GIGABYTE Z87X-OC, that’s the motherboard we are reviewing today and even its name tells a lot about it and lots of people will just buy it by looking no further than its name. It belongs to GIGABYTE’s overclocking series motherboards and comes with the striking black and orange color scheme. The OC series first came to surface with the X58A-OC and that was one hell of a motherboard. It was made from ground up for overclocking with no bells and whistles; just a lot of rawness. Everyone praised it.
However, GIGABYTE’s sales division wasn’t really happy with it. With $380 price tag, it only attracted a small portion of buyers; the people who were die-hard overclockers or people who had deep pockets. Apart from the price, the X58A-OC was a little bit late to the party. It came out at a time when X58 platform was being wrapped up.
Fast forward to 2012 and GIGABYTE revived the black and orange theme once again with the Z77X-UP7 but this time the OC tag wasn’t around. May be, GIGABYTE thought that people probably didn’t like the OC tag and putting the UP7 tag might make the motherboard sell however they were kind of wrong. The Z77X-UP7 wasn’t a big hit as well and as a result; ASRock’s Z77 OC Formula stole the Ivy Bridge overclocking scene due to its low price and good set of features.
Now it’s 2013 and Intel Haswell is out with a fleet of Z87 based motherboards. This time around we’ve quite a few overclocking focused boards. Obviously there is ASUS’ ROG series and ASRock has also split their OC Formula series into two boards and MSI has also introduced the MPower series with 3 motherboards. And this time around, GIGABYTE also seems to have found the best solution for their OC series. For Haswell, we’ve two GIGABYTE OC series motherboards; the Z87X-OC and Z87X-OC Force. The former one is a $200 motherboard with everything an overclocker can wish for and then we’ve the $400 Z87X-OC Force which is for people with deep pockets or for those who want the best of the best.
If we look at the specifications sheet, the Z87X-OC is an overclocking motherboard done the way it should be. It has no unneeded ICs for extra this and extra that but it has all the essentials that an average user needs. And when it comes to overclocking, it has everything an overclocker can wish for. A clean layout, powerful and quality VRM, on-board voltage readout points, on-board overclocking buttons and a solid UEFI firmware. Last but not the least, it has been designed and tuned by the professional overclockers HiCookie himself for record breaking performance.
Let’s have a quick at its specifications before we jump into a much deeper look at the motherboard itself.
|GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Specifications|
|CPU Support||4th Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processor family for the LGA 1150 Socket|
|Power Design||CPU Power: 8 Phases|
Memory Power: 2 Phases
|Chipset||Intel Z87 Express|
|Memory||4x DDR3 DIMM, Dual Channel, Max: 32GB, 1066 MHz to 3000+ MHz|
|BIOS||Dual AMI UEFI BIOS with 2x 128 Mb Flash ROM|
|Expansion Slots||3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16 or x8/x0/x8 or x8/x4/x4)|
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot
2 x legacy PCI slot
|Storage||6 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (Intel Z87 PCH)|
|Connectivity||1x Intel Gigabit LAN|
|I/O||10 x USB 3.0 ports (4 at front panel, 6 at rear panel)|
8 x USB 2.0 ports (2 at front panel, 4 at rear panel, 2 internal)
1 x RJ45 LAN connectors
1 x Audio block with 6 OFC audio jacks
1 x Optical Digital Audio port
2 x HDMI port
1 x Displayport
|Audio||Realtek ALC892 7.1-channel HD Audio|
|Fan Header||6x 4-pin PWM|
|Form Factor||ATX Form Factor (305 mm x 244 mm)|