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  • JDG1980 - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    I thought Haswell was supposed to integrate the VRMs into the CPU die. But these boards still have big heatsinks which appear to be used for VRM cooling. What gives?

    By the way, is it confirmed whether the ASUS Z87-WS supports ECC RAM (assuming a compatible processor is used)? It's a workstation board, so it should, but to some people "workstation" is now just a marketing term.
  • lever_age - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    There is an integrated VRM to do DC-DC conversion to generate the voltages for the CPU, but its input voltage is 2.4 V or so. The parts on the motherboard convert 12 V to that intermediate 2.4 V (or whatever it was). Reply
  • lever_age - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    wait nevermind, anyway, details were here with probably more coming:
  • mwildtech - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    I see a lot of Gold on these motherboards...Some look pretty awful. IMO the MSI boards look the best. Reply
  • Ksyder - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    I think if the MSI boards work well they will be very popular. Nice designs. Reply
  • jasonelmore - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    really expensive boards. This is the supposed to be the mainstream platform, not the enthusiast. Highest board should be no more than $350 unless it has thunderbolt imho.... Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Doesn't sound too far out there, really. Z87 is the enthusiast class hardware. If you're just building a workstation or HTPC, there will probably be an H81 or P86 or some base-level boards without all the "Xtreme" components. Reply
  • austinindallas - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Go ahead and sign me up for an asrock z87 mini-itx and i7 4770k. As soon as microcenter has a deal! Reply
  • meacupla - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    The asrock mITX is a huge improvement over the previous Z77 model, but their built quality and bios are still questionable.
    Unless there is a $100 price difference between asus' Z87 mITX board, I see no reason to go for asrock.
  • cjs150 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    I disagree. I have the ASRock z77-eitx board and it is excellent. Rock solid, having MSata on reverse is a nice touch, sensible layout, easy to overclock. I looked at both the ARock and Asus mini boards and the ASRock was a better choice for me

    What more do you actually want?
  • austinindallas - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    the asrock z77 extreme 4 was my very first experience with asrock, but i am VERY satisfied with it. and it was a GREAT price compared to others Reply
  • Sm0kes - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    Better than SATA II speeds on the mSATA port. Not sure why it was gimped on the z77e-itx. Reply
  • mutantmagnet - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    The build quality is fine. An article posted by Gigabyte was comparing the failure rate of the various motherboard makers (which they got first place last year) didn't make me think any motherboard manufacturer was significantly behind the others to single any of them out as bad. Reply
  • crimson117 - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Asus summary:

    Channel boards:
    ASUS Z87-C
    ASUS Z87-A
    ASUS Z87-Plus (y u no A+?)
    ASUS Z87-Pro
    ASUS Z87-Deluxe

    Specific purpose boards:
    ASUS Z87-WS (for workstations)
    ASUS Z87-ITX (mITX) (for mITX cases)

    Enthusiast boards:
    ASUS Sabertooth Z87
    ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero
    ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme

    mATX Enthusiast:
    ASUS Gryphon Z87 (mATX)
    ASUS ROG Maximus VI Gene (mATX)

    While I'm cautiously optimistic that they've improved over their indecipherable Z77 naming schemes, I'm taking bets regarding how long it will be until the L, LK, ML, FJ, WJK, MS, JK, and YOLO variants show up and confuse everyone.
  • c0pperbottoms - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    How about a micro-ATX board where I can have 2 dual-slot GPUs in 16x slots where the damned PCI or PCI-E 1x slot is ABOVE the GPUs so I can have a sound card (or some other accessory for that mattter)?? Reply
  • meacupla - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Because most mATX cases sport 4 slots, not 5?
    You might as well buy an ATX board and ATX case if you're going to go out of your way to buy an mATX case that has 5 slots and would also be undoubtedly large.
  • This Guy - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    I want a small, quite computer but already have an expensive sound card and need crossfire/sli to run my monitors. The Corsair Obsidian 350D looks well suited to my wants and I was thinking about getting a Z87 version of the Gigabyte D3H. A few Noctura's and it will been silent except when gaming. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Well, for x16 in dual GPU configuration, you need S2011. Haswell only provides enough for x8 in dual GPU configuration. But I think you are just meaning x8/x8 for 2 GPUs.
    Look at the
    Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5
    It gives you x8/x1/x4/x8 slots where you can have a dual slot graphics card in the first x8, then a PCIe in the x4 and a dual/triple slot graphics card in the last x8.
  • c0pperbottoms - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Actually I did mean two 16x, but thanks for clarifying. Not yet very well read on Haswell. Also it occurs to me that we're not really bumping up against the (admittedly negligible) bandwidth constraints of PCIE-2 anymore, so two 8x aren't really of a problem :)

    There are a number of micro-ATX cases that sport 5 slots... They're still smaller than a mid-tower full-up ATX case.
  • alwayssts - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    I'm with you on's funny how many people want what we do. Here is my plan:

    I use a PC-C50b because I agree Matx in the most sensible form-factor these days. The case can house a Noctua C14 and still fit in an entertainment rack, what else do you really need? I would not call it exceptionally large. Case has 4 CONVENTIONAL slots...but a fifth at an angle so you could use with a flexible riser.

    I very well might find myself going dual-GPU as soon as 4k60 connectivity and televisions are a consumer reality...but I know I will want one of those spiffy ROG pci-e SSDs. I suppose SATA will be a reality at some point around that time, but we'll see.

    I really wish the cards could sit next to each other because the riser slot is perpendicular, and will probably be pretty terrible for a graphics card...but that's how it has to be.
  • vailr - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    What about DDR4? Will Intel offer a revised chipset (Z88?) for DDR4 + Haswell CPU's later this year? Reply
  • sticks435 - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    No, DDR4 will most likely debut on the new Enthusiast boards (X79 or X89 or X99). It will be either 2014 or 15 before we see it on mainstream boards. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Haswell doesn't seem to support DDR4. The memory support is based on the CPU since a few generations back, not the motherboard/chipset anymore. Haswell-E might support DDR4 by the looks of it. Reply
  • Sm0kes - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Really interested to see if Thunderbolt can make any meaningful advances..... if not this year, i suspect this will be dead technology. Was really looking forward to seeing eGPU's become a reality. Reply
  • xTRICKYxx - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Thunderbolt only has a PCI x4 access so a AMD Radeon HD 6670 is going to fully saturate it....

    I want to believe Intel will fix this so eGPU's can succeed!
  • Jaybus - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Haswell uses the same x4 configuration, but with PCIe 3.0 and a bandwidth of 20 Gbps. Since that matches the current max Thunderbolt spec, why would they use more than 4 lanes? There simply isn't a lot of headroom for going > 20 Gbps over copper without limiting the cable length to only a few cm..They are working on silicon photonics to integrate a chip level optical interconnect to make optical Thunderbolt cheap enough, but until then there just isn't much need for more than 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes. Reply
  • bobbozzo - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    on P1, "Within that is the cost for the chipset (a not-significant cost)"

    Do you mean not-INsignificant?

    thanks for the article!
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Well, any of the mATX motherboards look good. My preferred brand is Gigabyte for the good value and performance. Asus usually when I have the money laying around and want a feature or two they offer. AsRock is also good if they are competitive with Gigabyte by being cheaper or offering more for the same money. The other manufacturers I have little experience or dodgy experience with. :D
    I would like a mATX with good overclocking, Intel NICs, decent onboard sound, 8 SATA connectors and maybe mSATA. I don't need wifi, more than 8 SATA, more than 2 USB 3.0, LCDs, reset/power buttons onboard, SLI/CF support or anything fancy like that.
  • Egg - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Am I misinterpreting something, or do post of the lower end boards include PCI? I thought some of them would drop it, as people with the expansion cards that need it often will look for better boards, and it now needs an extra controller. Reply
  • meacupla - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    They fill in the gap between the business (B series) and enthusiast (Z series) chipset. Reply
  • Diagrafeas - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    I see that the previous generation trend continues.
    They have 2 Physical PCI Express x16 slots and the one is electrically x4.
    Why not x8?
    And these boards are too few. Most have 3 PCI Express x16 physical.
    Seriously how many people use three graphic cards?
  • meacupla - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    For that matter, most people's needs can be satisfied with mATX or mITX.
    1x video card, if at all.
    1x premium sound card, if at all.

    The only reason to use ATX is if you want to give your video cards some breathing room.
  • Someguyperson - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    I would really like to see a roundup of all the mITX boards. mITX seems to be the future and it seems like all the integration of everything in Haswell would really make a much better product than the last generation. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    I second that, if only because mITX is usually a second thought to ATX and mATX. Reply
  • silenceisgolden - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Really surprising that I don't see these specs, together on any of the boards:

    2 USB3 headers onboard
    PS/2 omitted
    2 USB2 headers
    Wi-Fi AC (also, Wi-Fi Direct anyone?)
    PCIe layout of x8, x16 bypass, x8, x1, x8, x1, x8
    10 6G/s SATA

    I think the closest I can get is the Gigabyte z87X-OC Force, but it still seams to be missing Wi-Fi. I think there will be a decent market for USB3 Wi-Fi ac sticks during this generation.
  • silenceisgolden - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    I also don't get why DVI and especially VGA are included on any model for this generation. Seems like a huge waste of space. Reply
  • JDG1980 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    DVI allows the use of cheap 1440p monitors from South Korea.

    That said, I think enthusiast boards should break out all the video connectors on PCI brackets, so people who will be using discrete cards (probably a majority of buyers) can get a clean I/O panel.
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    People could use a $5 cable from Newegg to turn an HDMI output into an DVI though. They have cables that go the other way too, but then you're limited by the DVI port(no sound, etc). Reply
  • silenceisgolden - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    We're going to start seeing 4K panels hit the US soon enough though, and I'd rather a 1600p panel over those 1440p ones to be honest. And that PCIe board sounds like a brilliant idea, but Intel wants to shut out the graphics market except the very high end, not cater to gamers. Reply
  • Azethoth - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    PS/2 omitted is an ignorant request: PS/2 keyboards remain superior to USB based keyboards.

    You can read all about it in the various excellent high end keyboard articles. The bottom line is that PS/2 can accurately detect whatever you type in: single keys, multiple keys, chords, all the way up to a full faceroll. USB keyboards are lucky if they can manage above 6-key rollover, some high end ones trumpet their prowess at 20-key rollover. There are other issues as well.

    Now my APM is too low to care so I am rocking said USB based 20-key rollover capable Corsair K-90 and every time I feel like facerolling or bashing the keyboard double handed like a monkey on meth I just refrain. However, a lot of people will not give up their superior PS/2 hardware.
  • silenceisgolden - Sunday, May 26, 2013 - link

    Well if everyone has settled on USB, why put PS/2 on anything besides maybe 1 high-end/gaming motherboard per brand. I think most people have settled on USB, and the ratio of motherboards that have PS/2 ports to motherboards sold is way greater than the ratio of people using PS/2 ports to the amount of people with PS/2 ports. Reply
  • JDG1980 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    You won't see all these features together because they are designed for different audiences. mSATA and Wi-Fi are most useful on Mini-ITX boards where portability and size are issues; full size workstations generally use regular SATA, and most enthusiasts have Ethernet connections on the desktop.

    Adding more than the standard number of SATA ports or USB3 headers might not be supported by the base chipset, thus requiring extra ICs, driving up costs. This means you're only going to find it in an enthusiast board. Of course, if you have an enthusiast board, you could always add another SATA host adapter and/or USB3 adapter to one of your PCIe slots.
  • silenceisgolden - Sunday, May 26, 2013 - link

    With an enthusiast board, however, most of the PCIe slots will be filled and on my current rig I already use a USB3 adapter since the motherboard is old. However, I'd like to get rid of it, not continue with it on my new motherboard/cpu combo. Most motherboards at the enthusiast level seem to have 10 SATA ports so I'm not as worried about that. I'll give you that mSATA might not be great, but I can think of uses for Wi-Di, and I believe that needs to be motherboard solution (or maybe an adapter, but that's another $50-70 on top of the price). Reply
  • EnzoFX - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    So for the ASRock ITX board, the 8pin cpu connector needs to be on the edge? Isn't it more common to see it in the middle? So Asus has one on the edge and suddenly it's a necessity? =p

    Not arguing the benefit, just saying.
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  • krutou - Sunday, May 26, 2013 - link

    hurrah for pyramid schemes Reply
  • tackle70 - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    To be honest, and this may seem very vain to some, I just look for whichever high end motherboard has the best aesthetic to go with my build. I trust that once you get to a certain point ($~200+), all the big name boards (ASUS/Gigabyte/ASRock/MSI) are going to be quality stuff with more features than I will use.

    So it all comes down to aesthetics for me. I bought the ASRock z68 extreme7 gen3 because I liked the black/gold look to go with my lightning 7970s (MSI didn't have any black/yellow motherboards out yet at the time). And I always find ASUS' black and red stuff hideous on the ROG boards, so I stay away.
  • Razorbak86 - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    That's funny. I love red and black boards, and I think all gold-colored boards looks gaudy. I went with the ASUS Maximus V Formula. Reply
  • n0x1ous - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    I hate both red/black and black/gold. for me I prefer blue/black or green/black so Gigabyte gets the nod Reply
  • Flunk - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    This article is great, it gives a great overview of all these boards that will help me better recommend boards to all the people who ask me about it this year. Looking forward to the in-depth reviews later. Reply
  • goinginstyle - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Looks like Gigabyte copied all of Asus' last generation features, MSI copied Gigabyte and Asus while ASRock copied all three. The only thing left to determine is if any of the copies work as good as the original. Of all the boards I wanted to see, the ASUS Formula is missing as I have the current MVF but their mITX board looks killer and is something I will have to buy this time. Reply
  • Razorbak86 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    I also have the MVF. Awesome board, especially for a water cooling set-up. I was disappointed to see that the new Hero (which presumably is replacing the Formula as the middle-SKU in the ROG series) dropped the water-cooling barbs on the VRM heatsink. That's one nice feature on the MVF that should have been carried forward. Reply
  • ssudershan - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    No mention of Thunderbolt support/presence on any of these motherboards? Is it still under wraps or will they see the light when these models get finalized? Reply
  • Azethoth - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Well I only care about two of the boards:
    ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme
    ASUS Z87-Deluxe

