Motherboard Circuit Analysis
The C7Z97-OCE is very well built, and its features are far and wide. However, I should note that the black 4x slots are actually only 1x in bandwidth, but they are larger, and can fit 16x sized cards for folding. From the top blue 16x slot downward, the PCI-E wiring layout is 16x/8x/4x.
This is the PCI-E layout. The Flexible I/0 that Intel gave the Z87 and Z97 PCH is used here in a 4:8:6 arrangement. There are four native USB 3.0 ports, six SATA6Gb/s (two to M.2, and four to connectors), and 8x PCI-E. The reason they are able to do USB 3.1 is because Supermicro allocated 2x lanes to the ASM1042 for 10Gb/s of bandwidth (PCI-E 1x is 5Gb/s). They also allocated 2x PCI-E to the M.2.
An Intel WGI217V (a very common PHY) is used in conjunction with the PCH to provide GBit LAN. However, half of the NIC is in the PCH, and this physical layer device (PHY) provides the actual port signals. Supermicro also went with a WGI210AT, which is a commonly used secondary NIC for boards with dual Intel NICs.
This is the ASM1042 that gets two PCI-E lanes, and in return, provides the USB 3.0/3.1 internal header. The ASM1061 provides two SATA6Gb/s to make for a total of six SATA connectors.
The board has M.2 directly from the PCH; however, I should mention that at this time, I was not able to boot directly from it.
The audio utilizes an ALC1150, but there is no differential on the output, possibly limiting how high the SNR will go with this particular Realtek codec. The cleanliness of the PCB in this area signifies that they did put a lot of thought into making the audio section separate from the rest of the board. You can say it is isolated, and the sound quality is actually very good.
A PEX8605 is a four port switch that takes in one lane of PCI-E 1x 2.0, and makes it three lanes of PCI-E 1x 2.0, which are then used for the black PCI-E slots. There are also 6x ASM1480, which switch the CPU's PCI-E lanes from 16x/0x/0x to 8x/8x/0x to 8x/4x/4x in the blue slots.
A Nuvoton NCT6776D is used as the super IO. This is a very common super IO, and the board doesn't have issues with the readability of its sensors for other programs.
The Texas Instruments LC14A is a four port hex inverter, and is most likely used for the POST Code display, or for the OC button functionality. Texas Instruments GD75252 is a chip that allows for the serial port (COM). The super IO provides the TPM port.
The BIOS ROM is actually a 128Mbit (16MB) part. I have only seen this on the GBT Z87/Z97 boards, and most X99 motherboards. This is a huge BIOS ROM, partially because of the backup boot sector, but also because this board was Supermicro's first shot at a UEFI featuring a GUI, and they didn't want any size restrictions to deal with. An ASMedia ASM1442K is a level shifter for digital video; it converts the digital video signal to HDMI/DVI, so you can have a HDMI port on the board.
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