Intel DZ87KLT-75K £216
23rd Jun 2013 | 08:30
We're almost sad this is Intel's last full size ATX motherboard
Give it up for the end of an era, because Intel is getting out of the motherboard game. The 8 Series boards it makes to accompany its new Haswell CPUs are the last full-sized desktop boards it'll produce. So is it goodbye and good riddance, or will we miss them when they're gone?
Credit where it's due, Intel has turned things around a little when it comes to listening to what PC enthusiasts want. It used to take the attitude that it knew best and anyone who didn't agree could sod off.
A delightful example of this was the relatively piffling issue of legacy ports on the back panel. Intel didn't go in for them, so you didn't get any PS/2 ports for mice and keyboards, even on its priciest board. To be fair to Intel, it wasn't a cost issue - it just didn't think they were necessary.
Except, just occasionally, they are. For instance, when you have a USB keyboard that just won't wake up until after the board has past POST and is well in its way to booting the OS, leaving you a bit stuffed if you want to plunge into the BIOS options.
Anyway, Intel has stuck a PS2 port onto the DZ87KLT-75K, so that's progress. Unfortunately, it's not uniform. In its wisdom, Intel has only provided a single HDMI-out port for hooking up integrated graphics. There's no DVI or DisplayPort, which is irritating.
Style over sense
Where things get actually problematic is the BIOS itself. For starters, the look and layout of the overclocking screens are beyond baffling. There are trace lines of sorts that are meant - we assume - to guide you through the process, but leave you scratching your head and at a total loss as to what it all means. Presumably, the aim was techy and slick. The result is borderline laughable.
Making matters worse, Intel eschews convention in some areas when it comes to naming the various options, only adding to the befuddlement. It's a shame, because superficially, it's a pretty sexy looking BIOS menu.
Funnily enough, in actual performance terms, overclocking is where this board falls flat. At stock clocks, it's very nippy indeed. Has Intel done a better job of optimising the DZ87KLT-75K for its new Haswell chips than the competition, or does it know something nobody else does? We'll never know, but it's the quickest Z87 board we've seen at standard operating frequencies.
Problem is, the gap is pretty small at stock clocks and doesn't make up for a disappointing overclocking result of 4.5GHz compared to 4.7GHz for the competition.
Single threaded performance
Cinebench R11.5: Index score: Higher is better
ASUS Z87-PRO: 1.76
GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER M5: 1.72
INTEL DZ87KLT-75K: 1.77
ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77: 1.64
Memory bandwidth performance
SiSoft Sandra: GB/S: Higher is better
ASUS Z87-PRO: 17.47
GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER M5: 17.45
INTEL DZ87KLT-75K: 17.56
ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77: 16.41
Shogun 2: FPS: Higher is better
ASUS Z87-PRO: 38.1
GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER M5: 37.1
INTEL DZ87KLT-75K: 37.9
ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77: 35.6
Elsewhere, there's actually quite a lot to like. The chipset cooling is distinctive, stylish and sturdy, for instance. There's a ton of USB ports on the back panel, including six 3.0 items and a pair of 2.0s, not to mention two Gigabit Ethernet adapters.
Expansion wise, we're talking two x16 PCI Express slots and a third physical x16 slot that actually delivers four lanes. There's even an old school PCI slot.
Throw in both Bluetooth and N-spec WLAN, and you've got yourself a nice package and one of the better Intel boards in recent memory, but not one we'd want to buy. We won't exactly be dancing on Intel's grave, but nor will we be shedding too many tears.