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Asus Z87-Pro review

Andrew Unsworth
17 Jun 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
157
inc VAT

Great for users who want modern expansion slots and good overclocking potential

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Specifications

LGA1150, ATX, Intel Z87 chipset, supports: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 (Haswell)

The Asus Z87-Pro ATX motherboard has an LGA1150 socket and only supports Intel’s 4th-generation 'Haswell' processors. As implied by its name, the Z87-Pro uses the Z87 chipset, which can potentially provide up to six SATA3 and USB3 ports. However, the Z87-pro uses extra SATA and USB controllers to enhance its connectivity.

On the Z87-pro, the Z87 chipset powers two rear-mounted USB3 ports, a USB3 header that provides a further two USB3 ports and four USB2 headers that can support up to eight USB2 ports. An ASMedia USB3 controller provides a further four USB3 ports on the Z87-Pro’s rear connection panel. Similarly, uses an ASMedia SATA controller to provide another two SATA3 ports, which means that the Z87-Pro has an impressive eight high-speed SATA3 ports. This is more ports than many users will ever need and it means you won’t have to juggle drives to make sure that the fastest drive enjoys the fastest connection.

Asus Z87-Pro

Other connections include DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and VGA display outputs at the rear along with six analogue audio outputs, an optical S/PDIF output, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a single PS/2 port for a legacy mouse or keyboard and two antenna jacks for Asus’s installed Wi-Fi GO! card. This is an eminently sensible complement of connections ports and will suit the majority of the Z87-Pro’s users. Some may complain about the lack of eSATA and FireWire ports, but many users do not use or need such ports. Similarly, we’re not sure how many users will want or benefit from the Z87-Pro’s S/PDIF header.

MODERNIST EXPANSION

The Wi-Fi GO! card is a dual band Wi-Fi card that’s compatible with the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, although it will also work with older 802.11b, g and n standards. The Z87-Pro also has a built-in Bluetooth adaptor, so you’ll have no problem connecting your PC to your mobile devices.

The Z87-Pro provides a good selection of expansion slots, with two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, one PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot and four PCI-E x1 slots. The two PCI-E 3.0 slots run at x8 if two cards are present and x16 if only one card is present. The PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot has a maximum speed of x4. The Z87-Pro supports Nvidi’a Quad-GPU SLI and AMD’s Quad-GPU CrossFireX for multi-GPU graphics processing. There’s also four RAM slots in which you can install memory to a maximum capacity of 32GB, which is more than the majority of users require.

Asus Z87-Pro

The lack of legacy PCI slots gives the Z87-Pro a modern appearance. Although we recognise the usefulness of legacy PCI slots for devices such as Ethernet controllers and TV tuners, we think users investing in Intel’s 4th-generation processors will be happy to replace legacy devices with new cards if necessary. We’re often fed up with sacrificing PCI-E x1 slots in favour of dual slot graphics cards, so we’re more than happy to have extra PCI-E x1 slots.

VERSATILE PERFORMER

We tested the Z87-Pro with an Intel Core i5-4670K processor and 4GB of Corsair XMS3 DDR3 memory running at 1,600MHz. At regular clock speeds the setup scored 113 overall in our benchmark tests, which is ever-so-slightly quicker than the Gigabyte Z87-D3HP’s overall score of 112 and is what we expect of such a setup. When overclocked, the Z87-Pro produced benchmark scores of 118 overall at 4GHz, 129 overall at 4.4GHz, 136 overall at 4.6GHz and 137 overall at 4.8GHz. This is slower than the scores produced by the same test components and the Gigabyte Z87-D3HP, which produced 138 overall at 4.6GHz and 143 overall at 4.8GHz.

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