Gigabyte Z87X-OC Review

Conclusion

Gigabyte Z87X-OC Review

Conclusion

Unlike some other motherboards, the black and orange colour scheme of the Gigabyte range is reserved just for their high-performance models. So far it's existed on just four. The X58 OC, which was a stunning performer for the money. The Z77-UP7 which combined excellent performance with a wealth of features but had a price-tag to match. In the Z87 range there are two, the Z87X-OC Force, which is hilariously expensive and probably the genuine rival to the Maximus VI Extreme in the 'more money than sense' category, and today's review the Z87X-OC, which is to be found at a very reasonable £165. This puts it right in the zone of some other great motherboards such as the G1.Sniper M5 and the MSI GD65 Gaming.

Don't think that the heavily trimmed price when compared to its big brother has meant a crippling lack of features though. Everywhere you look, and regardless of what you desire, the Z87X-OC has got it covered. Quad-GPU support? Of course. Lots of USB ports and more fan headers than are likely to be filled. The real stars of the show though are the BIOS and the OC Gear. The BIOS has every option you could expect from something that's billing itself as an extreme overclocker. Those words thankfully still mean more than just a marketing slogan, but the user-friendliness of the BIOS is a far cry from the almost unfathomable DFI LanParty days. A lot of 'boards offer all the tuning options you need to make the most of your 4th Generation Intel CPU, and as we're so thermally-limited the average user wont need the tweaks that can get you over the hump into truly stunning overclocks. It's nice to have them there though.

What really raises the Z87X-OC above is the recovery options. With a couple of BIOS to choose from, and plenty of profiles you're unlikely to get stuck but even if you do you can clear your CMOS without fearing that you've lost a weeks worth of fine-tuning. With getting through the OS boot procedure being the death of many an overclock the OC Gear buttons really come in to their own, allowing you to boot at a fairly sensible overclock and once you're at the desktop you can push on, as our OC3D record 5.1GHz shows. Speaking of user-friendly things, the OC Ignition button at the rear of the Z87X-OC will power up the motherboard without actually turning it on. If you want to check your water loop, or just show off your choice of case-lighting, you can do so without actually having the system running. We're sure that the modding community will leap upon this supremely handy feature.

Of course all that would be for naught if the results didn't back up the CPUz, and the Z87X-OC is extremely consistent throughout our tests. It was either at the top or darn close in every test, and the few it did stand as the king of the hill it did so by a decent margin. What was most impressive, if the 5.1GHz overclock and performance didn't already have you reaching for your wallet, is how easy it was to attain this level. It's a joy to use with no head-scratching, no need to wade through a welter of beta BIOS releases. Just fire it up and get tweaking.

Such is the capability of the Z87X-OC that we've struggled to think of anything we don't like. If the orange colour scheme doesn't float your boat then that could be a problem, but we tend to think that the reason everyone has red and black systems is because that particular combination goes with the motherboards that provided the best performance. So far that's not the case as the Z87X-OC is clearly the weapon of choice if you're looking for a LGA1150 motherboard. Of course one of our team absolutely loves the black and orange combination and it's certainly not offensively garish.

All in all the Z87X-OC is a performance motherboard done right. It's a joy to use, relatively cheap to buy and is bristling with a wealth of features to suit everyone from the fit and forget users to the people surrounded by vials of liquid nitrogen. At £165 it's almost a steal and makes more expensive options look even sillier than they already do, especially when you consider that for the most part we have a VERY capable CPU and if you find one like ours you are very lucky, our point here is that the motherboard is overkill for 99% of the CPU's available today and it can max these out with ease. So why pay more? Unquestionably an OC3D Gold Award winner.

