Since the X58-OC mainboard, Gigabyte has continued to include at least one high end motherboard targeted at the enthousiast overclocking community. Besides the many overclocking features all these boards share the orange colour scheme. For the Z87chipset, Gigabyte has released two different flavours of OC boards: the Z87X-OC, being reviewed here today and the Z87X-OC Force. The Force boards supports 4-way SLI/Crossfire graphics solutions due to the utilisation of a bridge PLX chipset. Besides being optimised for multiple graphic cards, the other two major differences with the far cheaper OC board, are more onboard S-ATA ports and the Force board features a air/watercooled heatsink combo.
The Z87X-OC and Z87X-OC Force board side by side
Don't be fooled that the Z87X-OC can't handle up to 4 GPUs. When utilising AMD cards it's a definite yes, due to the absence of the PLX bridge chip only up to two-way SLI is supported.
Gigabyte relies on a 8-Power Phase design, thanks to the usage of PowIRstages. The latter being able for a better and more efficient power delivery at a lesser heat output. A huge step away from their previous insane 64325 Phase setups. Again we find a very clean socket, ready for ice cold benching in no time !
More regarding power, we also find an 8 + 4 pin power plug on the top and a OC PEG to provide extra slot power when using multiple GPU configurations.
The Z87 chipset is cooled by an overdimensioned heatsink. A feature we spot on all of the three featured boards in this review. Before we go a bit deeper into the OCing Zone, the Z87X-OC has got six SATA ports and two USB ports. This is quite a unique feature to have two USP ports on the inside. similar as with the ASRock board it allows to quickly plug in a USB device, while benching without having to reach out to the backplate.
The I/O panel still supports a PS/2 device, which is treat for most OCers. Also we spot a total of six blue USB 3.0, and two black USB 2.0 ports. For the VGA output, two HDMI and one display port are at your disposal. The in and out audio jacks are linked to the Realtek ALC892 codec chip. One single LAN port steered by the Intel Gbe LAN chip ( 10/100/1000 Mbit )
Accessoires included in the box are:
- Driver disk and manual
- 4 SATA cables
- I/O shield
- 2-way SLI bridge connector
- 2-way Crossfire bridge connector
- OC Brace
- 12 voltage measurement cables
Now let's discover how this board makes our enthousiast hearts pound faster...