Intel Z97 Chipset: 7-Way Motherboard Roundup

By Steve ยท 14 replies
Sep 16, 2014
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  1. intel z97 motherboard roundup

    Codenamed 'Wildcat Point', the Z97 chipset is virtually identical to its Z87 predecessor with a few exceptions. The most noteworthy change is support for future Broadwell CPUs, which should arrive during the coming holiday shopping period. In addition to compatibility with future processors, the Z97 brought SATA Express as well as the M.2 socket.

    Originally designed for mobile devices, the M.2 interface has found its way into desktops and the new Z97 and H97 chipsets have played a big role in speeding up its adoption as a replacement for mSATA. Having a smaller and more flexible specification together with more advanced features, the M.2 is better suited for solid-state storage applications in general.

    With over 90 Z97 based motherboards available right now, picking the right one can be a difficult decision. Hoping to narrow the search down, we have taken seven popular boards and compared them in just about every way possible.

    Read the complete review.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2015
  2. TitoBXNY

    TitoBXNY TS Addict Posts: 236   +50

    Thank you for the round up. My Z77X-UD5H has served me well for the the last two years but the upgrade bug has hit me. Great to see a breakdown of each board. The Asrock looks tempting but I've read many negative reviews on quality control. The non BK Z97X-UD5H is at the top of my list followed by ASUS, but the lower price Asrock may be a better choice.
    Julio Franco likes this.
  3. An earnest review, but everyone should pay attention at this point before committing. Skylake processors will make an appearance in about 12 months time with igpu, at the top end, potentially as good as a decent entry level dedicated card today. They will be accompanied by a new chipset (170) and new socket size (1151). DDR4 (as well as DDR3L) will be supported and getting cheaper. M.2 will have advanced and be better understood with more choice available. NVMe will have developed and possibly be approachable on price. Performance will be better, whilst efficiency and energy usage will be greatly improved. And there will doubtless be other enhancements and improvements to look forward to. Logic now says keep your powder dry and in reserve for another year. Skip the 97 boards, and even Broadwell, unless you have no choice.
    Julio Franco likes this.
  4. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Very cool review @Steve , I keep returning to Asrock as being awesome value.

    Only thing I wished to see was a few of the other MSI boards Like 1 gaming and that MSI Z97-G55 which to me is one of the best values out there.

    Excellent Review!
  5. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,301   +428

    I would have bet on the conclusion regarding which board is recommended before I read the article and I would have won. Take from that whatever you wish
  6. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    Nice review Steve. Very interesting to see the variations in performance from brand to brand.
  7. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    I think the non-BK version would be a smart choice.

    As always you can wait months for something new or you can just pull the trigger now and enjoy a new system. Not to mention 12 months is a long time to wait for something you know little about ;)

    I would have really liked to include another MSI motherboard, maybe even two more. Fact is we were lucky to include the board we did, this roundup almost went ahead without MSI.

    You are an amazing genius who can see into the future?
  8. 20$ difference between the UD5H and UD5H-BK, well I think it's a fair price to pay for the extensive testing and the extra 2 years for the warranty!
  9. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    Sure but it doesn't exactly guarantee reliability does it. Out of the dozens of Gigabyte boards I have purchased over the years I think from memory just one of them had a problem. Given my experience I would risk it ;)
  10. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,301   +428

    I have read hundreds of reviews and many here.
  11. ddg4005

    ddg4005 TS Guru Posts: 383   +54

    Good review but I'm currently running Z77-powered boards that continue to serve me well. As much as I'd like to upgrade at least one of my boxes I still have no reason to. I do like the Asus boards however.
  12. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    Research is key, so I was right ;)
  13. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,301   +428

  14. I built a new system with the gigabyte z97 gaming 3. Excellent board and has every feature I need. Plus the price was right at only $130.
  15. Cannot believe someone finally reviewed the Extreme9!!!! I've been looking for info on this board since it was released and could never get anything solid.

    I want a Z97 board that can run 2 GPUs (SLi) and a Samsung XP941 without compromising the performance of any of them and from what I understood that can only be done with this board due to the Extreme6 missing out on PLX.

    The price difference between the Extreme6 and 9 seems a bit too stretched when you consider they only add PLX and even then they remove 2 USB3.0... but I guess that's what you can do when you're the only one offering a particular solution.

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