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Thread: ASUS Z87 Motherboards - Overview, Guides and Official Support

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    ASUS Z87 Motherboards - Overview, Guides and Official North America Support

    ASUS Z87 Motherboards Overview






    We've prepared pics and videos to provide an overview of motherboard layouts and features at a glance. Stability test images have also been added for the boards, here's an intro to the testing by JJ:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fE2pD...ature=youtu.be







    Mainstream Motherboards


    Comprised of 7 models, the ASUS mainstream motherboard n(channel) line-up provides a set of features that aligns perfectly with the needs of the general/enthusiast PC user.











    Z87-Deluxe video overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZeOlBvmwSE

    Z87-Deluxe stability test at 4.8GHz DDR3-2400
















    Z87-Pro video overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPpx9USEqXg







    Z87-Plus stability test at 4.8GHz DDR3-2400










    Z87-A overview video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3dvBqXtRIQ

    Z87-A stability test at 4.8GHz DDR3-2400












    The naming of models through the ASUS mainstream stack has changed from previous generations. Expert replaces EVO, while the -A and -C suffixes replace the LX and LE models. Altogether, this makes it easier for users to determine how boards place in the hierarchy.

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    For comparison purposes, the next two specification tables show how the boards differ in terms of features:









    Intel i217V LAN


    The Z87-Plus upwards include Intel’s latest i217V Ethernet controller. The I217V offers improved processor off-loading while consuming 90% lower power than Intel’s previous generqation controllers. Expect a smoother experience during periods of high activity such as playing multiplayer games or when making large file transfers over a network.



    802.11AC and 802.11N Dual Band Wi-Fi


    At the upper-end, the Deluxe models now feature 802.11AC Wi-Fi, while dual-band 802.11N Wi-FI is included on all models from Pro to Expert. The Wi-Fi daughterboard is conveniently placed within the rear IO cluster – which avoids sacrificing a PCIe slot and keeps it away from areas of high heat (near graphics cards for example).

    The Wi-Fi antenna has also been revised physically; incorporating two antennae within a single unit. This makes it easier to place and direct towards peers or clients. The module connectors have been upgraded to robust SMA fittings – which are more secure than clip-on types. Plus you can replace the antennae easily with readily available SMA based offerings if you wish to do so.



    NFC Express





    Bundled with the Z87-DELUXE/Dual and available as a separate accessory for ASUS 87 motherboards, NFC Express brings a new way to interact with your PC using either your NFC-enabled Smart devices or the included tags. By scanning your Smart Device or tag on the NFC Express module, the user can perform a variety of actions, from logging in and launching programs to transferring files, all with the simple wave of your Android-based Smart Device** or tag. In addition, though the NFC Express requires one USB 3.0 port, it provides two additional USB 3.0 ports in return, increasing versatility and usefulness of an already intuitive design.

    Near-field communication (NFC) technology works by inductive coupling. The magnetic field of two NFC capable devices reacts when they are in proximity to one another (within 5 centimetres). These changes in the magnetic field convert into pulses within the sending or receiving device and then decoded to complete the NFC data exchange.







    Quick note on Overclocking


    For those of you interested in overclocking, rest assured every model in the mainstream line-up above the Z87-C is capable of pushing Haswell to maximum operating frequencies for everyday use. The power consumption of the Haswell processors is not very high. An 8 phase motherboard is perfectly adequate to supply Haswell with enough power for overclocking.







    Mainstream motherboards feature cheatsheet




    Common to the entire stack is an intuitive and easy to use UEFI, comprehensive AI Suite III software, and a slew of hardware features.





    The Software Situation


    AI Suite has been re-vamped to incorporate new features and a new layout to the GUI. Say hello to AI Suite III:










    CPU frequency, system voltages, temperatures and fan speed monitoring are now persistent at the lower edge of the AI Suite GUI. No need to click back and forth between tabs to monitor these items.


    A total of 8 modules are available as part of the AI Suite III package (dependent on motherboard model):


    4-Way Optimization

    Wi-Fi Engine

    Wi-FI Go!

