ASUS Z87-Expert Overview
The Z87-Expert has a very attractive black and gold color scheme. The PCB is black and the heatsinks, DIMM slots, expansion slots and other connections are gold. All of the motherboards in ASUS’s mainstream line follow this color scheme. Being from Pittsburgh I definitely enjoy ASUS’s choice to go with these colors.
If we start up at the CPU socket the Z87-Expert features the LGA1150 socket which supports Intel’s latest 4th generation Haswell processors. The board features an 8+1 all digital power phase design. This is 8 phases for the CPU and a single phase for the memory. The power delivery components are passively cooled by two large heatsinks.
Along the top of the board you will find your 8pin CPU power connection. Moving over you have two 4pin fan connectors. The black one is the CPU optional fan if you happen to have a CPU cooler with two fans. The yellow one is the main CPU fan connector. You will notice a little tab on the end. This is actually a detection latch that will determine if you have a 3pin or 4pin fan connected. This way you can use ASUS’s software to control this fan no matter if its 3pin or 4pin. Previously you were only able to do this with 4pin fans.
The Z87-Expert supports dual channel memory up to 32GB running at DDR3-3000 by way of the four DIMM slots. These slots are color-coded so you know which slots to install your memory for dual-channel operation. Starting at the top edge of the board you have the MemOK! button. If you are having trouble booting your system because of memory you can press this button and it will automatically find the right settings for the memory so the system will boot. Moving down there is another 4pin fan connector, 24pin ATX fan connector, USB 3.0 header and another 4pin fan connector.
There are a total of 8 SATA ports on the Z87-Expert. The six yellow ports are SATA 6GB/s and are controlled by the Z87 chipset. The remaining two ports are also SATA 6GB/s and are controlled by the ASMedia controller.
Along the bottom of the board you will find quite a few different buttons, connectors and switches. There are dip switches for both the TPU and EPU. You have a header that can be used to clear the CMOS. Starting from right to left on the bottom of the board you have your front panel headers, a 4pin fan connector, four USB 2.0 headers, DirectKey button, BIOS flashback button, debug LED, power button, TPM header and front panel audio headers.
As far as expansion slots go you have three PCI-Express x16 slots and four PCI-Express x1 slots. The way the PCI-Express x16 slots work is if you have a single card installed it will run at x16 speeds, two cards the speeds drop down to x8 each and with three cards the configuration would be x8, x4, x4. There is also a 4pin fan connector above the top PCI-Express x1 slot. This is the perfect location to connect the rear exhaust fan on your case.
Moving along to the I/O on the back of the board you have a PS/2 combo port, six USB 3.0 ports, antenna connections for the WiFi, HDMI, VGA, DVI, Gigabit Ethernet, audio connections and Thunderbolt.