Asus Z87 Deluxe Motherboard Review
As mentioned in our previous reviews, this section (UEFI firmware) is the part that separates the good boards from the also rans. Only one motherboard brand (not Asus, ASRock or Gigabyte) has stubbornly refused to make any usability improvements on their Intel 8-series boards (and blatently advertising it as a new “feature” even!), but that’s a story for another day.
The latest Asus UEFI on this board can be described as a minor design tweak over the previous generation which already had quite the ideal layout, with improvements to readability and some nifty functions added, such as a rather useful prompt to show the summary of changes made before committing a save.
Most of the menu options have verbose descriptions, with the more esoteric settings hidden behind strategically positioned submenus. With the Asus UEFI implementation, there is a clear and structured workflow for tweakers to follow (Use Auto/Manual/Profiles, set Base Clock/Dividers, Multipliers, DRAM sub-timings, PWM control, voltages, others).
For most Haswell air/water cooling users, simply setting the XMP profile, desired CPU voltage (1.2-1.25v in most cases) and multiplier value (43-48) while leaving the rest on default AUTO values is all that is needed for a 4.3-4.8GHz overclock (your mileage will vary with CPU silicon quality).
Should you intend to dabble into subzero and see how deep the rabbit hole goes, the board has the proper BCLK/DRAM training routines to use the 1.25/1.66 straps, deviate further from the 100.0MHz DMI bus and hit higher frequencies overall.
The Windows software utility (AI Suite III) also received a makeover, with all the separate functions accessible via menu tabs instead of separate programs. DPC latency (important for the prosumer/competitive gaming crowd) was also not affected when the utility was running in the system background (10-15ms stable), although you should expect occasional latency spikes if the aggressive energy saving routines are engaged.