ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout and Features

ASUS is without a doubt one of the top manufacturers of computer components out there today. If you've been building your own computers for any length of time, you have most likely used one of their products in a build. Today we are going to look at one of their Intel Z87 LGA1150 motherboard for the latest Intel 'Haswell' platform. The ASUS Z87-Pro can currently be found for as little as $199.00 shipped. When considering everything you get with this ASUS motherboard, it almost seems like a steal!

As you undoubtedly figured out, the ASUS Z87-Pro features the Intel Z87 Express chipset and all the latest features that come with it. One of the features that is selling me on the Intel Z87 upgrade path is the fact that gone are the days of SATA II Ports, the Z87 chipset, and hence the ASUS Z87-Pro feature all SATA III 6Gbps ports. Of course that's only one of the many features that we get with the Intel Z87 chipset. Intel has doubled the number of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports from two to four over the previous Intel 'Ivy Bridge' Z77 platform.

All the goodness of the Intel Z87 chipset and the 'Haswell' platform aside, we're here to focus on the ASUS Z87-Pro LGA1150 motherboard. According to ASUS, the Z87-Pro features 'Perfect one-stop system optimization and enhanced Wi-Fi control on Intel Z87'. It boils down to three key features, more specifically three key sets of features. Starting with Dual Intelligent Processors 4 with 4-way optimization for one click and done. The second key features is the Wi-Fi GO! which is designed to create the perfect fusion of desktop, smartphones, and tablets. Last but not least is the Fan Xpert 2, this is easily one of the most customizable sets of fan controls out there. The culmination of these three sets of features certainly lays the ground work for a killer system.

The ASUS Z87-Pro Intelligent Processors 4 and 4-way optimization are really a unique feature that are a great way to easily tweak your system. If you're looking for performance you can set the system up with a quick overclock, if you want to conserve some electricity you can enable the EPU and you're saving power and money without sacrificing performance.

ASUS Z87-Pro Wi-Fi GO!

 The ASUS Z87-Pro is outfitted with the latest, greatest version of the ASUS exclusive Wi-Fi GO! technology. One of the aspects about the Wi-Fi GO! technology on the ASUS Z87-Pro that is great, is the ability to set-up a wireless network without the use of another router. It's the little things like this that go unnoticed by many that will separate this board

ASUS Z87-Pro UEFI BIOS

ASUS has made a number of changes to their UEFI BIOS in both the EZ Mode, and the Advanced mode. The two most significant changes in the EZ Mode are the EZ Fan settings and the EZ XMP Settings. The Previous generation of UEFI BIOS you needed to navigate through the advanced BIOS settings to locate both the fan controls and the XMP Profile. This latest generation ASUS has put it right on the EZ Mode! My personal favorite change to the UEFI BIOS is the last modified page. When you save and exit a pop-up window comes up showing what has been changed this time around in the BIOS. I would be amiss if I were to tell you that I haven't changed the wrong setting in the past, this is one feature I have really enjoyed using.

ASUS Z87-Pro LGA1150 Motherboard Specifications

CPU
  • Intel Socket 1150 for 4th Generation Core i7/Core i5/Core i3/Pentium/Celeron Processors
  • Supports Intel 22 nm CPU
  • Supports Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Chipset
  • Intel Z87
Memory
  • 4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 3000(O.C.)/2933(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2600(O.C.)/2500(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2200(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/2000(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600/1333 MHz Non-ECC,
  • Un-buffered Memory
  • Dual Channel Memory Architecture
  • Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
Graphic

Integrated Graphics Processor

Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DVI-D/RGB/DisplayPort 1.2 ports

  • Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
  • Supports DVI-D with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
  • Supports RGB with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
  • Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz
  • Maximum shared memory of 1024 MB
  • Supports Intel HD Graphics, InTru 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider
  • Supports up to 3 displays simultaneously
Multi-GPU Support
  • Supports NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI Technology
  • Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology
  • Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technology
Expansion Slots
  • 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
  • 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode) *3
  • 4 x PCIe 2.0 x1
Storage

Intel® Z87 chipset :

  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), yellow
  • Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
  • Supports Intel Dynamic Storage Accelerator, Intel Smart Response Technology, Intel Rapid Start Technology, Intel Smart Connect Technology

ASMedia ASM1061 controller : 

  • 2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), dark brown
LAN
  • Intel I217V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
  • Intel LAN- Dual interconnect between the Integrated LAN controller and Physical Layer (PHY)
Wireless Data Network
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz
Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth V4.0
  • Bluetooth V3.0+HS
Audio