    NFC Express

    USB BOOST

    USB Charger+

    Ai Charger+

    USB BIOS Flashback



    We still provide the option to select which of the modules to install; it is possible to customize the installation according to needs. AI Suite III is available on TUF and ROG motherboards as well.





    4-Way Optimization











    The automated overclocking portion of AI Suite III has been enhanced; adding more functions and more control. Auto Tuning, EPU, DIGI+ Power and Fan Xpert II modules are now all part of the 4-way tuning process. A single click will optimize the system 4 ways (as the name implies).

    If all four modules are selected, the entire process takes about 10 minutes to complete and is capable of providing a system overclock to around 95% of the processor’s frequency potential. On top of that, the system is optimized for power savings at idle-light loads by EPU, while all plugged in fans are calibrated by Fan Xpert II to ensure optimal speeds and noise levels in relation to system loading.

    Individual modules of the 4-way process can be configured separately or manually if you prefer. And as pointed out earlier, there is the option to prioritize multiplier overclocking over BCLK overclocking (multiplier overclocking is default).

    Auto-tuning writes overclocking settings back to UEFI. If you prefer manually tuning a system, running 4-way optimization first is a great starting point. More so the case when you’re unfamiliar with a platform and which parameters to adjust. Use the software to get the system overclocked, and then you can adjust parameters in UEFI to preference.

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    Other cool new features in AI Suite III:








    In the TPU section, voltages can now be entered manually via the keyboard - you can type in the voltage instead of using the slider to make adjustments.












    For EPU, we’ve added granular control of TDP limiting making possible to set the maximum power of the processor in 1W increments from 10 Watts to 67 Watts. Handy if building a low power file server or low-noise HTPC.












    Add-on USB and SATA controllers can also be set to switch off when there are no devices attached or for hot-pluggable devices, helping to shave off that last few Watts of power consumption.











    EPU and TPU switches are also placed on the motherboard, negating the need to use AI Suite III if you prefer simple. All you need to do is slide the switch you wish to use while the system is powered off, then power the system on and let the EPU/TPU microcontrollers take care of the rest.

    Obviously, using the hardware switches is more limiting than AI Suite III options, however, we’ve provided two stages to the hardware TPU overclock feature. Moving the slider to position one will over clock two cores to 4.3GHz, one core to 4.2GHz and the last core to 4.1GHz. If all four cores are loaded, the core frequency will cap at 4.1GHz. Setting the TPU slider to this position automatically applies the XMP profile for your memory as well – no need to enter UEFI at all!

    Using position two results in a 4.25GHz overclock on all four cores. This profile is suitable for good aftermarket air coolers.

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    New UEFI Features

    Since launch a few years ago, ASUS’s UEFI has become known for offering the smoothest user experience. With each platform release, we aim to improve this further by incorporating new features to make usage and functionality of UEFI even better.



    Hot new additions to UEFI for Haswell


    UEFI’s EZ mode is designed for those of us that want a simple interface without complications. We’ve added the ability to set the time/date, XMP memory options and select fan profiles directly from EZ-Mode instead of needing to enter the advanced mode to do so. While these aren’t huge changes, they make setting the system up easier than ever:




    EZ Mode – simple and intuitive system setup






    Advanced mode has a few new additions, too:



    Last Modified – check what was changed on the last system re-BOOT.



    The Last Modified tab keeps a record of the previous changes to UEFI. Handy for tracking any unsuccessful changes to the system and especially useful if you changed a lot of things at once.








    Quick Note – scratchpad for keeping notes




    Quick Note is an e-diary, you can now take notes of parameter changes when overclocking for reference later on.





    My Favorites – Customizable UEFI!




    One of the hot new UEFI features is the My Favorites page. Any settable function of UEFI can be added to the My Favorites page for convenience. The entire page can be populated with settings from different areas of UEFI, saving time when tuning a system.










