ASUS Z97A Motherboard Review
With the new Z97 chipset ringing the changes, it seems like the perfect opportunity for us to upgrade our test setup to the next level. So it's time to say goodbye to the venerable HD7970 and hello to the current performance benchmark, the nVidia GTX780Ti. Plenty of grunt to ensure that even the most powerful CPU shouldn't be GPU limited which, with the forthcoming 5th Generation of Intel CPUs, was a genuine concern.
Because we're so committed to providing genuine comparisons this does mean that our graphs are newly minted too, so the first of the plentiful Z97 reviews we're bringing you today is somewhat lacking when it comes to thoughts about relative performance. We'd far rather bring one review that was light on text than spend the whole review explaining that various other test systems aren't actually comparable. We know your time is as valuable as ours, and thank you for understanding.
Intel Core i7-4770K
Corsair Vengeance Pro 2400MHz
Corsair Neutron GTX
Windows 7 x64
Scream if you want to go faster. Now we know that we have a storming i7-4770K. When it comes to winning the silicon lottery we won a triple rollover. Of course if we'd really won the lottery then these words would be brought to you by a secretary via dictation from the Cayman Islands. Meanwhile back in the United Kingdom...
Stunning. It's the only word for it. With the Z87 chipset and motherboards we found that the best motherboards were capable of 4.9GHz and maybe, after some serious tinkering, 5GHz for certain tests. We've always demanded that our overclocks are capable of running the full range of our benchmark programs, rather than keep changing the overclock depending upon the demands of each particular test. So for the ASUS Z97A to bang out of the box with a very simple 5GHz overclock is unquestionably hugely impressive.
It's not only the CPU clock speed that's been greatly enhanced by this revised chipset. DDR3 performance is vastly superior with our Corsair Vengeance RAM merrily hitting 2933MHz @ CAS 12. If that doesn't crisp your bacon then we don't know what will.
Because the voltage necessary to achieve our overclock was still well under the 1.3v VCore, our Core i7-4770K remained as cool as one could hope to expect from such a gentle cooling solution. As always our temperature testing is done under the most tortuous OCCT test imaginable, so regular use will see numbers well below this.