Realtek ALC1150 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC

  • Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
  • High quality 112 dB SNR stereo playback output (Line-out at rear) and 104 dB SNR recording input (Line-in)

Audio Feature :

  • Absolute Pitch 192kHz/ 24-bit True BD Lossless Sound
  • DTS Ultra PC II
  • DTS Connect
  • Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
  • BD Audio Layer Content Protection
USB Ports

Intel Z87 chipset :

  • 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)

Intel Z87 chipset :

  • 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 port(s) (8 at mid-board)

ASMedia USB 3.0 controller :

  • 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue)
Special Features

ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 4 with 4-Way Optimization :

  • The tuning key perfectly consolidates ASUS-exclusive DIGI+ Power Control, TPU, EPU, and Fan Xpert 2 optimize the digital power setting, system performance, power saving and whole system cooling configuration

ASUS 5X PROTECTION :

  • ASUS DIGI+ VRM - 12 Phase digital power design
  • ASUS Enhanced DRAM Overcurrent Protection - Short circuit damage prevention
  • ASUS ESD Guards - Enhanced ESD protection
  • ASUS All 5K-Hour Solid Capacitors - 2.5x long lifespan with excellent durability
  • ASUS Stainless Steel Back I/O - 3x more durable corrosion-resistant coating

ASUS EPU :

  • EPU
  • EPU switch

ASUS Digital Power Design :

  • Industry leading Digital 12 Phase Power Design
  • Industry leading Digital 2 Phase DRAM Power Design
  • ASUS DIGI+ VRM Utility
  • CPU Power Utility
  • DRAM Power Utility ASUS Wi-Fi GO!

Wi-Fi GO! Function:

  • Cloud GO!, DLNA Media Hub, Smart Sensor Control, Remote Desktop, Remote Keyboard & Mouse, File Transfer, Capture & Send
  • Wi-Fi Engine for network sharing and connection: Client Mode, AP Mode
  • Wi-Fi GO! & NFC Remote for portable Smartphone/Tablet, supporting iOS & Android systems

ASUS Exclusive Features :

  • USB BIOS Flashback
  • MemOK!
  • AI Suite 3
  • Ai Charger+
  • USB Charger+
  • Anti-Surge
  • Onboard Button : Power
  • Front Panel USB 3.0 Support
  • ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface
  • Network iControl
  • USB 3.0 Boost
  • Disk Unlocker

ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :

  • Stylish Fanless Design Heat-sink solution
  • ASUS Fan Xpert 2

ASUS EZ DIY :

  • DirectKey
  • Precision Tweaker 2
  • ASUS O.C. Profile
  • ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
  • ASUS EZ Flash 2
  • Multi-language BIOS

ASUS Q-Design :

  • ASUS Q-Code
  • ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
  • ASUS Q-Slot
  • ASUS Q-DIMM
  • ASUS Q-Connector

100% All High-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors

Overclocking Protection :

  • ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Back I/O Ports
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
  • 1 x DVI-D
  • 1 x D-Sub
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
  • 6 x USB 3.0 (blue)
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
  • 6 x Audio jack(s)
  • 1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth v4.0/3.0+HS)
Internal I/O Ports
  • 1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)
  • 4 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 8 USB 2.0 port(s)
  • 1 x TPM header
  • 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
  • 1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
  • 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
  • 4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 x 4 -pin)
  • 1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
  • 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
  • 1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
  • 1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
  • 1 x DirectKey Button(s)
  • 1 x DRCT header(s)
  • 1 x MemOK! button(s)
  • 1 x TPU switch(es)
  • 1 x EPU switch(es)
  • 1 x Power-on button(s)
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
  • 1 x USB BIOS Flashback button(s)
Accessories
  • User's manual I/O Shield
  • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
  • 1 x ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n compliant)
  • 1 x SLI bridge(s)
  • 1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
BIOS
  • 64 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.7, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3, My Favorites, Quick Note, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, F3 Shortcut functions, and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information
Manageability
  • WfM 2.0, DMI 2.7, WOL by PME, PXE
Support Disc
  • Drivers
  • ASUS Utilities
  • EZ Update
  • Anti-virus software (OEM version)
Form Factor
  • ATX Form Factor
  • 12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

ASUS Z87-Pro Retail Packaging

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The ASUS Z87-Pro retail packaging is slick looking and to the point. They left most of the marketing text for the back of the packaging but they do point out some of the key features. A couple of the things they do boast about is the Dual Intelligent Processors 4, SLI Support, and of course CrossFire Support.  Along the bottom edge of the packaging we can see the key ASUS specific feature like TPU System Upgrade, EPU Energy Savings, Wi-Fi Go!, Digi+ precise power control, and the Ultimate cool and quiet combination with Fan Xpert 2. It's not exceedingly informational, but certainly enough to peek the interest enough to get hands on in a retail location if you're fortunate enough to have one that carries top tier boards.