    Adding a setting to the shortcuts menu is another way of making UEFI customizable. Right-click on any parameter to add it to the shortcut menu. Selecting the function in the shortcuts menu later takes us to the setting within UEFI directly, making navigation simpler and more efficient.






    SATA port renaming…




    Last but not least is the option to rename each of the SATA ports. When running multiple drives (especially if same model), it can be confusing to know which drive contains the OS or data. Simply rename the ports to reflect what each drive stores to avoid confusion in case it needs to be removed.

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    TUF Motherboards


    Video overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEvU75Twh2c

    Over the years the TUF series of motherboards has become known as the de-facto standard for users who want reliability above all else. That’s because the components, feature set and validation process of these motherboards is designed with that in mind – and it’s all backed by a 5 year warranty.


    First up, the TUF mainstay Sabertooth, armed with Z87:








    Z87 Sabertooth Features



    Z87 Sabertooth stability test at 4.8GHz DDR3-2400




    TUF Feature Rundown


    TUF Armor has been modified with new venting to improve thermal dissipation in hot spots. Air is directed by vents to the back of the motherboard:









    Every IO port has dust covers, to help keep things tidy:




    PCIe slot dust covers...






    The TUF Fortifier- bringing up the rear in style.


    To improve motherboard rigidity and thermal dissipation, the Fortifier is placed at the back of the board. For those of you wondering, the Fortifier does not have any special PC case requirements – it’ll fit all cases that are suitable for an ATX motherboard.





    TUF Components

    TUF motherboards feature components that tolerate wider temperature ranges whilst providing longer lifespan. As an example: Conventional solid polymer capacitors used on motherboards are rated between -55C and +105C, in comparison the capacitors we’re using on TUF motherboards can tolerate temperatures between -70C and +125C. Rated lifespan of these capacitors is up to 5X higher than standard solid capacitors. We team these up with military spec certified MOSFETs and high efficiency chokes to ensure the on-board power delivery circuitry outlasts the lifespan of the platform.




    Software - Thermal Radar 2

    Tying this all together is attention to thermal control. Specialized software called Thermal Radar 2 rounds out the package to ensure system temps are under control in all circumstances. Thermal Radar II is part of the AI Suite III package and available for TUF motherboards only.

    The Sabertooth provides you with no fewer than 8 fan headers. The primary CPU fan header can control both 3-pin and 4-pin fans, while all chassis fan headers will control 4-pin and 3-pin fans in DC mode (3 pin). The lower chassis fan headers are accompanied by thermistor inputs, which can be used with the supplied thermal probes to monitor the temperature of components or peripherals.



    Eight fully controllable fan headers



    Once fans and probes are setup, use Thermal Radar 2 to calibrate each fan:











    Granular fan control – and it’s available for every on-board fan header:



    Set gradients for fan speed according to temps




    Or set static RPM...




    Save your settings to profile or use presets

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    Many of you asked for a micro-ATX sized TUF board. The wait is over:



    The Z87 Gryphon ? Micro ATX done the TUF way?






    Z87 Gryphon Features




    Gryphon comes without the Fortifier and Thermal Armor, although they?re available to purchase as optional extras. Either way, there?s no compromise on component quality or software features. And it?s covered by a 5 year warranty just like the Sabertooth.

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    ROG Motherboards




    The ROG line of motherboards are designed specifically for gamers and overclockers. Enhanced audio, cooling and gamer centric software are a few of the features available on ROG.

    For die-hard overclockers, the Extreme series continues to lead the industry with innovative overclocking functions and hardware tweaks to squeeze every last ounce of performance from the platform.







    Maximus VI Extreme



    Most of the features above are fairly self-explanatory. We’ll detail the ROG exclusive features below. Let’s start with the new OC Panel:





    The new OC Panel



    OC panel is a plug in device that provides external control and display of system temperatures, voltages and overclocking. It can be hand-held, stand on its own, or be mounted in the drive bay of a case:







    OC Panel connects to the motherboard via a data cable, and needs one SATA power cable to function:






    Overview of available functions in “Normal Mode”:










    OC panel allows monitoring of system temperatures, speeds together with control of CPU Level-Up overclocking and fan profiles.


