PCB Design and Functionality
In the middle of May, before the announcement of the LGA1150 platform, ASUS presented its new gold-themed mainboard design. The traditional red-and-black color scheme of the ROG series has remained intact. The camouflage coloring of the TUF series hasn’t changed, either. But ordinary products now make a heavy use of gold in their design. Being a noble metal, gold is supposed to emphasize the high quality, reliability, performance and advanced technologies of ASUS mainboards.
The LGA1150 socket is compatible with every 4th-generation Intel Core processor. The CPU is powered via a digital voltage converter DIGI+ whose hot components are covered with a heatsink. Like the chipset heatsink, it is secured with spring-loaded plastic latches. The four DDR3 DIMM slots can take in up to 32 gigabytes of system memory clocked at frequencies up to 2933 MHz. The mainboard offers two slots for discrete graphics cards. One is a PCI Express 3.0/2.0 x16 slot which employs CPU-based PCIe lanes. Another is a PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot which employs chipset-based PCIe lanes and works in x4 mode. The installed graphics cards may be combined into a single multi-GPU configuration using AMD CrossFireX technology. Besides that, the mainboard offers two PCIe 2.0 x1 and three PCI slots for expansion cards.
The Intel Z87 chipset endows the mainboard with six SATA 6 Gbit/s ports, and there are no additional controllers here. Only four out of the six USB 3.0 ports available in the chipset are accessible on the Z87-K: two on the back panel and two as an onboard header.
The following connectors can be found on the mainboard’s back panel:
- Two PS/2 connectors for keyboard and mouse;
- D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI video outs;
- Four USB 2.0 ports, another six ports are laid out as three onboard pin-connectors;
- Two USB 3.0 ports (blue connectors), as well as one more internal pin-connector for two additional USB 3.0 ports are provided by Intel Z87 chipset;
- A local network port (network adapter is built on Gigabit Realtek RTL8111GR controller);
- Three analogue audio-jacks provided by eight-channel Realtek ALC887 codec.
The ASUS Z87-K is a rather simple product. It lacks onboard buttons and switches. It has no POST indicator, and the diagnostic system of Q-LED indicators is missing on it. It doesn't support the firmware update technology called USB BIOS Flashback. The handy latches of the graphics slots are the only feature typical of ASUS mainboards we can find here but such latches can be seen on other makers’ products as well. The Z87-K offers three 4-pin connectors for fans and a COM port header.
For your convenience we summed up all technical specifications of this mainboard in the following table: