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Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE Review

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Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE Conclusion:

The performance envelope that most of the Z97 boards on the market perform in at stock speeds is pretty narrow. Enhancements to how well they are tuned to run, as far as boost clock and memory tuning, have an impact on how well the boards perform before taking the time to tune for the best overall performance profile. Out of the box, I found that this board from Biostar would only increase the turbo boost clock to a maximum of 37, effectively limiting its performance potential at bone stock settings when compared to the rest of the boards it is tested against. A simple fix may already be implemented with the latest BIOS, but if not, the fix at the user level would be to manually tune the turbo boost clock multiplier to 39 to bring performance into line with expectations. Quick and easy.

Along that line, overclocking the Hi-Fi Z97WE proved to be fairly easy once I found my way around the BIOS. I finished my overclocking with a clock speed of just over 4.6GHz, which puts the Hi-Fi Z97WE within 50MHz of most of the boards I have tested. It pretty much gave me about as much as I can get with the chip I used. Performance still seemed a little off, but more tuning and digging further into the memory sub timings would likely fix this. As an overclocking motherboard, the 10-phase power circuit seems to do the trick in delivering consistent power to the processor.

When you look at the feature set on the Hi-Fi Z97WE, the big draw is the Hi-Fi sound solution. I was surprised to see that Biostar chose to use the older ALC 892 codec instead of the newer ALC 1150 from Realtek. Even so, the design rated very good overall in the RMAA testing. I did not have any real issues with the sound using my Razer headset for some gaming and extended music listening. The accessory bundle is not massive by any means, but we are talking about a $124 motherboard that is capable of running with just about any board at its price point. As a mainstream offering, the Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE will easily meet your needs.

 

Pros:

  • Overclocking
  • Feature set
  • Pricing

 

Cons:

  • Boost clock only hits 3700MHz on Auto


 

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