ASUS Z87I-Pro Review

Published by Marc Büchel on 14.08.13
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Layout

With the release of Intels Z87 chipset ASUS' design team chose to bring quite some change to the design of the classic series motherboards. ASUS was brave enough to ditch their black/blue color scheme. Nowadays their cash-cow-series feature a black/gold/yellow color scheme. It is our personal opinion, that black/gold/yellow might not attract an audience as wide as black/blue was able. Black/Gold/Yellow is a very aggressive combination and we firmly believe that black/blue is a much better choice. We sincerely hope that ASUS will soon release their classic series motherboards with black/blue color scheme next to the black/gold/yellow line-up, since those were some of the most beautiful motherboards, that were ever avialable. We also believe that the black/gold/yellow was a poor descision and it will affect the sales numbers of ASUS' classic series motherboards and ASUS might even lose marketshare, since they wont be able to catch all the customers with the Sabertooth and ROG boards. The layout itself is well thought and there is for example plenty of space around the CPU socket to install even todays largest CPU coolers. On a mini-ITX motherboard it is crucial that the CPU socket is in the center of the motherboard, otherwise installing big aircoolers becomes an issue. There are plenty of other mini-ITX motherboards out there, which have the CPU socket closer to the PCI-Express x16 slot. This brings the consequence, that the cooler is going to collide with the VGA.


The ASUS Z87I-Pro features a fully digital 12+2 phase power design. The CPU gets twelve phases and the memory gets a stable current supply from two individual phases. Compared to the predecessor - P8Z77I-Deluxe - ASUS equips this board with an eight step VCCIN load-line calibration, which are three steps more than you got with the high-end Z77 motherboard. Apart from that there are Japanese solid state capacitors, which can cope with up to 30A per phase. Since, this mini-ITX motherboard offers very limited space, ASUS has put the VRM on a daughter PCB, which has been soldered to the motherboard.


Totally you'll find two DIMM-slots on the Z87I-Pro. Officially supported are DDR3 3000 / 2933 / 2800 / 2666 / 2600 / 2500 / 2400 / 2200 / 2133 / 2000 / 1866 / 1800 / 1600 / 1333 MHz. There is engough space between the DIMM-slots and the CPU socket which means that you wont encounter compatibility problems with big coolers even when you choose to install RAM with big heatspreaders. Also supported are Xtreme Memory Profiles (XMP) in version 1.3.


On the Z87I-Pro the PCH is being cooled by a passive cooling block. A closer look at the area where the VRM is, shows that there are two additional heatsinks - one is on the front-side and the other is located on the back-side. The design as well as the build quality is on an excellent level, which is typical for ASUS' Z87 series motherobards.



Page 1 - Introduction Page 14 - SiSoft Sandra 2
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 15 - UC Bench
Page 3 - Features Page 16 - Super Pi 1M / 32M
Page 4 - Layout Page 17 - wPrime 1024M Multi Core
Page 5 - Connectors and I/O Page 18 - Cinebench
Page 6 - BIOS Page 19 - Bioshock: Infinite
Page 7 - Test setup Page 20 - Metro Last Light
Page 8 - Preview / Gallery Page 21 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 9 - 3D Mark Page 22 - Power Consumption
Page 10 - 3D Mark 11 Page 23 - Performance Rating
Page 11 - 3D Mark Vantage  Page 24 - Price Comparison
Page 12 - PC Mark 7 Page 25 - Conclusion
Page 13 - SiSoft Sandra 1  




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