    For extreme overclockers there’s a host of additional features:







    Subzero Sense: Provides a temperature readout for K-Type thermal probes. No need for an additional digital temperature monitor when using subzero forms of cooling.

    VGA SMB: Connect your compatible graphics cards to the OC Panel via this header for hardware level control of GPU power functions such as Loadline, Switching Frequency, OCP and voltage. Compatible with CHIL buck controller based GPUs only.


    VGA Hotwire: For GPU modders. Connect these headers to each of your GPUs for real-time voltage control.


    Slow Mode: Down-clocks the CPU to minimum ratio. A helpful feature to use between benchmark runs and for saving screenshots when system stability may be an issue.


    Pause Switch
    : Halts the system at the hardware level. Useful for heavy load benchmarks where the CPU or GPUs are heavily stressed. Allows the system to be paused so that temperatures can be better controlled during the benchmark.



    Every Z87 ROG motherboard is compatible with the new OC Panel. However’ it is only bundled with the Maximus VI Extreme. It will be available to purchase separately for the Z87 Gene, Formula or Hero.





    Maximus VI Gene



    Maximus VI Gene is back. New gaming oriented software and new hardware additions. We’ll get into the gaming oriented features a little later. It makes sense to cover the new mPCIE Combo II feature now, however.

    NGFF Socket II: Is a new socket standard with PCIeX2 bandwidth. NGFF compatible SSDs can be used with this interface, meaning you can plug a NGFF SSD directly into this header on the board (sold separately) and use it as a cache drive to bolster system performance.

    In previous generations the ROG line-up was comprised of three models – Gene, Formula and Extreme. Formula will come a little later, but there’s a new model that’s available at launch called Hero:



    Maximus VI Hero



    Hero fills a void for an ATX size mid-range gaming board. It’s aimed at budget conscious gamers and that want ROG centric features as part of their new build – SupremeFX, GameFirst II and an overclocking oriented UEFI are all standard.


    Maximus VI Hero video overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0rHUSQrljs


    Gaming Features




    SupremeFX



    Gene, Formula and Hero have a specialized audio solution called SupremeFX. Based on Realtek’s latest ALC1150 chipset and the Cirrus Logic DAC, the ROG team has optimized the PCB layout of these boards by isolating layers and spacing sensitive traces away from other areas of the motherboard. Shielding is also utilized to minimize spurious noise from entering signal lines. High quality capacitors are used for power supply decoupling to minimize ripple and provide a low impedance at audio critical frequencies.

    On the software side, the latest addition to the package is Sonic Radar:




    The Sonic Radar GUI



    Sonic Radar is a HUD that is useful in FPS games. It shows a visual representation of where sounds are coming from. The location of footsteps, gunshots, explosions and anything else is shown in the 360 degree HUD while gaming:


    BF3 – Sonic Radar showing direction of audio effects




    The HUD can be made more transparent and its location on the screen changed. Sonic Radar very useful feature when gaming with stereo headsets, where surround effects are simulated and may not be easy to pinpoint.


    On the subject of headsets, Perfect Voice has been added to improve the clarity of VOIP calls. It’s a software based filter that uses digital signal processing to remove noise pickup from your mic while making a call:




    DSP helps reduce ambient noise for clearer comms



    Perfect Voice works with any plug in microphone/headset to clean up voice transmission during calls.



    ROG RAMDISK





    With high density memory modules and kits becoming the norm, many of us have an abundance of free memory on our systems that never gets utilized. ROG RAM Disk has been coded to take advantage of that free space to help speed up the system.



    ROG RAM Disk GUI



    Unlike many free RAM drive tools, ROG RAM DISK has no size limitations – up to 80% of the free memory (not used by the OS) can be configured as a RAM drive.

    To get you an idea of how fast a RAM drive is, check the screenshot below:



    10000 MB/s sequential write speeds



    Applications stored on ROG RAM DISK are written to hard storage (HHD/SSD) when the system is prompted for shutdown.



