One of the things that makes a board stand out from the crowd, beside features and price, is how well it performs. Even with a massive feature set a board is not going to do well if the performance is not there. With the Z97-I Asus is trying to push the same level of features that you would find in a larger board, but will they be able to get the same level of performance? That is what we are looking to find out today. So without much in the way of ceremony, let’s get into why you are here and see what the Z97-I is hiding inside its small frame. You can also check out our coverage of the design and features of the Z97I Plus.
The small form factor crowd has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years. Every day on Facebook or some other spot on the internet you will see some pretty impressive builds with tiny motherboards stuffed in them. However, one of the things that has always seemed to be missing I full chipset support. Most of the time you can find mini-ITX boards running business or consumer chipsets. Fortunately, this trend has been changing and we are seeing more powerful boards hitting the market. We have one of these newer boards in the lab in the form of the Asus Z97I Plus. This Z97 chipset based board is intended to put all the power and features of larger boards into a tiny package. Let’s see how well Asus does at reaching this goal.
Gigabyte is not a company to be left out of any market and they are certainly keeping pace in the motherboard arena. They are one of the companies that not only leads sales, but also helps to drive innovation and performance standards. We have had many Gigabyte motherboards in the lab and almost without exception they have been great performers. Gigabyte has also been able to learn from their mistakes and from feedback, whether it is from consumers or the press. So where does this leave Gigabyte in the Z87 market? Well we happen to have a Z87X-UD3H in the lab, so let’s take a look and see.
With the official launch of the new Intel processors the introduction of new motherboards also started. Gigabyte offer is as usual huge and consists of as many as 25 different boards.
Finally we have some insight into the new chips in Intel's Haswell line up. The Guys at the VR-Zone got a hold of the list of models whose launch is scheduled for the first half of 2013. The Haswell line of processors (Core i5 and i7) will initially consist of a total of 14 models - eight pieces will be more fuel efficient, and the rest will be "normal" processors for use in desktop computers.