Z87 Plus Layout and Pictures

It’s clear right out of the hole that the Z87 Plus is a slightly cheaper motherboard. Asus went noticeably smaller when it comes to the cooling around the LGA1150 socket. Considering the CPU does its own voltage regulation this amount of cooling should still be more than enough. It’s still weird seeing such small cooling; it reminds me of boards from back in the day. The Chipset cooler is exactly the same as on the Z87 Pro though and it is very similar to what Asus used on the Z77 boards as well so we know it will get the job done. For voltage regulation though, Asus did include 5K capacitors and fully molded alloy chokes as I mentioned on the Z87 Pro as well. This means that although the Plus may look a little lighter in features due to its smaller cooling, it does still have the goods under the cooling. In fact if you look into the 5K caps you will find that they are better than the military grade caps that are advertised by their competition. 

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Starting up in the top left corner of the board between the cooling and the rear I/O panel we have a single 8 pin CPU power connection. Because of the small heatsink size there is plenty of room to get at the connection to hook it up or unhook it. Here we can also see the LGA 1150 socket and CPU hold down. If you happen to have a heatsink or water cooling that fits your old LGA1155 or LGA1156 motherboard it will still work on this new LGA 1150 socket.

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In the top right corner near the top of the RAM slots we have two four pin PWM fan headers. One is black and the other is yellow, the color coding helps make it easy to see that the yellow header is your main CPU fan header and the black one is an optional CPU fan header. In the top right corner we have the MemOK button, a button that helps you deal with memory incompatibilities by adjusting the RAM settings until they work. There is also the DROM LED, these LED’s are all over the motherboard and they light up as that part of the motherboard is initializing during boot. This is important because if there is an issue during boot you can see the area that is causing your problem. There is a third four pin PWM fan header just under the MemOK button.

Next was the DirectKey, a feature we talked about on the Pro board as well. When you press this button it will let your motherboard know to boot directly into the UEFI the next time you reboot. This is great with today’s PCs that have quick boot times, no more bashing delete. Under the DirectKey is the 24 pin power connection. Then you have the BIOS flashback button. The BIOS Flash Back button is even more interesting, when combined with a USB drive with the proper bios on it plugged into the proper USB port you can press this button and update or flash back your bios. It’s especially interesting because not only does this not require any interaction from you after pressing the button, but it doesn’t even need a CPU in the motherboard.

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Just above the SATA ports and under the 24 pin power connection there is a single USB 3.0 internal header for USB 3.0 ports on the front of today’s cases.

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The Z87-Plus’s SATA ports have the same yellow/gold color for the Intel controlled ports, just like the Z87-Pro. The two black SATA 6 connections are run on the ASMedia 1061 chipset. They did arrange these a little different and it took me a minute to figure out why. This board is actually slightly skinnier than the Z87-Pro, by rearranging they don’t have to worry about clearance issues with long video cards.

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The bottom right corner has a long yellow header that covers all of our front panel connections. There are labels along the bottom to make hooking everything up easier. Next to the front panel header is another four pin PWM fan connection, this is number four so far that we have found. Next we have four USB 2.0 internal headers lined up next to each other. Just below the SATA ports are the TPU and EPU switches. The TPU will give both your CPU and GPU an auto overclock, from past experience you will get a better overclock by using the AI Suite III software for the overclock, but you can’t get much easier than a switch to turn the overclock on and off if needed. Asus has even made it a two set switch to give you even more control. The first setting only adjusts the CPU multiplier ratio while the second setting adjusts the ratio and core clock speed.

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In the bottom left corner we have the Realtek 892 8-ch audio card, this isn’t the same audio card that the Z87-Pro has and you can tell just buy seeing the differences between the boards. Under the audio card is the TB header for use with add in Thunderbolt cards. Next is the EPU, this is similar to the TPU on the other side of the board but it trims down your power usage. There is a backlit power button that is next to the front panel audio header and SPDIF out. Lastly the Z87-Plus has a TPM (trusted Platform Module) header, something that most enthusiasts won’t need but some businesses’ need.

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For PCI slots on the Z87-Plus you have three PCI Express x16 slots, two PCI Express x1 slots, and two legacy PCI slots. Asus has spaced out the x16 slots in a way that there will be good air flow even when running SLI or Crossfire. Like other Z87 boards there aren’t enough PCI lanes into the CPU to handle three x16 slots so the slots break down like this. When you are only using the top slot it runs at a full x16 speed, when you are using the top two, they both run at x8 each, and the last slot is always a x4 slot with a x16 form factor.  Also in this photo is the final two four pin PWM fan headers making for a total of six from around the board.

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The Z87 Plus’s rear I/O panel is very similar to the Z87 Pro but there are two important details though. You still have six USB 3.0 ports and the legacy LS2 port. Asus has still gone with the premium Intel NIC that we rarely see from other manufactures and we also have all of the same standard audio connections. Where things are a little different is in the onboard video connections. The plus has VGA, DVI, and HDMI where the Pro also had a full sized display port connection. We also don’t have the wireless NIC and Bluetooth that the Pro has. In its place though there is a Mini DisplayPort connection.  

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When you flip the Z87 Plus over you can see what I spoke about when talking about the Z87 Pro. This is a black PCB but the board isn’t completely black because the copper traces on the layers closest to the top/bottom bleed through slightly giving the board an interesting copper/black color.

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #31257 02 Jun 2013 23:15
A look at two of Asus's mainstream Z87 motherboards
Deb0's Avatar
Deb0 replied the topic: #31258 02 Jun 2013 23:23
The color scheme hurts my eyes. Would never want to put a window on that board. =/
Leonresevil2's Avatar
Leonresevil2 replied the topic: #31269 04 Jun 2013 00:44
I actually like how it looks.
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #31270 04 Jun 2013 01:05
I would be really interested in hearing from more people on what they think of the new color. Post up people!!
Satansoul's Avatar
Satansoul replied the topic: #31271 04 Jun 2013 01:46
I seen another set of motherboards with the gold color just can't remember the name. Though I do love red and black more.
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #31272 04 Jun 2013 02:02
ECS also does gold

Asus will still be doing Red and Black as well as their TUF series also. This replaces the blue mainstream motherboards.

lanoc.org/review/motherboards/5807-asus-z77-roundup?start=2
Lersar's Avatar
Lersar replied the topic: #31273 04 Jun 2013 02:15
I like it, definitely more than the blue theme.
Satansoul's Avatar
Satansoul replied the topic: #31275 04 Jun 2013 02:21
Thanks! I knew there was one. The one color I have yet to see is a white pcb with black accents.
kzinti1's Avatar
kzinti1 replied the topic: #31348 07 Jun 2013 01:57
You people do realize that you're supposed to be looking at your monitor, to see what this motherboard actually does, don't you?
If all you want is a play pretty then go and buy yourselves some cat toys at your local PetsMart.
Did the reviewer actually try and overclock these motherboards or just leave them at a very common, and slow, 4.5GHz.?
Did the heatsinks actually work or were the chips running too hot and needed some liquid cooling?
Same with the cpu's. Is liquid cooling demanded or can the users just stick with cooling on air or some everyday closed liquid cooler instead of a complete custom loop?
Did you actually push these motherboards to their limits or stick with stock settings?
Will you ever do a proper review or just leave it as almost a word for word description by ASUS?
Finally, ASUS, since people here seem to only judge a computer motherboard by color (of all things!), then why not make them all a basic and totally black color scheme?
Since most people are too stupid to understand a common "beep code", then why not make a breakout LED panel that can be mounted in an external 5.25" bay and then these users can start using a solid door, instead of one that has a window, and then they can just ignore your color schema and get back to operating a computer. Instead of just sitting there and staring at their motherboards like a bunch of slack-jawed idiots?
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #31349 07 Jun 2013 02:54
I'm happy to answer any questions you have, and you are welcome to hate on my review all you would like. But we do ask that in the future you treat both our contributors and community members with the same respect that we will give you.

kzinti1 wrote: Did the reviewer actually try and overclock these motherboards or just leave them at a very common, and slow, 4.5GHz.?


