ASUS Z87I-Deluxe Motherboard Review

 

Overview of the ASUS Z87I-Deluxe

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The packaging is standard ASUS with a techie look with a large naming on the front panel but also large icons covering some of the key features. The rear is where you get really in depth on what the features offer and what the platform can do.

 

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Here we see the complete accessories included.
  • SATA Cables
  • WiFi/BT 4.0 Antennae
  • Qconnect front panel extension connectors
  • IO Shield
  • Installation disc
  • Owners Manual

The accessories are more than enough to get you moving without too much hassle including the WiFI Antennae to handle the wireless duties quite nicely. Also I will take this time to note that I do like the new Wifi Antennae design much better than the dual antennae version used previously. Also the extension cables are nice as now you do not have to fight in a super right place to connect the front panel of the chassis to the board.

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Here you can see the full board top top down and ASUS did a very god job of fitting as much capability of the board into such a small package. 6 Total SATA ports all spaced well, full PCIe slot for high performance GPU or HBA applications and as many fan connectors as ASUS could get fit into the mix.

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Looking at the IO it as well as the board is stuffed quite well with features.
  • 4x USB 2.0 Ports
  • DVI Port
  • USB BIOS Flashback Button
  • BIOS Reset Switch
  • WiFi AC/BT4.0 Card
  • Intel Gigabit (10/100/1000) LAN Port
  • 6x USB 3.0 ports (2x Asmedia, 4x Intel Z87)
  • Optical S/PDIF Port
  • HDMI Connector
  • Displayport Connector
  • 8 channel Realtek ALC 1150 powered audio connections

Here you can see that while the Z87I-Deluxe is a mini board it packs big board audio and a high end WiFi Solution to ensure you have the best of super fast connectivity possible.

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Here we have the Dual memory slots which support up to 16GB Tested and even up to 32GB per ASUS confirmation and speeds up to 3000MHz + but that all depends on the components at play and also the strength of the IMC on the chip you have. I have seen some which pull 3GHz with ease while others have had a bit of a struggle to get there and also the quality of memory IC has a huge impact on capabilities here as well.
The ALC 1150 Audio chipset is something we had seen on many more high end model boards and here it supports up to 8 channel audio but I’m sure that has to do with the optical TOSLINK connection rather than the analog ports as there are only 3.

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Here you can see the socket area which ASUS always tends to do very well with the selection of DIGI+ components the socket is super clean and overall usually just a nice layout. There is one thing I think needs to be cleared up here as the comment flies around all too often about using flat caps or “POSCAPS” in the socket area to make insulation or installation in the socket easier and at first I agreed with this until I looked at the reality of the situation. POSCAPS simply do not have the same capability especially in terms of capacitance that the larger barrel caps have so in reality while it may look cleaner or be easier to insulate to some degree you do have to ask yourself what you’re giving up in terms of capability for that pretty look. In the end I want the best possible delivery for my components and if that means dealing with barrel caps then so be it and after such research I did confirm with ASUS and that is the very same reason they choose to employ such a solution.
Also it is worth noting that here next to the socket area you also find some of the 4 Pin fan connectors which there are a total of four and all of which are 4 Pin design which allows intelligent PWM control or also special tuning via the ASUS Fan Xpert 2 Software.
The VRM sink you can see carries the same design language as the larger mainstream models with the gold color and to say this is a beefy heatsink just doesn’t seem to do it justice as it simply is a large chunk and it does well to control heat on the VRM but if you choose to liquid cool your CPU be sure to have some form of airflow close by so that the VRM and important bits stay nice and cool.

Software Overview

AISuiteIII

ASUS has completely redesigned the AISuite Software with the AISuite III software. A completely new user interface is now available and with that comes a much smoother function.

 

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Overall the AISuite III software has been completely reworked for a cleaner looking interface. As you can see there is alot more information available in each section as the upper screen gives you the controls of the section you are in and the bottom area can be tabbed through and has a load of different monitoring areas to cycle through and help you see exactly how your board is behaving in real time. Also this is a significant change so it may take you a few minutes to figure out where everything is at but in the end it is quite easy once you get the hang of it as the system has changed from a selector bar or taskbar driven software to a larger screen driven software.

 

TurboV Core

 

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Turbo VCore is a super lite program made for quick and easy board tuning within the OS. We have seen many companies starting to realize that their included software is a bit too much or a bit too heavy for users who need a super light easy to load program that also loads quickly as being on the ragged edge overclocking you cannot wait for a huge program to load just to make a quick change.

The Turbo VCore program is just this and it fits the bill nicely as it loads very fast and load or overhead on the system is very small which is exactly what you need when running in such extreme conditions.

 

BIOS Overview

The BIOS of the ASUS Z87’s still carries the same fluidity that the Z77 and Z68’s carried as ASUS has done very well on the overall UEFI code which means the only think they have really needed to add was updates based on features or tuning of the board. Well all of that aside ASUS did add some very interesting features which we think will help some users especially those who like to tweak their boards and try to squeeze a bit more performance from them. The ability to take notes within the BIOS is very cool although I am old school and always keep pen and paper near by, we guess you could call this a “Green” alternative as you take notes on adjustments, although I would still keep a paper backup of any notes or at least a screenshot (F12) of the notes before flashing the BIOS as a BIOS update that goes deep enough could clear those notes and they would be gone forever.

Another neat feature would be the Last modified section which basically just logs any changes you made in the BIOS so that if you run into an issue you can go back and look at what your changes were all dated and with a timestamp so that you can revert changes and test again without starting over. This is a interesting feature and I am not saying everyone will use it but well for the target audience of this board (Extreme enthusiasts and overclockers) we think it could ultimately be very useful.

Another cool addition is the my favorites page which allows you to earmark certain settings within the bios to be placed on this page where you can go to and have access to your most commonly used settings without having to go through all of the other settings as there are quite a lot on this board.

The ability to rename SATA ports is also a huge plus here as it allows quick easy reference to which port you are using rather than going by a port number which could be much harder to distinguish.

 

Review Overview

Performance - 8.5
Value - 9
Quality - 9.5
Features - 9.5
Innovation - 9.5

9.2

The Z87I-Deluxe shows a great performance and feature mix with a decent price as well, it deserves definite consideration for any mini build

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