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The front of the retail packaging for the ASUS Z87-Pro may not have an awful lot of information, the back of the packing is a different story. Along the left side we can see a specification list as well as a general layout of the Z87-Pro motherboard. Along the right we have a detail description of some of the features on the front including the Dual Intelligent Processors 4 with 4-Way optimization, Wi-Fi Go!, USB BIOS Flashback, and USB 3.0 Boost.

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging

Opening up the packaging for the ASUS Z87-Pro motherboard we can catch our first obscured look at the ASUS Z87 Motherboard. In addition to our first peek we can take note that the board is securely packaged in place and isn't going to shift much during the horrors of the shipping journey.

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging

Beneath the motherboard we can find our bundle that accompanies the ASUS Z87-Pro motherboard. It isn't a super extensive bundle but it is certainly enough to get the job done. The ASUS Z87-Pro has four SATA cables, two of which feature a right angle connector on one end. There is the antenna for the Wi-Fi Go!, 2-way SLI Bridge, I/O shield, manuals, driver disc, and the ASUS Q-Connectors.

ASUS Z87-Pro Motherboard Layout

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout and Features

I'm not typically one to care about colors, but I'm not a fan of the black and gold look that ASUS has started using with their Intel Z87 motherboards. With that being said, ultimately the color combination doesn't matter to me as long as the motherboard has the performance and features that I'm looking for when building a system. As we've seen so far the ASUS Z87-Pro certainly isn't lacking in features. For the most part the ASUS Z87-Pro has a typical layout, Intel LGA1150 over on the left, PCIe x16 Gen 3 slots on the right, ASUS puts a lot of work in to the layout of their board so let's take a closer look at the more ASUS specific features.

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout and Features

The ASUS Z87-Pro motherboard features the standard four DIMM slots and will support memory up to 3000MHz(O.C.) and a maximum of 32GB! To the right of the DIMM slots is the CPU 4pin fan header (gold) as well as the optional CPU 4pin header. To the left of the ATX form factor mounting hole is the DRAM LED and MemOK! button. The MemOK! button will help to remedy any memory compatibility issues your system may have. Personally I have never needed to use the MemOK! feature, all the memory I have used has worked great on previous generations and I expect that Intel Z87 won't be any different. Continuing our tour of the Z87-Pro, we can find a 4pin Chassis fan header with the 24pin motherboard power just beyond.

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout and Features

The ASUS Z87-Pro is equipped with eight SATA III 6Gbps ports, though with the latest Intel Z87 chipset six are native to the chipset and only two are from a third party. In the case of the ASUS Z87-Pro we have a ASMedia ASM1061 to thank for the dark brown SATA ports. To the left of the SATA ports as a pair of switches, the EPU switch when enabled can and does help conserve power. The TPU switch will tune your system for performance, so it all depends on what your mood and need are as to which one you might use. Running our eyeballs up the edge of the ASUS Z87-Pro we can see the pin-out for the front panel which includes the power/reset switches, HDD activity lights, Power LED, and the system speaker. Following the front panel pin-out is a 4pin Chassis fan header and four internal USB 2.0 headers.

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout and Features

Swinging the ASUS Z87-Pro we can start making out the various chips that give the ASUS Z87-Pro the technology that make it the board it is. Next to the group of five capacitors we can see the Realtek ALC1150 high definition audio codec, moving right we have the Nuvoton NCT679ID Super I/O controller. Behind the various chips is the ever-so-important expansion slots. The ASUS Z87-Pro features three PCIe x16 slots, though running dual cards in the gold and first black slot will limit the bandwidth to x8. The second black PCIe x16 slot is limited to x4. Along the edge of the PCB we can see several of the onboard buttons, the first one this side of the internal USB 2.0 slots is the BIOS flashback followed by the DirectKey which brings the UEFI BIOS up on the next boot. Be aware though, the DirectKey shuts the system down as soon as you press it. Continuing down the edge of the ASUS Z87-Pro we have the Debug LED, Power button, TB_Header, front panel audio, and the T.P.M. (Trusted Platform Module) header.

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout and Features

Looking down at the top of the I/O panel and the back corner of the ASUS Z87-Pro motherboard we can see that there is a single 8pin CPU power plug along the edge of the PCB.

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout and Features

One of the standout features of the Intel Z87 Chipset and Haswell processor combinations is the ability to drive three monitors without the use of a discrete level graphics card. In order to accomplish this tast the ASUS Z87-Pro has four different display adapters on the I/O panel, 1xHDMI, 1xDisplayPort, 1xVGA, and 1xDVI. In addition to the display options ASUS has equipped the Z87-Pro with six SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports. four of which are run off of the ASMedia controller and two are native to the Intel Z87 Chipset. In case you're wondering the four ASMedia SS USB 3.0 ports are on the left while the two Intel Z87 SS USB 3.0 ports are directly under the RJ45 jack. To the right of the ASMedia USB 3.0 ports we can see the antenna plugs for the Wi-Fi Go!. If you're looking for audio connections there isn't much missing on the ASUS Z87-Pro, we have an Optical SPDIF out as well as the usual six 3.5mm audio ports. The RJ45 network jack is powered by the Intel I217V Gigabit LAN controller.

The Legit Reviews Test System

Before we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 8 Enterprise 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. We completely overhauled our test setup for the Intel Core i7-4770K processor launch, so we are starting over from scratch when it comes to testing everything. For this review will be comparing Intel Z77, Intel Z87 and AMD FM2 platforms. These platforms are aimed at mainstream users and all feature integrated graphics, so it will be interesting to see how the systems compare. We understand that there is a significant price difference between some of the processors we will be testing, but the platforms are targeted to the same consumer group.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Test System

The Intel Z87 platform that we used to test the Intel 1150 processors was running the ASUS Z87-Pro wsa running the initial BIOS that came out on 6/03/2013. The Corsair Dominator Platnium 8GB 2133MHz memory kit was set to XMP 1.3 memory profile settings, which is 1.5v and 9-11-10-27 2T memory timings. The Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD uses 19nm NAND and was using M310 firmware.

testsysteminfo_550

 Here is a quick look at the CPU-Z information for our main test system that we'll be doing the testing on.

z87-pro-system-settings-2

The Intel HD Graphics 4600 that from the Intel Core i7-4770K

Intel LGA1150 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Core i7-4770K

Motherboard

ASUS Z87-Pro Click Here

Memory

8GB Donimator 2133MHz Click Here

Video Card

ASUS GeForce GTX670 DirectCU II Click Here

Hard Drive

Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD

Click Here

Cooling

Corsair H100i

Click Here

Keyboard

Corsair K90

Click Here

Mouse

Corsair M95

Click Here

Power Supply

Corsair AX860i

Click Here

Operating System

Windows 8 64-Bit

Click Here

It was noticed as we wrapped up the charts that something didn't look quite right with our results. After a little bit of digging around the various system I noticed that when enabling the XMP profile on the ASUS Z87-Pro the core ratio was left on auto. This left the system at Intel specifications. When looking at the settings for the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero I saw that along with the memory being set to XMP profile, the CPU Core ratio was being set to 'Sync All Cores'. This gave the Hero an edge over the Z87-Pro since all of the cores would be running at 3.9GHz. We asked ASUS about this and they told us that the mainstream boards were left to run at the Intel specs as these boards were more likely to run default cooling and they didn't want to exceed the cooling capabilities of the stock cooling configuration. The performance boards like the ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero are targeted at enthusiasts and are much less likely to be using the stock cooling and the cooling system can likely handle the increased heat from the cores all running at 3.9GHz.

ASUS Z87-Pro Z87 Default CPU Core Ratio Settings

ASUS Z87-Pro Z87 Default CPU Core Ratio Settings

ASUS Z87-Pro Z87 Sync All Cores

ASUS Z87-Pro Z87 Sync All Cores

Futuremark 3DMark 2013

3Dmark Fire Strike Benchmark Results - For high performance gaming PCs

Use Fire Strike to test the performance of dedicated gaming PCs, or use the Fire Strike Extreme preset for high-end systems with multiple GPUs. Fire Strike uses a multi-threaded DirectX 11 engine to test DirectX 11 hardware.

3DMark Fire Strike

 Fire Strike Benchmark Results - Intel HD Graphics:

Futuremark 3DMark 2013 Firestrike

Benchmark Results: All of the Intel LGA1150 motherboards run the Intel Core i7-4770K "Haswell" processor with Intel HD Graphics 4600 and the results are fairly close. The ASUS Z87-PRO LGA 1150 scores on par with the other Intel Z87 boards on the GPU test section, but the physics score was 500 points lower. Once we discovered the issue that the XMP Profiles were being configured differently between the boards, we decided to run the ASUS Z87-Pro both ways. Enabling the 'Sync All Cores' in the ASUS Z87-Pro UEFI BIOS brought our results right inline with our other Intel 'Haswell' Motherboards. Our physics score was 10892 points versus the original 10321 points.

