When we get down to studying a new breed of mainboards designed for new CPUs or based on new chipsets, we usually start with flagship models. Why? Because every manufacturer wants to present his products in the most favorable light, so they are all eager to offer us their top-end products in the first place as sporting the most advanced mix of technologies and extra features available at the current moment. It is very exciting to test flagship mainboards and such reviews are popular among our readers, yet when it comes to actual purchasing, most of us would prefer simpler models. Even besides the price factor, which is important too, not all of us can really make use of the entire potential offered by flagship mainboards. Many users will never need anything more than a mainstream or even entry-level product.
So, we started our series of reviews of LGA1150 mainboards based on Intel’s Z87 chipset from the opposite end of the spectrum, i.e. from junior models. They are suitable not only for enthusiasts but also for ordinary users, thus being more interesting from a practical point of view. ASUS’s entry-level Z87-K model was the first to be tested. Then we checked out Gigabyte’s GA-Z87X-D3H and MSI’s Z87-G43. The ASRock Z87 Extreme4 was the only model from the mainstream rather than entry-level class.
Now that we’ve got a general notion of Z87-based mainboards from the four major brands, it’s time to take a look at more advanced products. Intel’s DZ87KLT-75K model we are going to discuss today doesn’t offer us any alternative, though. It can be viewed as both senior and junior just because it is the only model from Intel which is based on the Z87 chipset. Intel produces simpler LGA1150 mainboards but they are based on the H87, Q87 or B85 chipset. It is a striking contrast with ASRock, ASUS and Gigabyte, each of which offers over a dozen models based on the Z87 alone (and a number of LGA1150 mainboards with the other chipsets). MSI has announced about ten Z87-based models as well. It looks like Intel has begun to prepare to the promised discontinuation of its mainboard business. The reduced product range is just one of the first steps in this process.
Anyway, the Intel DZ87KLT-75K is a very advanced LGA1150 product, which is definitely superior to any we’ve tested so far in terms of capabilities. We wrote in a previous review that Intel mainboards are underestimated by enthusiasts, so now we have a chance to check this out in practice. We’ve got the most feature-rich mainboard from the major CPU and chipset developer, so can it set an example for other mainboard makers to follow?