    But combine the pictures with and there you have two boards that totally support TB in theory but due to Thunderbolt-EX-Card-Availability = not, it never actually will unless Asus gets its asus in gear.
  • Gigaplex - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    An upgradeable OpAmp in the Gigabyte board somehow means expensive speakers aren't required? Um... no. You'd need fairly decent speakers to even notice the difference between 2 half-decent OpAmps. Reply
  • Jaybus - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    As always. it is the speakers, not the electronics, that are the key to premium sound. After all, that is what is actually moving air to make the sound waves. Good speakers generally require more power, so I suspect it is the current handling capability of the op amps that is the issue, not the op amp quality. Reply
  • cjs150 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Love ASUS black and gold theme.

    Will be going for MATX board but they all look to have the same flaw: top GPU slot is too close to bottom of RAM sockets. I watercool my GPU and the extra thickness of the GPU card means that many of the RAM cooling fan add ons either will not fit or are very tight (and yes I have fried my RAM before by not cooling sufficiently). I guess I will have to water cool the RAM as well!
  • This Guy - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    I took the vailed hints on Anandtech and went 120Hz, 1440p. Asrock's HDMI input is extremely interesting as I could run a 360 though my PC and have "one" dedicated gaming system.

    To bad Asrock didn't copy Gigabyte's mATX PCIe configuration... A sli/crossfire mATX with PCIe sound card and HDMI input would have been awesome!
  • MadAd - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Omg so many full size boards, who will buy them all?

    Ian I only want to see you test one thing, an A-Style in your own water table :D
  • JimmiG - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    So many boards... They're certainly not running out of ways to differentiate just because more stuff is on the CPU these days. Personally I don't see the point in paying $400+ for a mobo just because it has fancy (useless) heatsinks bolted all over it. Reply
  • MartinT - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    It's strange to think of chosing your last ever motherboard, but this generation has that kind of feeling to me. Reply
  • araczynski - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    i look forward to finding a side by side complete line spec comparison some day. always hated trying to make a decision on a mobo since they each started spewing out a dozen parts to do the same thing. probably won't hurt to just wait and let the early adopters deal with the bugs either. Reply
  • Creig - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    No mention of the the Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H?,exclu...
  • n0x1ous - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Love this article. Great job giving us an overview and images of the ranges. Gigabyte gets the nod from me as usual for aesthetics and a much better looking UEFI bios than the Z77 range. Reply
  • Kougar - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    What are you most interested in?

    The VRM & mosfets was intriguing to read about. If GB is using IR3550 mosfets in the UD5 and ASUS isn't even matching them in its Workstation class motherboard, then I naturally wonder what other PWM & related power delivery choices they differ on. Does GB use them for the memory, chipset, and anything else?

    Based on google each single IR chip runs $3 in 10K unit quantities.... no wonder ASUS is using alternatives? Good primer on the IR3550's at
  • Rovek - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    i`m interested if i can overclock an Intel Core i5-4570 to 4GHz on a 100 EURO MB Reply
  • Adirzv - Sunday, May 26, 2013 - link

    Is there any motherboard that supports 4 displays out of the box? I'm not into gaming, 3D performance is zero for me. I just need 4 monitors for multiple financial application. I'll probably buy the 4770k and i like my system as silent as possible. I would really like to get rid of the video card, which is the loudest component in my system Reply
  • emperius - Thursday, June 06, 2013 - link

    Hehe I know what your up to, I also need the same setup. I doubt a mobo has 4 display out without any mods to it that may reduce performance significantly and look tacky. But yet again it's either a single graphics card with 4 displays out or perhaps, in the near close future, Thunderbolt and later daisy chain 4 displays...... Reply
  • Bad213Boy - Thursday, May 30, 2013 - link

    How could you not mention MSI’s Ceasefire which is infact a swtich that can disable an unused expansion slot so that it can transfer the extra lanes to an occupied slot for full use. This is huge IMO. I haven't heard of any other motherboard doing this. Reply
  • Dil2020 - Sunday, August 04, 2013 - link

    Since someone at anandtech has gone to all this trouble of providing details of various motherboards, could someone please answer a simple question:

    Does the ASUS Z87-WS supports ECC memory?

    It does support Xeon processors.

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