About five months ago, Supermicro asked me if I was interested in testing one of their new overclocking boards, a first of its kind from Supermicro. Not only is the C7Z97-OCE Supermicro's first overclocking/gaming motherboard, but it is also their first motherboard with a UEFI with GUI (and mouse control). The UEFI has come a long way since that first day, and I have to say that the system works fine without touching the UEFI settings.
However, if you do decide to overclock, then you should be aware that this board is unlike any other board in terms of typing in and applying settings. I strongly recommend you use the built-in profiles, and tune the rest from there. Otherwise, I think I have left you with a few tricks in the BIOS page to help you get started.
The board is able to compete very well with my other Z97 motherboards in 24/7 overclocks, but this board isn't meant for benchmarking, or liquid nitrogen overclocking. While it might survive a liquid nitrogen session, and while it has the proper hardware, its BCLK and memory overclocking aren't competitive above 105MHz, and above 2800MHz. The C7Z97-OCE does do great, and matches my other boards when it comes to 24/7 CPU overclocking. The C7Z97-OCE also keeps up and beats almost all of my boards when it comes to CPU power efficiency.
The C7Z97-OCE has a lot of great features; it is the first and only board I have seen to offer USB 3.1 for the future. Supermicro does this by routing two PCI-E 1x lanes to the ASM1042 controller. This isn't the only notable hardware enhancement. Basically every piece of hardware, other than some of the controllers, is sever-grade. This means that the longevity of the parts on this board is very hard to beat.
The engineers behind this board usually work on servers, so you know the trace routing and hardware layout is at enterprise standards. In conclusion, the C7Z97-OCE fits the bill if you are looking for a high grade board that can overclock the CPU high, and the memory modestly, yet maintain stability for years to come. At $195, the price of the C7Z97-OCE is also very reasonable if you consider the cost of the high-quality parts.
PRICING: You can find the Supermicro C7Z97-OCE for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The C7Z97-OCE retails for $194.99 at Amazon.
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