    Of course, re-installing games to the RAM DISK would be a painful experience. That's why ROG RAM DISK has a feature know as Junction Mode.









    Setting a junction point to a game folder allows critical game files to be transferred to the RAM DISK without interfering with the original installation. Just point the software at the game folder and it will take care of the rest. This way, critical files such as maps can be accessed directly from the RAM DISK, speeding up load times.





    UEFI

    ROG motherboards are known for having a comprehensive UEFI for overclocking. That hasn't changed for Z87, we’re providing more options than ever. Maximus VI Extreme UEFI pcitured - options will vary according to model.









    The Maximus VI Extreme has lots of hardware settings available for tweakers. Many of these require on-board hardware to work – you won’t find these on other boards. This is stuff we tested extensively during platform development that helps to wring out the most from each CPU.

    We’ve spent a lot of time refining parameters so that manual tuning isn't needed to get the most from the system. Manual tuning is of course still possible if manual tweaking is preferred.

    The ROG boards have been tuned to work with all kinds of memory modules. There are more profile presets than ever before:












    LOADS of memory profiles





    There’s multiple types of profile for each configuration and all popular DRAM ICs – and some unpopular ones, too!

    To make things easier still, there’s a neat community resource known as ROG Exchange that works with our Z87 ROG motherboards that allows you to share UEFI profiles with friends.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=4OBzSefkiDw

    If stuck with UEFI settings, ROG connect allows getting help from a friend who can share settings in a profile that can be downloaded and used by others.




    SSD Secure Erase from UEFI



    There’s more to ROG UEFI’s than overclocking, however. A neat n+1 feature of the ROG Z87 UEFI is that it incorporates a secure erase tool for SSDs.




    Supported SSDs can be secure erased directly from UEFI, restoring them to original performance levels easily.


    Stability Tests:

    Maximus VI Extreme stability test at 4.8GHz DDR3-2400






    Maximus VI Hero stability test at 4.8GHz DDR3-2400






    Maximus VI Gene stability test at 4.8GHz DDR3-2400










    Overclocking Guides/Videos for Z87 Motherboards:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=Jq3TE-1whi8

    http://kylebennett.com/ASUS/OCingGuidev0.99.zip

  8. #8
    3D Team Captain Don_Dan's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting, Raja!

    I love that there's still a profile for Elpida Hyper...
    What does "New Single-sided" refer to? Hynix MFR as well?

    Quote Originally Posted by chew* View Post
    You can never have enough D9's.

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    I am Xtreme FlanK3r's Avatar
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    Ufff, long thread man! Maybe only liiiiitle things. ROG thread could be separate? There is many ROG fans.
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    Xtreme X.I.P. Raja@ASUS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don_Dan View Post
    Thanks for posting, Raja!

    I love that there's still a profile for Elpida Hyper...
    What does "New Single-sided" refer to? Hynix MFR as well?
    Yes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlanK3r View Post
    Ufff, long thread man! Maybe only liiiiitle things. ROG thread could be separate? There is many ROG fans.

    True, but there is one Raja, and he wants to keep things in one thread

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    How is ASUS doing regarding IOMMU (Intel VT-d/AMD-Vi) support?

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    Depends on what the chipset supports. Past few years, most Vt-d features have been shifted over to Q series chipsets by Intel. We won't be claiming any pseudo support if the chipset does not fully support or pass all tests.

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    Not seeing the ROG boards for sale anywhere yet. Any idea when they will show up?
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    Xtreme Member PolRoger's Avatar
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    I'm running a Z87-Deluxe and seem to be experiencing some kind of BIOS/hardware incompatabilty(?) using the Intel yellow SATA ports and an OCZ Vertex2 SSD. The board doesn't seem to recognize the drive correctly... sometimes the drive doesn't even show up in UEFI. I wasn't successful at loading Windows either (kept getting bluescreens). However, the ASMedia brown SATA ports do work with the OCZ drive so I've been using those. I don't currently have access to my other hdd drives at this time and I haven't been able to do further troubleshooting on the native Intel ports.
    Haswell/IB/SB on a Dimastech Bench table.

