Trio of Z87 OC Motherboards Tested

Motherboards/Intel S1150 by leeghoofd @ 2013-07-26

Today we will be looking at 3 high end Overclock optimized mainboards for Intel's 4th generation processors. Madshrimps received the Z87-OC Formula sample from ASRock, the Gigabyte Z87X-OC and MSI's Z87 XPOWER flagship. Three boards, although all listed in total different price categories, targeted specifically at the enthusiast crowd. Fully equipped to squeeze the last MHz out of your Haswell. Due to the specific nature of these particular boards we have adapted the review method slightly to go more into the efficiency aspect instead of listing all of the onboard features/chips.

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Gigabyte Z87X-OC:

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...

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Comment from Teemto @ 2013/07/26
Really like the editor's note
Comment from NordWolfe @ 2013/08/03
Finally somebody with the balls to tell it like it is. Now I would just like somebody to call-out Intel, for their woeful/unacceptable manufacturing quality control on their CPUs, and AMD, for their incompetence that permits these abuses from their rivals. At least, so it seems, AMD is now hiring the right people for their CPU division. Hope this pays off quickly so that Intel loses it’s arrogance, and total lack of respect for it’s customers. For that to happen we need many more true reviewers, such as yourself, and not Corporate Whores, such as we see in most sites, and youtube channels.
I salute your courage, integrity, and the knowledge you have on your mission.
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2013/08/04
Thx guys for the feedback. It's not what the manufacturers or people from the PR team want to read, but at least it's the truth based on hard facts... apreciated that my hard works is applauded