I have to admit I’m an absolute sucker for a good mini-ITX motherboard, and the MSI Z87I is one of the best I’ve come across. There’s something wonderful about pulling a tiny mobo from its packaging knowing that it’s capable of forming an immensely powerful gaming rig. There’s also something rather gratifying about jamming a massive graphics card into that PCIe slot and seeing it dwarfing the board it’s plugged in to.
Asus seem to be losing ground to their motherboard rivals, Intel at the moment, but they've sniped back at Intel's imposed restrictions on CPU overclocking. If you have any Asus 8-series mobo for the Haswell/4th Gen Core you can now upgrade the BIOS to allow full access to the overclocking features of Intel’s K-series processors.
These features were previously only accessible via the top-end Z87 chipset, but this was more of a marketing differentiation than a physical restriction. The unlocked CPU multipliers of the K-series Haswell CPUs - the i7-4770K and i5-4670K - can now be tweaked with abandon on all Asus’ H87 and B85-based boards as well as the Z87 mobos.
The new 4th Gen Core processors from Intel are set to touch down around Computex time next month and in preparation Asus have announced their full line-up of Z87 motherboards. Along with a new range of gold-colouring on their standard Z87 boards, the real interesting stories are coming from the TUF (The Ultimate Force...sigh) and RoG (Republic of Gamers) ranges.
For the first time we’re going to see the RoG range dipping its techie toes into the more mainstream-priced area of the market with the slightly cut-down RoG Maximus VI Hero.
Asus have dropped a few teaser images of their upcoming Gryphon and Z87-Deluxe motherboards on the Republic of Gamers minisite. The Z87 motherboards will house Intel’s 4th Generation Haswell Core processor architecture with the new LGA 1150 socket design. It's a few pins short of the LGA 1155, so we'll definitely need new motherboards if we want to take advantage of Intel's Haswell tech.