Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE Reviewccokeman - July 24, 2014
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Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE Introduction:
The Z97 motherboard landscape is saturated with offerings that run from mild to wild and all points in between, even down to the manufacturer level. Today we are looking at a board from Biostar that sits at the top of its Z97 product stack. Packed full of Biostar-specific features, the Hi-Fi Z97WE is built to offer a ton of usability that centers not only on the hardware, but the software package that makes it all click. This Hi-Fi Z97WE is billed as a board that offers a vastly improved sound solution using an isolated power and ground path, built-in amplifier, and Non-Polarized Electrolysis Electric audio capacitors to drive higher sampling rates and near lossless audio quality. The sound solution does not fully make the board, but it is a significant feature to go along with 4K support, M.2 support, ESD and over-current protection, and more; all at a $124 price point. Let's dig into the Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE and see what Biostar has to offer the Intel enthusiast looking for a lower cost, high performance motherboard.
Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE Closer Look:
Starting off with the packaging, Biostar lists not only the motherboard name on the front panel, but gives the potential customer a good look at the features right up front. Of course the board supports current Fourth Generation Core series processors with the capability of supporting upcoming Broadwell processors from Intel. Up front, we see the board uses solid capacitors, natively supports DDR3 2800MHz memory, supports 4K/2K resolutions, and has Dual GB Ethernet ports. The back side details the Hi-Fi feature set, hitting all eight selling points as well as revisiting the information on the front of the package. Inside, the accessory package takes up space at the top of the box, with the Hi-Fi Z97WE filling up the bottom half of the box.
Not extravagant by any means, the accessory bundle includes a user's manual, driver and support disk, Audio and Smart Ear Software utility guide, stainless steel I/O panel, and several SATA data cables wrapped up with a velcro strap. There's not a lot here, but it's more than enough to get the majority of users connected and running without a need for additional parts. Besdies, the slim bundle helps keep the costs down for the end user.
The majority of the focus looks to be the hardware package; mainly the Hi-Fi Z97WE motherboard. It should be interesting to see what Biostar has in store for the end user. For the overclocker, we get a 10-phase power circuit to provide a stable power supply to the processor, so let's see what the hardware has to offer us before we put the screws to it.