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    Nice boards but the USB bug would bother me too much and waiting two or three months is not an option for me. I think I'm gonna take the 4770K back and decide whether I should get another Z77 config or step up to the X79 platform cause right now I need a 3-way SLI capable mobo...(boooo Intel)
    Last edited by solofly; 06-03-2013 at 01:27 PM.
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    Registered User RamjetRanch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solofly View Post
    Nice boards but the USB bug would bother me too much and waiting two or three months is not an option for me. I think I'm gonna take the 4770K back and decide whether I should get another Z77 config or step up to the X79 platform cause right now I need a 3-way SLI capable mobo...(boooo Intel)
    The C2 chipset stepping is due in July. The USB issue seems to be minor compared to the thermal and OC issues. It will take more than a chipset stepping to fix those.
    All ram, no bull

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by PolRoger View Post
    I'm running a Z87-Deluxe and seem to be experiencing some kind of BIOS/hardware incompatabilty(?) using the Intel yellow SATA ports and an OCZ Vertex2 SSD. The board doesn't seem to recognize the drive correctly... sometimes the drive doesn't even show up in UEFI. I wasn't successful at loading Windows either (kept getting bluescreens). However, the ASMedia brown SATA ports do work with the OCZ drive so I've been using those. I don't currently have access to my other hdd drives at this time and I haven't been able to do further troubleshooting on the native Intel ports.
    I have this, Sandforce-based drives have issues with some BIOSes. Same issue was present on Z77 for me, but was fixed with BIOS updates. NOt all boards have this problem for me, only two out of 7 so far.

    Not just an "ASUS issue".

  19. #19
    Assistant Administrator Buckeye's Avatar
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    That OC panel looks very nice
    Nice boards ASUS !

  20. #20
    Xtreme X.I.P. Raja@ASUS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cadaveca View Post
    I have this, Sandforce-based drives have issues with some BIOSes. Same issue was present on Z77 for me, but was fixed with BIOS updates. NOt all boards have this problem for me, only two out of 7 so far.

    Not just an "ASUS issue".

    Some of these Sandforce controllers are non compliant with SATA spec for startup according to Intel. Not much we can do about that part, it makes their detection flaky.

  21. #21
    Xtreme X.I.P. Raja@ASUS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lochabar View Post
    Not seeing the ROG boards for sale anywhere yet. Any idea when they will show up?
    North America is expecting shipment of boards this week. Other regions not sure as I only cover NA.

    -Raja

  22. #22
    Xtreme X.I.P. Raja@ASUS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solofly View Post
    Nice boards but the USB bug would bother me too much and waiting two or three months is not an option for me. I think I'm gonna take the 4770K back and decide whether I should get another Z77 config or step up to the X79 platform cause right now I need a 3-way SLI capable mobo...(boooo Intel)
    The USB issue is only a minor wake up from sleep issue where the drive needs to be plugged back in if the system fell asleep with you streaming video AFAIK (innostar drives). If that does not affect you (as it won't most people), there's not much to be concerned about. That's why Intel released the chipset anyway. The usage scenario for desktops is a bit of a rarity..

  23. #23
    I am Xtreme
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raja@ASUS View Post
    Some of these Sandforce controllers are non compliant with SATA spec for startup according to Intel. Not much we can do about that part, it makes their detection flaky.
    Such is life. It's only these older drives, so oh well. Secondary controllers sometimes or using USB 3.0 dock works just as well. :p

  24. #24
    Registered User Rosty's Avatar
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    i got this Asus Z87-K
    when I use USB 3 in io panel, freeze the system ...
    there are 4 normal usb, i use 2 for CD drive and also 2 for mouse and keyboard, so only usb 3 back.. any fix for this ?
    My overclocking is better than my english, sorry

  25. #25
    Xtreme X.I.P. Raja@ASUS's Avatar
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    What devices are you plugging in (make/model) and which OS? Can't really offer any help with such limited information in your post.

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