      

Thanks to Gigabyte for supplying the Z87X-OC for review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

19-07-2013, 05:30:39

tinytomlogan
At the weather heats up, we take a look at the latest in the OC range from Gigabyte, the Z87X.


http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...091607255l.JPG



Continue Reading

19-07-2013, 07:07:46

mArTyN
Beautiful board

19-07-2013, 07:16:20

AverageNinja
Yay! Finally!
I've been looking out to this review!
I'm going to read it now

19-07-2013, 08:04:02

Etlar
Sorry to say it TTL, but no Movie ? :O Need some thing to do, when i wait on my parts !

19-07-2013, 08:49:29

GoogalyMoogaly
Disappointed you didn't cover RAM voltages. I've read in other reviews how many manufacturers (except Asus) don't accurately report RAM voltages in the BIOS. I was wondering fi this board is the same?
Also I believe they dropped the high end audio they've used on some of their OC boards in the past. I see no mention of anything audio related in the review.

The board also annoys me that I'd be paying all that money and if I put it in a case I can't use it. For example the PCI bracket, the overclocking buttons and the internal external USB ports. Would rather it was cheaper and didn't have these. They could make a "Z87X-OC TestBench" version for those that want to use it on a test bench and give the rest of use the other features at a lower price tag.

It's also a little disappointing that they went with a black PCB. They used to be rare, but have become more common in recent times. Pity Gigabyte didn't try to be different and come up with something new, if they're trying something new with could schemes.

That said this board is on my very short shortlist of Z87 boards (along with the Asus Z87 Maximus VI Gene and Hero boards) so it's good to know that it's ok.

19-07-2013, 09:12:21

VonBlade
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoogalyMoogaly View Post
Disappointed you didn't cover RAM voltages. I've read in other reviews how many manufacturers (except Asus) don't accurately report RAM voltages in the BIOS. I was wondering fi this board is the same?
If we haven't mentioned it you can assume it's fine.

Quote:
Also I believe they dropped the high end audio they've used on some of their OC boards in the past. I see no mention of anything audio related in the review.
There is only one previous OC board, the X58. That used the ALC889 codec, this uses the ALC892. Everything uses the ALC892 which we mentioned in the technical specifications and is so ubiquitous that further mention (when there are many other features) was pointless.

Quote:
The board also annoys me that I'd be paying all that money and if I put it in a case I can't use it. For example the PCI bracket, the overclocking buttons and the internal external USB ports. Would rather it was cheaper and didn't have these. They could make a "Z87X-OC TestBench" version for those that want to use it on a test bench and give the rest of use the other features at a lower price tag.
Rather nit-picky. Sure you don't use the bracket in a case, but as this is the same price as all the mid-price boards that don't come with one then it's not costing any more. The buttons exist on nearly every motherboard (as power/reset ones at minimum) and yet nobody complains. Again it's not costing more so if you don't use them, ignore them. The internal USB ports were mentioned and explained that if you have a front panel device that utilises USB then it's a compact and simple to use solution.

You're implying that these features somehow make the board expensive, whereas it costs the same as most and so these elements aren't impacting the cost.

Quote:
It's also a little disappointing that they went with a black PCB. They used to be rare, but have become more common in recent times. Pity Gigabyte didn't try to be different and come up with something new, if they're trying something new with could schemes.

That said this board is on my very short shortlist of Z87 boards (along with the Asus Z87 Maximus VI Gene and Hero boards) so it's good to know that it's ok.
I'm so glad you're annoyed that Gigabyte use a black PCB on a black and orange motherboard. It's especially nice to see that the black PCB on all the ASUS motherboards don't dissuade you. Nothing like impartiality. Surely a blue PCB with black and orange plastic would be worse..?

