance. The Second Look review attempts to pull back the covers, exposing a more complete picture of the board's performance limits.

In this review, we cover subsystem testing including drive, networking, and audio functionality, as well as overclocking. Additionally, the board components and heat sinks are stripped down to uncover lower level board functionality and design. By the end of the Second Look review, a complete picture of board performance coalesces into an adequate picture for award determination. This award determination takes into account the board performance tested over the course of both the initial and second look reviews.

Be sure to take a look at our first review of this product for a better overall view of the layout and features as well.

Overview and Feature Recap

Features

Courtesy of GIGABYTE

  • Supports 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processors
  • GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 5 Plus Technology
  • All IR Digital Power design
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™
  • Exclusive GIGABYTE OC Features
  • Unique OC Touch Feature
  • Unique OC Ignition Feature
  • Unique OC Brace Feature
  • Gold plated DDR/PCIe Slots and power connectors
  • 4-way Graphics Support
  • Durable black solid capacitors
  • GIGABYTE On/Off Charge™ 2 for USB devices
  • Dual Intel® LAN with high ESD Protection
  • Extreme Heat sink design with 9 system fan connectors
  • Realtek ALC898 with High Quality 110dB SNR HD audio
  • GIGABYTE Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi Card

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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 this next generation board to even greater performance heights. 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.

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

 

August 14, 2013 | 03:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I bet those little fans will go before the board...are they easily sourced ?
I prefer to just have big case fans turning slow as possible.

August 14, 2013 | 03:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Does having "ultra durable" being plastered on it actually mean anything ?

August 14, 2013 | 08:54 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Ultra Durable is just the GIGABYTE branding for the power circuitry and PCB design used.  They're current iteration is dubbed Ultra Durable 5....

August 14, 2013 | 03:33 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

For that price it should come with a real audio card...sheesh.

August 16, 2013 | 07:56 PM - Posted by Panta

I think you know im a Huge PcPer Fan.
i used to watch live when i could staying until 5-6AM not to miss when i could, and your reviews are industry FACTS.

I also admit to you, that when ever i reach this part in a review "we would like to thank our friends at XYZ"
it bugs me.

it shouldn't I know, & i know
readers interest is in your mind first & Co-operations last.(as it should)

This days PCper is significant and important enough to the hardware world so you don't have to display this public symbolic bow down in thank to the conglomerate.
(it should be the opposite, as you market what they sell)

i would wish PCper to consider the option to Omit that small yet Symbolic enough line.

i know its really not what is important
but Symbolism has its powers..

your fan
Panta

October 26, 2013 | 03:39 PM - Posted by klepp0906 (not verified)

Not sure how many samples you have tested. However in regard to the disapproval regarding the BIOS assisted overclocks assigned voltages being off, I not only think the opposite (they are literally SPOT ON) but have hard data to back that up.

I have experienced with my own cpu, and read posts time and time again... where people have cited being able to increase voltages by xx and get stable up to 4.6, however anything past 4.6 takes HUGE jumps and some cant get stable past 4.6 no matter what.

I personally use the board you reviewed (which is why I was here) but wish I had waited for the next round of 1150 chips to launch as haswell isn't all it cracked up to be imo.

to get stable at 4.6 It takes me 1.28 (which is considered above average, and not too far off from your 1.20-1.25 however that I would consider FAR above average) and for 4.7 it takes me an additional .15v to get stable. HUGE jump. 1.43v to be exact. Now my temps don't even hit 70c via IBT at that voltage (water) and the bios assigned 1.4v with the 4.7 auto overclock setting that you cited as having too high of a voltage, wouldn't even have me stable.

Before tossing tossing that out there as fact and deter'ing a bunch of people.... see the numbers it takes a few cpu's to make those last few jumps. Depending on cooling it may not even be possible (god forbid the people that wont or cant delid, haswell is complete garbage then. Atleast on an enthusiast level). Or atleast read around, and remember until there is a hard-line agreement on what is "stable" you have the people with a brain that realize most people assume/use Prime95 and that by calling their pc/numbers stable via whatever other benchmark they decide only harms others and the community as a whole.

that is all.

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