As the review pointed out, being a motherboard review not a CPU review we wanted to focus on things that are motherboard dependent, not CPU dependent. Haswell has its CPU voltage regulation on the CPU itself. This means that you are going to see similar overclock results from board to board. Not only that but the results from our engineering sample most likely won't be the same as what you see with a retail CPU. So we focused on overclocking results that would vary from board to board, the auto overclocking results.

kzinti1 wrote: Did the heatsinks actually work or were the chips running too hot and needed some liquid cooling?

Liquid cooling is never really needed on a motherboard but with Haswell voltage regulation being on the CPU the cooling on the Pro board is a lot more than is actually needed. I pointed this out IN the review.

kzinti1 wrote: Did you actually push these motherboards to their limits or stick with stock settings?

This goes back to what was mentioned before

kzinti1 wrote: Same with the cpu's. Is liquid cooling demanded or can the users just stick with cooling on air or some everyday closed liquid cooler instead of a complete custom loop?

This is a motherboard review, not a CPU review. But to answer your question, all of our testing was done with air cooling (as you would see if you read the review). Water cooling isn't needed and the difference in performance between air cooling and closed loop water cooling is minimal in most cases.

kzinti1 wrote: Finally, ASUS, since people here seem to only judge a computer motherboard by color (of all things!), then why not make them all a basic and totally black color scheme?
Since most people are too stupid to understand a common "beep code", then why not make a breakout LED panel that can be mounted in an external 5.25" bay and then these users can start using a solid door, instead of one that has a window, and then they can just ignore your color schema and get back to operating a computer. Instead of just sitting there and staring at their motherboards like a bunch of slack-jawed idiots?

Some people want a window in their case. If you think the only reason they put windows in cases is to see the diagnostic LED you are sorely mistaken. The same goes for the color scheme, some people pick their motherboards to match a look that they are going for in their case along with its features.
Arxon's Avatar
Arxon replied the topic: #31351 07 Jun 2013 06:31

kzinti1 wrote: You people do realize that you're supposed to be looking at your monitor, to see what this motherboard actually does, don't you?
If all you want is a play pretty then go and buy yourselves some cat toys at your local PetsMart.


I guess you don't know what case mods are. Let me inform you.

Case modification (commonly referred to as case modding where an individual project is referred to as a case mod) is the modification of a computer chassis (often just referred to as the case), or a video game console chassis. Modifying a computer case in any non-standard way is considered a case mod. Modding is done, particularly by hardware enthusiasts, to show off a computer's apparent power by showing off the internal hardware, and also to make it look aesthetically pleasing to the owner.
Dreyvas's Avatar
Dreyvas replied the topic: #31352 07 Jun 2013 08:25

kzinti1 wrote: You people do realize that you're supposed to be looking at your monitor, to see what this motherboard actually does, don't you?
If all you want is a play pretty then go and buy yourselves some cat toys at your local PetsMart.
Did the reviewer actually try and overclock these motherboards or just leave them at a very common, and slow, 4.5GHz.?
Did the heatsinks actually work or were the chips running too hot and needed some liquid cooling?
Same with the cpu's. Is liquid cooling demanded or can the users just stick with cooling on air or some everyday closed liquid cooler instead of a complete custom loop?
Did you actually push these motherboards to their limits or stick with stock settings?
Will you ever do a proper review or just leave it as almost a word for word description by ASUS?
Finally, ASUS, since people here seem to only judge a computer motherboard by color (of all things!), then why not make them all a basic and totally black color scheme?
Since most people are too stupid to understand a common "beep code", then why not make a breakout LED panel that can be mounted in an external 5.25" bay and then these users can start using a solid door, instead of one that has a window, and then they can just ignore your color schema and get back to operating a computer. Instead of just sitting there and staring at their motherboards like a bunch of slack-jawed idiots?



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