19-07-2013, 12:53:38

GoogalyMoogaly
Quote:
Originally Posted by VonBlade View Post
If we haven't mentioned it you can assume it's fine.
Seems sensible. Wasn't sure if it wasn't worth mentioning or if you hadn't checked it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VonBlade View Post
There is only one previous OC board, the X58. That used the ALC889 codec, this uses the ALC892. Everything uses the ALC892 which we mentioned in the technical specifications and is so ubiquitous that further mention (when there are many other features) was pointless.
Fair enough. How is the onboard sound on this board? Does it get suffer much from the effects that some boards feel the need to shield their audio against? (I can't say I've ever had much issue from onboard sound from a quality point of view)

Quote:
Originally Posted by VonBlade View Post
Rather nit-picky. Sure you don't use the bracket in a case, but as this is the same price as all the mid-price boards that don't come with one then it's not costing any more. The buttons exist on nearly every motherboard (as power/reset ones at minimum) and yet nobody complains. Again it's not costing more so if you don't use them, ignore them. The internal USB ports were mentioned and explained that if you have a front panel device that utilises USB then it's a compact and simple to use solution.

You're implying that these features somehow make the board expensive, whereas it costs the same as most and so these elements aren't impacting the cost.
I'm suggesting it makes the board more expensive yes. If these features cost nothing why aren't they on every board? I'm pretty sure if they cost Gigabyte money to include, they'll charge the end user for them. Can't blame them for it either.
Are those USB ports USB 2 or 3? I thought they were 2. Most USB front panels that I can think of use internal USB2 headers. In fact it's only a few cases that I can think of that decided it'd be a good idea to use external USB connectors on front panel connectors.
And all the onboard buttons do annoy me, but mostly just the ones that don't have external access. So Power and Reset bother me less, but when boards don't have an external (i.e. rear panel) CMOS reset then that annoys me a bit. I mean I don't lose sleep over it, but if I'm paying money for something and 1 thing has it and 1 doesn't then it may affect my overall decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VonBlade View Post
I'm so glad you're annoyed that Gigabyte use a black PCB on a black and orange motherboard. It's especially nice to see that the black PCB on all the ASUS motherboards don't dissuade you. Nothing like impartiality. Surely a blue PCB with black and orange plastic would be worse..?
I'm sorry, you'll have to point out where I said Asus using black PCBs didn't annoy me, I can't see it. It hasn't dissuaded me any more on the Gigabyte than the Asus boards.
You are right though a blue PCB with black and orange would be worse. Maybe a white PCB for a change (I believe some KFA2 graphics cards use white)? Admittedly orange and white may not go well together, but no rule sayign they have to use orange. I'm pretty sure some of the X58 OC range were purely black and orange so it doesn't seem like they're opposed to changing it.

19-07-2013, 14:08:10

antihero
Sweet jesus man 5.1 GHz screenie with a freakin' AIO cooler. I would give my left nut for a chip like that.

19-07-2013, 21:39:23

Joao Dario
damn is that board that good ??

19-07-2013, 21:44:04

Gilles3000
thx for another great review, seems like a great board especially considering the price.I might consider this motherboard for my upcoming build.

I have a couple of little questions tho,

The benchmarks of the VI extreme, were those with the "old" driver that you used for its review, or did you use a new driver?

The 4770k you used, was that a review sample or a consumer chip? I'm only asking because I haven't seen many people that have been able to clock their chip that high without delidding or extreme cooling.

19-07-2013, 21:59:21

Joao Dario
[QUOTE=The benchmarks of the VI extreme, were those with the "old" driver that you used for its review, or did you use a new driver?.[/QUOTE]

You meant Bios right ?

btw: nice couple questions, and I add, were the oc's, testing and all that shit the same in all boards ?

and also it would be nice if you could make an overall graph.

20-07-2013, 11:17:23

Gilles3000
yes, I meant the bios, don't know how I got to calling it a driver...

26-07-2013, 21:49:29

loglog
Really considered buying this board instead of the UD3H but I was trying to keep my build to $2500. Almost regretting it, but the UD3H is still pretty good.

18-08-2013, 04:31:37

Anusha
this board is not for highend air cooling i suppose? the top most PCI-E slot will be blocked by most of the highend coolers and that's the slot which is directly connected to CPU.

26-09-2013, 14:02:56

Austin Green
That colour scheme reminds me of an old DFI lanparty 478 board i owned about 12 years ago !
Reply
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