Recently at OC3D, we’ve been impressed by the latest Haswell range, along with the many great options of Z87 motherboard to accompany them. The Z87 range has been great for the users who love to get the most out of their systems by fiddling with clocks on their ‘K’ series processors. This generally means large amounts of money needing to be spent on a high end motherboard, the i5/i7 unlocked processor itself, and also a lot of cooling to make it all worthwhile. But for the users who are looking to build a high performing rig on a budget, and don’t have the patience to work on overclocks, the B85, H81 and H87 ranges offer a great alternative for a far lower overall cost than a Z87 system.
Today, Rushkit looks at the Asus B85 Vanguard; a motherboard that’s packed with features, looks and performance of the more expensive Z87 range, just without the overclocking abilities, and all for a much lower price!
CPUIntel® Socket 1150 for 4th Generation Core™ i7/Core™ i5/Core™ i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors Supports Intel® 22 nm CPU Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 * The Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 support depends on the CPU types. * Refer to www.asus.com for CPU support list
Memory4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 1600/1333 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory Dual Channel Memory Architecture Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) * Refer to www.asus.com for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists). * Due to Intel® chipset limitation, DDR3 1600 MHz and higher memory modules on XMP mode will run at the maximum transfer rate of DDR3 1600 Mhz.
GraphicIntegrated Graphics Processor Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DVI/RGB/DisplayPort ports - Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz - Supports DVI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz - Supports RGB with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz - Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz Maximum shared memory of 1024 MB Supports Intel® InTru™ 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider™ Supports up to 3 displays simultaneously
Expansion Slots1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black) 1 x PCIe 2.0 x1 1 x PCI
StorageIntel® B85 chipset : 4 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), brown 2 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s), black Supports Intel® Rapid Start Technology, Intel® Smart Connect Technology
AudioRealtek® ALC887 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC - Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
USB PortsIntel® B85 chipset : 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board) Intel® B85 chipset : 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 port(s) (2 at back panel, black, 6 at mid-board)
Special FeaturesTUF ENGINE! Power Design : - 4 +1 Digital Phase Power Design - TUF Components (Alloy choke, Ti-Cap. & MOSFET; certified by military-standard) - ASUS DIGI+ VRM Utility Ultimate COOL! Thermal Solution : - TUF Thermal Radar Core ASUS Exclusive Features : - AI Suite 3 - Ai Charger - ESD Guards - Front Panel USB 3.0 Support - ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface - Network iControl - USB 3.0 Boost ASUS EZ DIY : - Precision Tweaker 2 - ASUS O.C. Profile - ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3 - ASUS EZ Flash 2 - ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode - Multi-language BIOS ASUS Q-Design : - ASUS Q-Shield - ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED) - ASUS Q-Slot - ASUS Q-DIMM - ASUS Q-Connector
Operating System SupportWindows® 8.1 Windows® 8 Windows® 7
Back I/O Ports1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s) 1 x DVI-D 1 x D-Sub 1 x DisplayPort 1 x HDMI 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s) 4 x USB 3.0 (blue) 2 x USB 2.0 6 x Audio jack(s)
Internal I/O Ports1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin, moss green) 3 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 6 USB 2.0 port(s) 1 x TPM header 1 x COM port(s) connector(s) 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s) 2 x SATA 3Gb/s connector(s) 1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin) 4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 x 4 -pin) 1 x S/PDIF out header(s) 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s) 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s) 1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP) 1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector) 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector(s) 1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
AccessoriesUser's manual ASUS Q-Shield 2 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s) 1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1) 1 x TUF Certification card(s) 1 x TUF 5 Year Warranty manual(s) (by region) 1 x TUF Inside sticker(s)
BIOS128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.7, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3, My Favorites, Quick Note, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, F3 Shortcut functions, and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information
ManageabilityWfM 2.0, DMI 2.7, WOL by PME, PXE
Support DiscDrivers ASUS Utilities ASUS/TUF CPU-Z Anti-virus software (OEM version)
Form FactoruATX Form Factor 9.6 inch x 9.6 inch ( 24.4 cm x 24.4 cm )
Note*DP 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport compliant, supports DP 1.2 monitor daisy chain up to 3 displays
For those who pride on pushing their systems to the limit, the Asus B85 Vanguard probably isn’t for you. However, in order to be doing that, you’d need to be buying a Z87 motherboard, and for a decent one, you’d be looking to be spending in the region of £150. The Asus B85 Vanguard comes in at just over £70 which we think is incredible value for what you’re getting.
The Vanguard can support all of the 1150 processors, from the dual core Pentium G3220, to the octa-threaded 4770k. If you’re spending £75 on a motherboard, we think you should be coupling it with one of the Haswell i3s or i5s. The i3 4340 or the i5 4440, would be perfectly suited to run a medium/high end gaming rig when matched with a graphics card such as a GTX760, or an R9 270X. Some users may wish to use this with an i7 instead, in order to have a high end, low cost workstation, suitable for gaming and also any video rendering or design work. The Asus B85 Vanguard is a perfect motherboard for any of these choices.
Along with this, the Vanguard boasts tons of high end features, such as PCIE3.0 for great performance with modern graphics cards. This board also comes with extremely high end components which pass every reliability test Asus could throw at it, which is fantastic to see in a board of this price. We think it’s great to see manufacturers go the extra mile to give their lower end products the same high end components that they put on their top of the range boards. This adds extra peace of mind for the target market of users who just want to build the system, and have done with it, without the worry of something inside going wrong.
Overall, the Asus Vanguard B85 looks incredibly promising for the price. Asus have put a lot of effort into making this not only perform very well, but have loads of features on board, and look awesome too!
Thanks to Asus for the Vangaurd RKJ for the video and James Riley for the article, discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums