ASUS Z87M-PLUS is made in the micro-ATX form factor for high-quality PCB, painted in dark brown color. Golden hue radiators together with yellow and dark brown circuit board connectors attach some similarity with a bee-working job. Noteworthy is hanging right edge of the board, so when you install the memory modules and connecting the connectors to hold it from the bottom to avoid damage to the tracks at excessive bending of the PCB.
Lower edge of the model ASUS Z87M-PLUS located block for connecting the front panel audio connectors, connector have a TPM, three USB 2.0 ports for connecting six ports (two per connector) and the socket on the panel.
Lower right corner has six connectors SATA 6 Gb / s disk subsystem running chipset Intel Z87 Express, and allow you to create RAID-arrays levels 0, 1, 5 and 10. One of the shortcomings we noticed the disk subsystem is the vertical arrangement of the four connectors SATA, to which access is blocked by the second graphics card with an overall cooling system, leaving the user to only two connectors for disk devices.
Right edge of the motherboard ASUS Z87M-PLUS, opposite the connectors DIMM, are 19-pin header for connection of two USB 3.0, the main power connector and the button MemOK, which comes in handy when an unstable memory modules.
To install the modules of DDR3 RAM on a motherboard ASUS Z87M-PLUS has four 240-pin DIMM. The maximum possible amount of RAM is limited to the capabilities of the integrated memory controller and is 32 GB. Voltage RAM comes from the single-phase switching regulator power which, given the low power consumption of memory standard DDR3, will be more than enough to ensure a stable power supply in all operating modes of RAM.
Middle of the upper edge of the board is a switch «GPU_BOOST», you can include the same name technology to significantly improve the performance of the integrated graphics core into the processor. Activation Technologies GPU Boost, for the convenience of users indicated located next to the LED. A small drawback is the difficulty of access to the switch installed in the housing system.
Meals cores of the CPU and the integrated memory controller in it and the GPU on the motherboard ASUS Z87M-PLUS is the 4-phase scheme, operating under the control of the PWM controller ASP1253.CPU voltage regulator has a proprietary digital architecture DIGI + VRM, which allows for maximum stability and effectiveness, and also provides the user with a flexible adjustment of the voltage regulator. Therefore, despite the small number of phases, the manufacturer has established an 8-pin power connector ATX12V, which makes it possible to double the current flowing through the self, compared with a standard 4-pin ATX12V.
To install the expansion card manufacturer has provided on the motherboard ASUS Z87M-PLUS these connectors: one PCI Express x16 3.0/2.0 (yellow) that receives all sixteen lines running from the CPU connector, two PCI Express x1 2.0 slot and one PCI Express x16 2.0 (dark brown) having a total of four lines. When you install a video card with an overall cooling in the slot PCI Express x16 3.0/2.0 already small possibility of installing expansion cards will be reduced to one slot PCI Express x1. You must also add that the default slot PCI Express x16 2.0 operates in x2, giving the other two lines for the connectors PCI Express 2.0 x1. Switching to the x4 configuration is performed in BIOS, so it eliminates the possibility of using connectors PCI Express 2.0 x1.
Although the company ASUS and expresses support for the motherboard technologies combining video cards AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX, but more appropriate, in our opinion, would be to use only one video card because of the small number of PCI Express 2.0 lanes to the second connector.
Motherboard ASUS Z87M-PLUS is equipped with a passive cooling system, consisting of two aluminum radiators. One is a small low-profile heatsink on the chipset Intel Z87 Express, the second – on the power components of the CPU voltage regulator. Despite its small size and height, chipset heatsink copes with the problem – while testing his temperature was 36,2 ° C. They are fixed to the cooling element with spring-loaded plastic clips.
As the integrated audio on the motherboard ASUS Z87M-PLUS uses an 8-channel audio codec Realtek ALC887. It has been used for a long time and, if done correctly tying chip shows very good results in tests. For connection to the LAN meets the Gigabit controller RTL8111GR made by the same company. The work of PS / 2 interface, the COM port and functions of the system monitor controller supports Multi I / O Nuvoton NCT5538D.
- Combined PS / 2 port for keyboard or mouse
- Two-port USB 2.0
- Optical output S / PDIF
- Connector HDMI
- Connector D-Sub
- Connector DVI
- Four-port USB 3.0, shown in blue
- RJ45 connector for connecting to the LAN
- Six analog connectors for multi-channel sound system
Fan connectors on the motherboard ASUS Z87M-PLUS has three 4-pin connectors. One connector is for the active element of the CPU cooler, and two – to organize the in-situ ventilation.
BIOS Setup (UEFI):
ASUS Z87M-PLUS is equipped with UEFI BIOS with the company’s desktop environment. The first page is called the BIOS EZ Mode and is designed for novice users. You can easily and quickly set up basic system configuration.
Here you can change the FSB, CPU multipliers and integrated graphics, fine-tune timing of RAM and, if necessary, change the value of the supply voltage. Setting a lot, so we put them in a separate table for convenience and clarity.
Tab Monitor up to its name – it is here that there is a system monitor that allows you to control the temperature of the CPU, the speed of the fans, as well as to monitor changes in the voltage on the CPU and the main lines of supply +3.3 V, +5 V and +12 V. Here you can select the mode of case fans and CPU cooler fan. Unfortunately, temperature monitoring chipset and voltage memory modules is performed.
Motherboard ASUS Z87M-PLUS supports a proprietary utility ASUS AI Suite 3, with which very easily right into the OS to optimize the system to your specific needs, whether it be performance gains, or vice versa, quiet and energy-efficient computer operation.
After entering the menu TurboV EVO you will be able to change the FSB and CPU multiplier to increase its productivity, to modify the voltage on the modules of RAM and CPU all the nodes to achieve maximum stability while overclocking the system, as well as tested and approved to save your settings in Profile for faster downloads. If you are not confident in their knowledge and strength for manual overclocking the system, you can use the safe way of automatic overclocking and get even smaller, but still significant performance gains.
Our test CPU, using automatic overclocking utility company ASUS AI Suite 3, has increased its capacity by 23.5%, and its frequency was 4,200 MHz. In manual mode, the result was higher, but this is a good performance gain with no risk to disable their equipment. RAM while working on their standard 2400 MHz.
The system must be productive, it should still be quiet, or long to be near the system unit will be very uncomfortable. To reduce the noise from the rotating fan blades and optimize their work just go to the menu «Fan Xpert 2″ and select either one of the preset algorithms, or create your own to meet your requirements. Moreover, each fan may be selected a variant of its performance depending on the temperature.