Futuremark 3DMark 2013 Firestrike

Benchmark Results: When it comes to discrete graphics performance we used an ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II video card and again saw the ASUS Z87-Pro running faster than the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H and the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero motherboards in the overall and graphics tests, but lower in the Physics test. Once we ran the system with the system to sync all cores everything was spot on with our other boards again.

SiSoftware Sandra 2013 SP1a

Sisoftware Sandra 2011 SP5

The Sisoftware Sandra 2012 SP3 benchmark utility just came out a few weeks ago and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. Sandra 2012 comes with support for Virtualisation (Virtual PC/Server, Hyper-V, VMware) and GPGPU (OpenCL, DirectX 11 DirectCompute), but today we will be using the program to look at memory and CPU performance!

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Sandra 2013 SP1a Memory Benchmark Scores

Benchmark Results: The ASUS Z87-Pro was able to average 27.98GB/s and 27.86GB/s with the system running the Intel XMP profile and the rest of the settings on auto. Once we set the ASUS Z87-Pro to sync all cores like we have seen on the ASUS ROG Hero the bandwidth jumped to 28.08GB/s and 28.05GB/p. It isn't a world breaking difference but nice to see a gain from such a simple settings.

Metro Last Light

Metro: Last Light is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features action-oriented gameplay with a combination of survival horror elements. It uses the 4A Game engine and was released in May 2013.

Metro: Last Light

Metro Last Light was benchmarked with Ultra settings

Metro Last Light - Intel HD Graphics

metro-intel

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was once again able to take a slight lead of the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero motherboard. But that's not the big news, at 1280x1024 the Z87X-UD3H was able to outperform the Intel 'Ivy Bridge' system by 6.553 fps or 38%! Increasing the resolution to 1920x1080 the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was able to average 16.717 frames per second which is 36.6% faster than the 12.24 fps average on the MSI Z77A-GD65. 

Metro Last Light - ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II

metro-ll-gtx670

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 motherboard was able to average 63.237 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 47.473 frames per second at 1920x1080. At 1280x1024 this is a improvement of nearly 1.8 fps or2.9% over the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming 'Ivy Bridge' system. Once we bumped up the resolution to 1920x1080 the average frame rate dropped to 47.473 frames per second on the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H, though it's still nearly 1.9% faster than the Intel 'Ivy Bridge' system.

Hitman: Absolution

Hitman: Absolution is an action-adventure stealth DirecX 11 video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix. It is the fifth entry in the Hitman game series, and runs on IO Interactive's proprietary Glacier 2 game engine. This game title uses the Glacier 2 game engine and was released on November 20th, 2012.

hitmanabsolution_550.

We benchmarked Hitman: Absolution with Ultra Settings.

Hitman Absolution - Intel HD Graphics

hitman-absolution-intel

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 motherboard and Intel Core i7 4770K were able to sustain playable frame rates, well at least at 1280x1024. At 1280x1024 the GIGABYTE board was able to average 29.433 frames per second. Once we increased the resolution our average dropped to 20.5 frames per second. Still much faster than the Intel 'Ivy Bridge' system that averaged 23.533 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 16.4 frames per second at 1920x1080!

Hitman Absolution - ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II

hitman-absolution-gtx670

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was able to average 44.367 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 32.2 frames per second at 1920x1080. This was .9 fps or 2.1% faster at 1280x1024 and .833 fps or 2.7% faster at 1920x1080.

Cinebench

MAXON; CINEBENCH R11.5:

MAXON recently released CINEBENCH Release 11.5, an advanced hardware testing suite that assesses a computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on the same powerful technology as MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. The new version of CINEBENCH includes the ability to more accurately test the industry’s latest hardware, including systems with up to 64 processor threads, and the testing environment better reflects the expectations of today’s production demands. A more streamlined interface makes testing systems and reading results incredibly straightforward. Again, higher Frames/Second and point score equal better performance.

Cinebench R11.5

Cinebench R11.5 was able to put a 100% load across all the cores on all of the processors, which makes this a great benchmark to look at multi-core platforms.

Cinebench R11.5 Results

Benchmark Results: The ASUS Z87-Pro with all cores synced took the top spot in Cinebench R11.5 when running the all cores benchmark with a score of 8.58. Running the single core benchmark it was a different story and was the slowest of all the Intel 'Haswell' boards. Running the ASUS Z87-Pro using only the Intel XMP profile the all cores benchmark scored only 8.14 while the single core benchmark scored the second highest with a score of 1.76 points..

X264 HD Video Encoding Benchmark

x264 HD Encoding Benchmark

Simply put, the x264 HD Benchmark is a reproducible measure of how fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It's nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other. We are using x264 HD v5.0.1 for this test.

x264 HD Encoding Benchmark

This application did fairly well when run on 12 threads, as you can see from the screen shot above. The first pass was not using all of the processing power available on the cores, but on the second pass all 12 threads were at ~95% load.

x264 HD Encoding Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Once we enabled the sync all cores in the ASUS UEFI BIOS on the Z87-Pro the performance was right on par with the other Intel 'Haswell' boards we have previously tested. The Z87-Pro with all cores synced had an average performance of 85.06 frames per second on the first pass which fell between the ASUS ROG Hero average of 85.25 and the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H average of 84.83 frames per second. The second pass average of the Z87-Pro was a solid 17.32 frames per second which is a hair behind the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero and the GIGABYTE Z87-UD3H. When we ran the ASUS Z87-Pro with only the XMP Profile the Z87-Pro had an average of 80.1 frames per second, nearly 5 frames per second slower on the first pass. The second pass was an average of 16.44 frames per second, .88 frames per second or 5% behind.

Wi-Fi & LAN Testing

We wanted to test the Wi-Fi GO! wireless adapter in a real world application so we connected the antenna's. installed it inside running Windows 7 64-bit and configured it using “Automatic” settings for both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. To test the wireless performance we used our custom water cooled Mini-ITX PC that was directly connected to the ASUS RT-AC66U Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 Gigabit 802.11ac Router.

asus80211acrouter

We used the desktop to run LAN Speed Server and then ran LAN Speed Test on the system with the wireless card to test throughput.

signal_550

We left the router in default mode, so the SSID name for untouched and we let it automatically choose the channel to connect to.  This means that the router was left in “Unsecure Mode” (for fastest data throughput), and with WMM / QoS turned ON. After connecting, we ran the PC application LAN Speed Test (LST) to measure file transfer and network speeds. LST builds a file in memory and then transfers the packet without the effects of windows file caching.  It then reports the time and calculates the network speed. We ran inSSIDer to make sure the networks were not overlapping with any of the 20+ surrounding ones and they were not.

1MB Packets:

lanspeedtest

First up was the Wi-Fi Go! with 1MB packets. Our average upload to the server was 85.6Mbps and the average download was 233.0Mbps.

100MB Packets:

5ghz-close-1

Increasing the packet size to 100MB we lost a little bit of performance from the 1MB tests. Our Upload speed dropped to 82.1Mbps, a loss of just over 3Mbps while our average download speed dropped to 178.1Mbps. That's a loss of 55Mbps or 23.6% between the two series of tests!

Intel I217V 1MB Packets:

Intel I series Gigabit Ethernet Controller Performance

Running the LAN Speed Test over the wired network was obviously going to be much faster than the Wi-Fi GO!, our upload speed in the 1MB packet test was 819.6Mbps and our download speed was 925.5Mbps!

Intel I217V 100MB Packets:

Intel I series Gigabit Ethernet Controller Performance

Increasing the packet size to 100MB our upload performance dropped from 819.6Mbps to 799.6Mbps, not a major dip in the performance, the download speed remained virtually unchanged on the Intel I217V Gigabit Ethernet controller and averaged 925.4Mbps.

Rightmark Audio Analyzer Performance

RightMark Audio Analyzer

The RightMark Audio Analyzer suite is designed for testing quality of analog and digital paths of any audio devices, be it a sound card, an MP3 player, a consumer CD/DVD player or an acoustic set. The results are obtained by playing and recording test signals passed through the tested audio path by means of frequency analysis algorithms. The latest version of RightMark Audio Analyzer can be found here.

RightMark Audio Analyzer Results

Rightmark Audio Analyzer Comparison Chart

asus-z87-pro-audio-s

The ASUS Z87-Pro takes advantage of the latest Realtek ALC1150 High Definition Audio Codec. While it may have received the same General Performance rating of Very Good as the ASUS Maximus VI Hero, the individual scores didn't do as well. Many of the individual scores of the ASUS Z87-Pro were lower than the Maximus VI Hero which uses a more refined audio solution with the ASUS Supreme FX.

Intel Z87 SATA III 6Gbps Performance Testing

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance
ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

The SATA III 6Gbps performance testing was completed using a Corsair Force GT 240Gb SATA III 6Gbps SSD.

Benchmark Results: The ASUS Z87-Pro averaged 496.1MB/s sequential read and 433.7MB/s average write, while this is a solid performance it is the slowest of all of the boards on the bench. The 4K Write was quite impressive though, with an average of 13.6MB/s.

HD Tune Pro 4.01 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z87 HD Tune Pro 5.50 Write Benchmark Results

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

Intel Z87 HD Tune Pro 5.50 Read Benchmark Results

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

 

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

Benchmark Results: The ASUS Z87-Pro was able to step up its game and was able to pick up the second spot in HD Tune with an average read of 356.5MB/s and an average write of 325.3MB/s.

Intel Z87 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance Testing

Thermaltake BlackX 5G SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Dock

There are a number of different Super Speed USB 3.0 host controllers out there. In order to know which ones perform the best we run a series of tests that will put the controller through the ringer and see how it comes out on the other side. Each of our motherboards uses a different Super Speed USB 3.0 controller and you can find the below.

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Testing of the USB3 was done using the "Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station . The drive used was an Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Benchmark Results: The ASUS Z87-Pro was faster than all of the boards with the exception of the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero. With and average of 421.2MB/s sequential read and 373.6MB/s sequential write it proves that ASUS has SuperSpeed USB 3.0 performance in the bag. The ASUS Z87-Pro also uses an ASMedia ASM1061 USB 3.0 controller, it was able to average 394.8 Sequential read and 345.5MB/s sequential write. Still a solid performance from the ASMedia controller, but not quite on par with the Intel Z87 Chipset.

HD Tune Pro 5.00 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune 5.50 Read Benchmark Results

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune 5.50 Write Benchmark Results

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Testing of the USB3 was done using the "Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station . The drive used was an Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Benchmark Results: The ASUS Z87-Pro hit 250.0MB/s average read and 238.0MB/s average, once again it was outperformed by only another ASUS motherboard. If it wasn't for the ROG Maximus VI Hero the ASUS Z87-Pro would have been on the top of the charts with the best performance.

Power Consumption

CPU Power Consumption

Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with the power supplies, case fans, video cards and hard drives. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements, Prime95's in-place large FFT's were run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load for maximum power consumption and heat. Curious about real world scenarios, we decided to drop Furmark and ran 3DMark 11 on the performance preset and took the maximum power consumption during the first GPU test.

fGIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Power Consumption

Benchmark Results: While sitting idle the ASUS Z87-Pro was pulled a bit more than our otherboard with 60 Watts at the wall. Prime95's power draw showed the ASUS Z87-Pro as the lowest of the three Intel Haswell motherboards and pulled only 155Watts while gaming gave us a high of 236 Watts at the wall.

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 'Haswell' Overclocking

Overclocking greatly varies due to what hardware is being used and who is doing the overclocking. Always remember that no two pieces of hardware will perform the same, so our results will differ from what you might be able to get.

ASUS Z87-Pro Haswell Intel Core i7 4770K Overclocking

The Intel Core i7 4770K runs at a non-turbo speed of 3.5GHz and turbo will ramp the processor up to as high as 3.9GHz under a lightly threaded load, or under a full load 3.7GHz as we can see above. Since we are using a K series processor which has an unlocked multiplier we will be able to increase the default x35 multiplier to achieve our overclock today. This is the easiest way to overclock K series processors and should provide us with some great speeds.

ASUS Z87-Pro Haswell Intel Core i7 4770K Overclocking

We started out just going for broke and were able to hit 4.7GHz with relative ease on our Intel Core i7-4770K. Aside from the obvious increase of the CPU Multiplier to x47, the only other change we made was the CPU vCore which we increased to 1.25 Volts and we were golden.

ASUS Z87-Pro Haswell Intel Core i7 4770K Overclocking

We wanted more though, we stuck our heads back into the ASUS UEFI BIOS and bumped the multiplier up to x49. It failed, we didn't have high hopes as we haven't been able to get this chip up that high yet, but we tried anyway. We backed the multiplier down to x48 and got into Windows, but 1.25 Volts wasn't enough for stability, we slowly increased the vCore further and found a sweet spot at 1.29 Volts.

