Intel Core i7 4770K Reviewccokeman -
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Intel Core i7 4770K Closer Look:
Intel's DZ87KLT-75K is built around the Intel Z87 chipset and is a full featured motherboard capable of supporting the Intel Fourth Generation Core i7 and i5 series processors using socket 1150. The board appears to be laid out well with the CPU socket and memory modules in their normal spots. Six PWM fan ports are spread around the PCB for fan connectivity. The black and blue theme has been ongoing and looks outstanding with the improved branding on the heat sink package. The back side of the PCB is fairly plain and shows no additional cooling surfaces outside of the PCB itself.
Device connectivity on the I/O panel includes a socket I have not seen on Intel boards in several years, the PS/2 port, and a pair of high current USB 2.0 ports in yellow. Next up is the Back to BIOS button that allows for a speedy recovery if your overclocked settings are a bit too aggressive. Up next is a Firewire port, dual RJ 45 ports for the Intel network controllers, six SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, a single HDMI 1.4a port, the HD audio solution, and a single Thunderbolt port that supports up to three independent displays. Expansion capabilities include three 16x PCIe ports, three PCIe 1x slots, and a single PCI 2.0 slot.
The bottom side of the PCB features added connectivity, from left to right, the front audio connectors, front panel IEE1394, 4-pin fan header, S/PDIF in/out, and diagnostic LEDs that fire up as system components come on line during the POST sequence. Three more USB front panel headers are next (yellow supports higher currents for charging your smartphone or tablet). A pair of Debug LEDs to display post codes for easy diagnostics is next and then the front panel connections follow. Just above the Debug LEDs is the connection point for a PCI Express mini card.
Up the right side of the PCB are the IR input connection, eight SATA 6Gbps ports (six of which come straight from the Z87 PCH and support Intel's Rapid Storage technologies), a USB 3.0 front panel connection point, the 24-pin ATX power connector, onboard start and reset buttons, and a 4-pin fan connection. Behind the power supply connection are the DIMM slots that support up to 32GB of DDR3 memory at speeds of up to 2133MHz OC.
Across the top of the PCB are additional fan headers, phase LEDs that light up as the power phases of the VRM circuit are utilized, the heat sink over the upper section of the VRM circuit, and the 8-pin 12V CPU auxiliary power connection.
There is plenty of room around the socket for larger cooling solutions with the LGA 1150 socket placed dead center. Two more 4-pin fan headers are seen below the socket for the rear and top fan positions. Intel went big on the heat sink package for the DZ87KLT-75K. The large sink on the major section of the VRM is huge and decorated with the Intel Skull emblem as a nice touch. The small sink is located above the socket with both being actively cooled from the CPU cooling solution. As long as you are not using liquid cooling, that is. The heat sink over the PCH is an improvement over the small passive sink on last year's Z77 platform. It sits low enough that it will clear any expansion card but will not catch much airflow due to the SATA ports in front of it.
Overall the board had a good solid feel once I was able to get into the BIOS. I had to start out with a 4GB set of ultra low voltage memory to get a keyboard recognized after POST. Once in the BIOS I had to update to the latest version to get everything running as planned with the memory set using the XMP profile. The Visual BIOS is functional but not nearly as intuitive as offerings from ASUS. As a first try I have seen worse but it takes some getting used to. Now let's see what the 4770K can do and see if it shows improvement over last years highly successful Third Gen 3770K.