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GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Motherboard Second Look Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Power Consumption and Conclusion

Power Consumption

Power consumption numbers were measured using a Belkin power meter plugged in-line with the system PSU. For idle power consumption, the system was left idle for 15 minutes. System load numbers were taken with the system running in stock configuration using the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with FurMark over a half hour period. All tests were run three times with the lowest repeatable power consumption numbers recorded in Watt values.

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The Z87X-OC Force's power consumption numbers are in line with expectations, matching those of the other Intel Z87-based board. With the discrete graphics card removed from the system, the power consumption number drop dramatically.

Note that the power consumption numbers are consistent with what you would see using a medium to high-end video card with the board.

Performance

The board continues to impress with its astounding port performance numbers and overclocking potential. When looked at in conjunction with its stock benchmark performance, the Z87X-OC Force looks to be a force to be reckoned with. The previous review results can be found here.

Pricing

As of July 27, 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 $409.78 with Prime shipping and TigerDirect.com for $399.99.

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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 did an exceptional job in designing this board. The attention to detail is apparent in the layout and design of the integrated cooling solutions, as well as in the selection of the IR PowIRstage™ 60A-rated MOSFETs for powering the board. As shown in the previous review, the board's stock performance was almost unrivaled. Taking that into consideration along with its drive and LAN performance, as well as its overclocking potential, you have a stellar board that not only justifies its price-point, but would be a performance beast in anyone's system.

From the design perspective, one of the short-comings of the board was the lack of integration between the CPU VRM and Chipset cooling solutions. In testing, the CPU VRM cooler did not run hot using air or water cooling under any conditions, while the Chipset cooler remained very toasty even under stock conditions. This heat production from the Chipset cooler can be attributed heavily to the PCIe bridge chip. The integrated water channel in the CPU VRM cooler was a nice touch, but the design of the water channel could have been better optimized for heat absorption into the flowing medium. The one other oddity was the voltage presets enacted when attempting to using the BIOS automated overclocking features. However, the BIOS related settings can be easily fixed in a BIOS update or worked around by setting values manually.

Strengths

  • Stock performance
  • Overclocking potential
  • SATA port performance across all controllers
  • USB 3.0 device performance using both the Intel Z87 and Renesas controlled ports
  • 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
  • 60 amp-rated IR PowIRstage™ MOSFETs for power regulation
  • 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
  • Lack of combined cooler for CPU VRM and Chipset board areas
  • Internal design of CPU VRM water channel
  • High voltage settings for BIOS-assisted automated overclocking

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August 14, 2013 | 12:27 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 | 12:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

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

August 14, 2013 | 05:54 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 | 12:33 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

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

August 16, 2013 | 04:56 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 | 12:39 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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