Haswell Z87 Motherboard Preview: 50+ Motherboards from ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock, MSI, ECS, Biostar and EVGAby Ian Cutress on May 22, 2013 5:00 PM EST
With time quickly approaching the launch of Haswell, leaks on both motherboards and CPU performance are coming out of the woodworks. Similar to our advance Ivy Bridge coverage, here is a current roundup of everything we were allowed to show or is currently in the public domain.
Fun with Z87
So as you would expect, reviewers like Anand and I are knee deep in getting Haswell coverage and testing ready for launch. We cannot tell you what we are testing, or what is coming in our repertoire, but we try to match what our readers want to see. As a general rule, in order to receive media kits from Intel, we sign a company-wide NDA, and then if we want kit from other companies (motherboards, pre-release systems), then they may request NDAs from specific people as well. I know I have personally signed a few in recent months leading up to the release.
So What Is In This Preview Then?
So some manufacturers have decided to release data to media like AT in order to boost coverage before launch. Others have had leaks from media events posted online, and here we have tried to collate that information. Everything you see in this post we have permission to post from the various manufacturers, or the information is already in the public domain. Some information has been from Intel itself, such as Beijing IDF presentations released on the internet.
Much like our Ivy Bridge preview, we will be going through the motherboards expected to be released – either final ES images or retail ones. We have the big four up ready to bat – ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock and MSI, with appearances by ECS, Biostar and EVGA as well.
AnandTech’s Haswell Coverage
At AnandTech we have been hot on the heels of Intel, attempting to understand what is behind the new silicon. We have covered the following topics so far:
Intel's Haswell Architecture Analyzed: Building a New PC and a New Intel
Intel Haswell Architecture Disclosure: Live Blog
Intel Details Haswell Overclocking at IDF Beijing
Making Sense of the Intel Haswell Transactional Synchronization eXtensions
Haswell: Up to 128MB On-Package Cache, ULV GPU Performance Estimates
Intel Haswell GT3e GPU Performance Compared to NVIDIA's GeForce GT 650M
IDF 2012: Haswell GT3 Running Skyrim
Intel Haswell Architecture Slides (IDF 2012)
Haswell at IDF 2012: 10W is the New 17W
In previous years, motherboard launches have ranged the full gamut from the $60 to over $200 at launch, even reaching $400 as the platform develops. Within that is the cost for the chipset (a not-insignificant cost), the production, the modules, the extra controllers and all the licensing for extra features such as SLI or HDMI. Of course no manufacturer wants to announce pricing just yet, but like the Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge launches, we at AnandTech are hoping for a motherboard roundup of around $200 (+/- 10%) to go live at launch.
Details regarding pricing led us to Chinese websites:
At current exchange rates, this puts the pricing at the following:
ASRock Z87 Extreme4: ¥1099/999 = $179/$162
ASUS P8Z87-Deluxe: ¥2699 = $439
ASUS ROG Maximus IV Hero with a 4770K: ¥2999 = $488
MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming: ¥1699 = $276
ASRock Z87 Pro3: ¥699 = $114
Personally I believe that this pricing is a bit high, indicating ‘put your order in early’ for when stock actually arrives. There is not any import tax (most if not all these motherboards are made in China), and sales tax / VAT is technically 17%.
But for now, let us look at what motherboards have actually been on display.
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Diagrafeas - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - linkI 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 - linkFor 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 - linkI 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.
Mr Perfect - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - linkI second that, if only because mITX is usually a second thought to ATX and mATX.
silenceisgolden - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - linkReally surprising that I don't see these specs, together on any of the boards:
2 USB3 headers onboard
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 - linkI also don't get why DVI and especially VGA are included on any model for this generation. Seems like a huge waste of space.
JDG1980 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - linkDVI 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 - linkPeople 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).
silenceisgolden - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - linkWe'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.
Azethoth - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - linkPS/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.