Review Index:

GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Included Accessories

GIGABYTE includes only the bare minimum needed to get the board functional.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Also included is a 3.5 inch front panel bracket containing two USB 3.0 ports.

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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.

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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.

July 19, 2013 | 03:38 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 | 03:39 PM - Posted by Captain Homey (not verified)

I meant GA-880 motherboard not 800

July 19, 2013 | 04:47 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 | 08:01 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 | 12:11 PM - 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:

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.


July 26, 2013 | 07:56 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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