GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Overclocking Motherboard Review



GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

A couple of years ago GIGABYTE launched the X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard. It was geared specifically for overclockers and was virtually nothing but a chipset, socket, and expansion slots. While the X58A-OC had it’s place, the latest iteration in the GIGABYTE OC series has a place that can fit many more users. The GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force is designed for those extreme overclockers with features like OC Touch, OC PCIe Switch, and one of the latest GIGABYTE features OC Ignition. It has all of the overclocking features, but it also has the features that today’s computer enthusiast is looking for! Since the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force looks like it will be a motherboard that will be a top contender for both extreme overclocking, and computer enthusiasts it does carry a bit of a heavy price with it, currently it can be had for $409.78 shipped. Not a board for those on a tight budget, if you’re looking for a board that will do everything, the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force may be what you’re looking for. Let take a closer look at the features.

GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force OC Ignition

One of the features that I mentioned is new to GIGABYTE with the Z87X-OC Force. OC Ignition is a feature that will allow you to supply power through the motherboard to the peripherals in your system without booting the system! It may not be something that will be used everyday, it is a great feature for those that need some juice without booting the system up. If you are working on case mods that need some power, leak testing a water cooling rig, or for those playing with some LN2 it will allow you to keep the fans spinning to reduce the moisture while the CPU warms up all you’ll have to do is depress the OC Ignition button and all you’re fans and hard drives now have power.


The GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force also has the OC Touch feature that we can see above. From this series of buttons there isn’t much that we cant tweak during overclocking sessions. From this panel we can change the CPU multiplier, CPU Bclk, OC Gear Bclk steppings, monitor the various system voltages, as well as power on and reset the system. There are a couple of other features that are worth going into a little more detail. The first is the OC Tag button, the OC Tag button will apply the setting tied to the Tag profile within the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force UEFI BIOS. The OC Trigger Switch will bring your system into what could be considered a safe mode for the system. This will bring the system to the default system settings regardless of the settings actually being used in the BIOS.

GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Water Cooling

The fine folks at GIGABYTE realized that an OC board needed a little more than passive cooling on all the various components of the board. They first threw on a couple of small fans, one on the Intel Z87 chipset, and one on the PWM heatsink. We all know how hot that can get when adding the extra juice needed to break those overclocking records, whether your own personal records or world records. Getting a little airflow through the heatsinks will certainly help. They went a step further though, across the PWM’s they also integrated water cooling, just for that added kick!

Now these features we’ve mentioned so far are pretty much the tip of the proverbial iceberg that is the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Z87 motherboard. As such we will be looking at the board and the features in the coming pages, for now though, let’s take a look at the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force specifications below. Be sure to pay attention there’s going to be a test later!

GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Intel Z87 Motherboard Specifications

  • Support for Intel Core i7 processors/Intel Core i5 processors/Intel Core i3 processors/Intel Pentium processors/ Intel Celeron processors in the LGA1150 package
  • L3 cache varies with CPU
  • Intel Z87 Express Chipset
  • 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
  • Dual channel memory architecture
  • Support for 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 memory modules
  • Support for non-ECC memory modules
  • Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
Onboard Graphics
  • 2 x HDMI ports, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160 (Support for HDMI 1.4a version)
  • 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 3840×2160 (Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version)
  • Maximum shared memory of 1 GB
  • Realtek ALC898 codec
  • High Definition Audio
  • 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  • Support for S/PDIF In
  • Support for S/PDIF Out
  • 2 x Intel GbE LAN chips (10/100/1000 Mbit) Support for Teaming
Wireless Communication module
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
  • Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0+HS, 2.1+EDR
Expansion Slots
  • 3 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1~3)
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1~2)
  • 2 x PCI Express x1 slots
Multi-Graphics Technology
  • Support for 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire/NVIDIA SLI technology
Storage Interface


  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5) supporting up to 6 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  • Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10

Marvell 88SE9230 chip:

  • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3 6~9) supporting up to 4 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  • Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10


  • Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (available through the internal USB header)
  • Up to 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)

Chipset + 2 Renesas uPD720210 USB 3.0 Hubs:

  • Up to 8 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (6 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
Internal I/O Connectors
  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x PCIe power connector
  • 10 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
  • 7 x system fan headers
  • 2 x heatsink fan connectors
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  • 1 x S/PDIF In header
  • 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 headers
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x serial port header
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  • 1 x power button
  • 1 x reset button
  • 1 x Clear CMOS button
  • 1 x Gear button
  • 1 x OC Turbo button
  • 1 x OC Tag button
  • 1 x OC Trigger switch
  • 1 x OC Ignition button
  • 1 x OC PCIe switch
  • 1 x CPU BCLK Down button
  • 1 x CPU BCLK Up button
  • 1 x CPU Ratio Down button
  • 1 x CPU Ratio Up button
  • 1 x onboard voltage measurement module
  • 2 x BIOS switches
Back Panel Connectors
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 2 x HDMI ports
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 2 x RJ-45 ports
  • 6 x audio jacks
I/O Controller
  • iTE I/O Controller Chip
H/W Monitoring
  • System voltage detection
  • CPU/System/Chipset temperature detection
  • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed detection
  • CPU/System overheating warning
  • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan fail warning
  • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed control
  • 2 x 128 Mbit flash
  • Use of licensed AMI EFI BIOS
  • Support for DualBIOS
  • PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0a
Unique Features
  • Support for Q-Flash
  • Support for Xpress Install
  • Support for APP Center
  • @BIOS
  • EasyTune
  • EZ Setup
  • ON/OFF Charge2
  • USB Blocker
Bundle Software
  • Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
  • Intel Rapid Start Technology
  • Intel Smart Connect Technology
  • Intel Smart Response Technology
  • cFosSpeed
Operating System
  • Support for Windows 8/7
Form Factor
  • E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 26.4cm

Got all that? Good! Let’s take a closer look at the layout of the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force on the next page!

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