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Asus Z87I-PRO review

Andrew Unsworth
16 Sep 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
145
inc VAT

Not cheap, but this board’s features and overclocking ability make it a Best Buy

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Specifications

LGA1150, Mini-ITX, Intel Z87 chipset, supports: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 (Haswell)

The Z87I-Proi is a Mini ITX motherboard that doesn’t skimp on essential features such as SATA3 ports, graphics outputs USB3 ports and Wi-Fi despite measuring just 170x170mm.

Asus Z87I-PRO

Indeed, it has six SATA3 ports in total, so you’re guaranteed the best performance from all your drives, as well as six USB3 ports and 4 USB ports on its backplane. It also has a USB3 header and a USB2 header that provide two extra ports, which means you can make use of your case’s front panel connections. As if that wasn’t enough the Z87I-PRO’s built-in Wi-Fi module is compatible with the latest 802.11ac devices as well as older Wi-Fi devices. It even has built-in Bluetooth.

It only has one expansion slot due to its small size, but that’s a PCI-E 3.0 x16 graphics card slot. Size also limits its memory slots to two, with a maximum RAM capacity of 16GB. That might sound low, but it’s more than enough for modern PCs and will be for the next few years.

One thing it doesn’t skimp on due to its small size is overclocking features and its good-looking, easy to navigate UEFI BIOS lets you alter clock speeds for the processor, memory and the CPU’s built-in graphics processor, as well as voltage.

As with other Asus motherboards, the BIOS is split into two modes: EZ and Advanced mode. The EZ mode shows you the boot priority list as icons that you can re-arrange and you can select options for quiet computing, “Normal” performance and Asus Optimal, an automatic overclock.

Asus Z87I-PRO

As it uses the Z87 chipset, the Z87I-PRO supports Intel’s new Haswell processors such as the Core i5-4670K that we used for testing. The Z87I-Pro scored 107 overall in our multimedia benchmark tests, which is a little less than expected. When we selected Asus Optimal mode in the Z87I-PRO’s BIOS we re-ran the BIOS and were pleased to see an overall score of 120, a significant increase in processor speed.

Just to test the overclocking ability of the board, we increased the processor clock speed to 4.2GHz, which produced an overall score of 125 in our benchmarks. As mentioned already, the real limiting factor here is the ability to cool the processor effectively, but it does show you that you can exploit the Z87I-Pro’s overclocking features to gain significant, real-world performance boosts for little effort.

Asus Z87I-PRO

The Z87I-Pro isn’t cheap, but it is good value when you consider its features. Sure, it doesn’t have lots of expansion ports, but it does provide all the major features expected of a Z87-based motherboard, such as a full complement of six SATA3 ports, many USB3 ports and modern graphics outputs such as HDMI and DisplayPort. This makes the Z87I-PRO the perfect base for a high-end media PC and a Best Buy award winner.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
Processor socketLGA1150
Form factorMini-ITX
Size170x170mm
Processor supportCore i3, Core i5, Core i7 (Haswell)
Processor external bus100MHz
Chipset north bridgeIntel Z87
Chipset south bridgeIntel Z87
Passively-cooled north bridgeyes
Integrated graphicsNo
Supported memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory speedPC3-22400
Memory slots2
Maximum memory16GB
Dual-channel supportyes

Buying Information

Price£145
Supplierhttp://www.scan.co.uk
Detailswww.asus.com

Internal Ports

Power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots1
Dual graphics architecturenone
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x1 slots0
PCI slots0
Fan headers4
Floppy ports0
IDE ports0
Serial ATA ports0
RAID chipset (max disks)Intel Z87 (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)

Features

Wired network ports10/100/1000
Sound (ports)Realtek ALC1150 (optical S/PDIF, 3x analogue)
USB2 ports / headers10/2
Firewire ports / headers0/0
Legacy portsnone
Other portsHDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, wireless antenna socket
Cables included4x SATA, 1x Wi-Fi antenna
Brackets includednone
Software includednone

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustmentCPU/RAM

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