ASUS Z87-Pro Haswell Intel Core i7 4770K Overclocking

In order to check our stability we fired up the latest version of AIDA64 and ran the system stability test. It was easily able to complete 12 minutes without an issue. If we were going for a 24/7 overclock we would certainly run it for longer than 12 minutes, but there's only so much time in a day for testing.

ASUS Z87-Pro Haswell Intel Core i7 4770K Overclocking

Going from 3.7GHz under a full load to 4.8GHz, gave our Cinebench score a boost from 8.14 points to 10.49 points! A gain of 28.9%!

ASUS Z87-Pro Haswell Intel Core i7 4770K Overclocking

The overall score didn't improve by much being clocked 1.1GHz higher, but our physics score improved by quite a bit. Running at the default speeds our physics score in 3DMark FireStrike was at 10590, running at 4.8GHz our physics score jumped to 13654, another gain of 28.9%! Pretty consistent gains in the CPU intensive tasks!

ASUS Z87-Pro Haswell Intel Core i7 4770K Overclocking

Above you can see all the adjustments we made to hit our 4.8GHz overclock, aside from setting the XMP profile the only adjustments that we made were the Core ratio to x48, CPU Cache Ratio to x46, and the CPU vCore to 1.290.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout and Features

Where to start... the ASUS Z87-Pro only has one drawback in my eyes, and it's strictly with my eyes, the color combination. Typically I don't care about the looks of a motherboard, but to me the gold and black color combination just doesn't sit well with me. Would that stop me from using the ASUS Z87-Pro motherboard? Not a chance! This board has the performance and features that offset and cosmetic differences that I have with it. It's always about function over form in my book! Now that I have my gripe about the aesthetics of the ASUS Z87-Pro out of the way we can get down to the good stuff. If you're already sold on the ASUS Z87-Pro you can pick it here for only $199.00 shipped. If not, well you should be! The ASUS Z87-Pro didn't hold anything back and was a great performing board throughout the day!

If you didn't check out the Legit Reviews Test page, you may not have realized the differences in the testing. The ASUS Z87-Pro was initially run with the XMP profile only. Once I started compiling the charts, it was noticed that the processor intensive tasks were a little on the slow side, still faster then our Intel Z77 'Ivy Bridge' system, but noticeably slower than the other Intel 'Haswell' systems. After a little digging I noticed that the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero motherboard had the processor running at 3.9GHz while under a full load, the ASUS Z87-Pro was running at 3.7GHz under a full load. This threw our results off since the processors were running at different clock speeds. After a little bit of digging it was noticed that the Maximus VI Hero set the core ratio to 'Sync All Cores'.

ASUS Z87-Pro Sync All Cores

We asked ASUS about this, and their response is below:

ROG being our performance division uses our multi core enhancement rule we previously enabled. For mainstream series boards we follow Intel default specifications. This is to ensure optimal temperature performance under stock cooling configurations

While this was a little bit of a nuisance on my end, it was also a good learning experience. Enabling the 'Sync All Cores' feature in the UEFI BIOS can give a nice little performance boost. Just make sure that you're cooling system can handle a little extra heat from the processor.

Not unexpectedly, the ASUS Z87-Pro was able to take our Intel Core i7-4770K to 4.8GHz during our overclocking. Rumor has it engineering samples are better overclocking processors than retail samples. Whether or not this is an absolute truth remains to be seen, but if it is the case the ASUS Z87-Pro should have zero problems getting the most out of the Intel processor you get.

ASUS Z87-Pro Haswell Intel Core i7 4770K Overclocking

One of the aspects that sets ASUS apart is their commitment to innovation. They're always on the forefront of the industry, coming up with new features that set their boards and other products apart from the competition. The sheer amount of development and features that go into there boards and software like AI Suite III is astonishing. I tooled around the ASUS AI Suite III for awhile, playing with the overclocking and other features in the software and it all worked great. I was able to set up a wireless network and connect to the ASUS Z87-Pro without an issue, the ASUS AI Suite III software was very easy to use and work within.

Right now we can all pick up our own ASUS Z87-Pro LGA1150 motherboard for $199.00 shipped. When you consider that this board was able to go head to head with the ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero in most all of our tests today you know this is a great board. Of course there are other features sets that separate the Z87-Pro and the Hero so it's going to come down to what you're looking for. Though I certainly wouldn't hesitate to recommend either of them. If by some chance you have an issue with your ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard ASUS has you covered with a three year warranty, there's a good chance you'll never need it, but it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!

Legit Reviews Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: While the ASUS Z87-Pro maybe considered a 'main stream' board, there is no doubt that it will be able to keep up with the 'performance' boards out there.