In our big round-up of 37 Haswell motherboards, the Gigabyte Z87X-OC was one of our favorite motherboards. It's designed for overclockers and has tons of useful features to that end. That board also comes in a deluxe version which we will take a closer look at today.
The Gigabyte Z87X-OC and Z87X-OC Force have more similarities than differences, so please have a look at our review of the former.
The main difference is that the Z87X-OC Force is equipped with a PLX PEX8747 chip that can double the 16 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes from the CPU. Because of that, the four orange PCI-Express slots can be configured 16/0/16/0, 16/0/8/8 and 8/8/8/8 which supports 4-way SLI and 4-way Crossfire. The black PCI-Express x16 slot is directly connected to the CPU, so if you have one video card you want to overclock you have 0 extra latency. It's a clever solution we've seen before with MSI and ASRock.
Another difference is that the Force motherboard has 16 instead of 8 phases for the CPU power supply, all IR PowIRstage chips. Gigabyte claims this increases the overclocking potential even further. The cooler on the CPU power supply components have also been upgraded, as the large heatsink can be connected to a liquid cooling set. Gigabyte added two fans, one on the heatsink for the CPU and one by the chipset. Noise is of course less of an issue for overclockers.
The Z87X-OC has six SATA600 ports and for the OC Force that's been increased to 10. The Realtek ALC892 audio codec has been replaced by a higher-quality ALC898. The is one more Gigabit LAN port, and as a bonus you get a PCI-Express card with 802.11n WLAN and Bluetooth 4.0. There are nice instead of eight PWM fan connectors.
The same hip overclocking features make their return, including many voltage measuring points, practical extra buttons and a bracket for using a graphics card without a motherboard. Some things have been left off, such as the USB ports on the front of the board, along with the Direct-to-BIOS button.
The BIOS is exactly the same, and at the bottom of the page there are a few BIOS screenshots.
The price difference is pretty significant, however. The Z87X-OC costs an average of $198, but the Z87X-OC Force costs $403.