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GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review (Page 2)

By Shawn Baker on Jan 16, 2014 04:28 pm CST
Rating: 97%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Motherboard


Taking a look at the board, you can immediately see the black and orange color scheme, which is consistent with other boards under the "OC" labeling. I've always been a huge fan of this look, as it's really unique when compared to what we see from other companies. The matte black PCB also looks great, nicer than the glossy black that we see sometimes from other companies.


As we take the time to start moving around the board, you can see we've got a total of seven PCIe slots. Towards the bottom, you can see we've got two PCIe x1 slots, while the other five slots are PCIe x16. The top slots, and four PCIe x16 slots, are both x16; while the second, third, and fifth all run at x8. As we've already seen mentioned a few times, the board supports up to four video cards; offering support for both Quad SLI, and 4-Way CrossFireX.


Taking a look across the bottom of the board, you can see we've got the normal array of headers, including USB 2.0 and 3.0 headers, fan headers, and our main front panel header. You can also see our BIOS switches on both the left, and right side of the board.


Turning the corner, you can see we've got a total of 10 SATA ports being offered here. All are SATA III, with the six black ones running off the Intel Z87 chipset. As for the four other SATA III ports, they run off the Marvell 88SE9230 chip. Next to the SATA ports, you can see we've got a SATA power connector. This is used if you're running high-end Quad SLI setups, and helps provide extra power to the PCIe slots.


Heading to the north end of the board, you can see our four DIMM slots, which support up to 32GB of DDR3 memory at speeds ranging from 1333MHz DDR to 3000MHz DDR. Outside of that though, you can see we've got a bunch of other stuff going on here. We've got our main 24-Pin ATX Power connector, along with a USB 3.0 header, and PCIe switches that let you enable and disable particular PCIe x16 slots.

The big features here that really grab our attention though, are of course the OC Ignition; instead of going through what all the buttons do, we've instead chosen to include the OC Touch image that is offered on the GIGABYTE website. Below, you can see a good description of each switch.


Moving a little further, you can see the CPU area, and the very fancy looking heat sink that GIGABYTE has got going on. The OC Cool setup that is offered on the force brings passive, active, and water cooling support, in what GIGABYTE labels as an "Extreme Heatsink Design". Looking at it, we wouldn't disagree with them.

As for power, you can see in the top corner of the board we have two power connectors on hand. One is an 8-Pin, while the other is a 4-Pin. Most will opt to use just the 8-Pin, but like the extra power for the Video Cards; if you're looking to get a bit more extreme with the system, then you'll want to use both.


Finishing up our look at the board, we head over to the I/O side of things. Starting from the left, you can see we've got a pair of USB 2.0 ports, and a combo PS2 port. Continuing across, you can see we've got two of the total six USB 3.0 ports that are on offer. Two run off the Z87 chipset, while the others run off a pair of Renesas uPD720210 USB 3.0 hubs.

Video output options are offered via two HDMI ports, along with a single DisplayPort connector. Around here, we can also see an optical port. Nearing the end, we've got two Gigabit networking ports, both of which run off of Intel GbE LAN chips; because of this, Teaming is also supported for people who need even more speed out of their wired network. Finally, we finish off with six auxiliary ports, all of which run off of the Realtek ALC898 codec.

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Shawn Baker


Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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