Intel has released its Z97 platform in 2014. Later, a wide range of motherboards was available for the performance platform. Multiple CPUs such as Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Devil’s Canyon and Broadwell are compatible with this platform. Intel’s Z97 platform consists of different types of boards, and each board aims for a specific key segment.
For all those people who don’t know, Broadwell is mainly a codename for Intel’s fifth-generation CPUs. Broadwell is the successor of the Intel’s Haswell-based processors, and currently, there are only two Broadwell processors that are compatible with Desktops, namely Core i7-5775C and Core i5-5675C.
Broadwell Processors are only compatible with the Socket 1150 motherboards which consist of Intel’s Z97 and H97 Chipsets.
Recent Intel Broadwell based CPUs consist of the highly advanced onboard graphics engine ever, Iris Pro Graphics 9200 and all these chips are compatible with the dual DDR3 RAM.
There are different Z97 motherboards available in the market which are compatible with the Broadwell processors. Hence, you might face difficulty in selecting the best one. To resolve this, we will list the Best Z97 Motherboard Reviews. You can refer the list and purchase the motherboard as per your requirement.
Best Z97 Motherboards for Intel’s Broadwell Processors 2021 – Reviews
MSI is one of the most popular brands, whether we talk about the Video-cards, All-in-one PCs, or custom motherboards. This motherboard from MSI is best in terms of price as well as value.
Initially, the complete blank theme along with the striking red accents and a dragon logo on the heatsink makes it look incredible. The motherboard comes with a lot of amazing features that are suitable for an average gamer.
In MSI’s Z97 Gaming 5, heatsinks are present at the top and the left side of the CPU Socket, hence they are suitable for more overclocking and gaming potentials.
MSI consists of PCB with Military Class 4 Components, and the technology comes with Hi-C Cap, Super Ferrite Chokes and Dark Caps.
Hi-c CAP is little; however, it’s energy efficient (up to 93%) capacitor. Therefore, it falls under the list of Best Z97 motherboards.
Dark Caps are mainly used in the motherboards for a long time due to its 10-year lifespan, and it offers lower Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR).
Here, the Z97 Gaming 5 integrates a Guard-Pro combo features which play an essential role in terms of longevity and durability of the motherboard. Guard-Pro protects from different things such as Humidity, High Temperature, Electro Static Discharge, and Electromagnetic Interference.
Without further ado, here are some of the unique features:
- Atheros Killer LAN E2205:
It is a sharp, QoS Ethernet controller which instantly improves the Internet Connection. Also, it helps to provide the best latency and speeds up the performance of the gaming session over other network interferences.
- Audio Boost 2:
This technology provides great-quality audio experience instantly from the inbuilt ALC 1150 codec on the motherland. The Nichicon chips and audio circuitry, along with two 600ohm headphone amplifiers, are separated by a red LED path to stop bending which occurs due to electromagnetic signals from other components.
Here, the sound clip is isolated, and it acts as an add-on sound card for the processor, which directs to an optional direct audio power to provide excellent signal quality output.
- USB Audio Power:
In case your headphones have an inbuilt sound processing unit and connect through a USB port, then the MSI Gaming 5 provides a particular USB port on the backside which always throws out 5V current to match with your headphones power equipment. This also protects you from useless distortion, which occurs via standard USB port.
- SLI and CrossFire support in Three PCIe x16Slots
- Amazing Sound Quality with Cinema Blaster 2 and Audio Boost 2
- Four USB 3.0 ports and Four USB 2.0 ports are available in the back
- One USB 2.0 header and two USB 2.0 headers in the motherland
- Four PCIe1
- Six SATA 6Gb/s connections
- M.2 Connector slot supports 4.2cm/ 6cm/ 8cm length module at 10Gb/s for PCIe or 6 Gb/s for SATA
- It works properly with SteamOS
- Onboard LED reading
- VGA, DVI and HDMI, 2-way CrossFireX ready
Asrock Z97 Killer falls under our list of Asrock Best Z97 Motherboards. Asrock is built from good-quality Glass Fabric as the core material for the PCB (printed-circuit-board) including effective NextFET MOSFETs (ESD protection), superior quality Alloy Chokes, and 12K Platinum conductive polymer capacitors.
Here, all these parts are specially meant to enhance the durability of the motherboard; however, if you are looking forward to overclocking, then this will not be useful. Moreover, heatsinks are built from cheap quality material, and most probably helps in overclocking at a medium level.
Apart from these specs, the motherboard consists of 15μ Gold-coated contacts present in memory DIMM slots and PCIe slot including a high-density CPU power connector.
Here, Z97 Fatal1ty provides a wide range of goodies for your gaming life known as Gaming Armour.
Gaming Armour shields you from sudden voltage spikes from damaging your motherboard components. Apart from this, you should have one decent power supply for safety purposes.
Two of the most amazing features of the motherboard are:
- Atheros Killer LAN E2200:
It is a smart ethernet controller which provides improved online gaming. It works just like any other NIC, however, consists of an internal QoS algorithm. It enables the system to find out and allocate the bandwidth accordingly. Here, online gaming session to have low latency, excellent speed, and keeps less load on system resources.
- Purity Sound 2:
The technology is as per the Realtek ALC1150 codec present in the mid-range and premium motherboards, displaying 7.1 HD Channels, 115dB SNR and two NE5532 amplifiers.
- 8-Power Phase Design.
- One PCIe 3.0 x16 slot
- One PCIe x1 runs at x2
- One PCIe 2.0 x16 runs at x4 (x2, if the PCIe x1 stated above, is occupied)
- Two standard PCI slots
- Motherboard assists only Crossfire / Quad Crossfire.
- Six SATA III ports
- One SATA Express Port
- One M.2 Socket
- It consists of Two USB 2.0 and Four USB 3.0 on the back panel
- It consists of Two USB 2.0 headers and one USB 3.0 header on board
- One Thunderbolt header
- Fatal1ty USB Mouse Port
The Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H is an average model that is meant for an informal enthusiast who is not concerned about overclocking, even though they don’t have any issue with overclocking features like DualBIOS switch and voltage read points. The board also consists of a power button with a two-digit debug display so that you can troubleshoot any of the issues.
The highly durable motherboard is built from the great-quality components like 15-micron gold sockets and 10k black capacitors. The design is new, which consist of mustard yellow color giving shine to metallic components and providing a clean and sleek look.
- Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201:
It is an intelligent, adaptive, Ethernet controller that utilizes SmartQoS, manual traffic prioritization to enhance your gaming experience. It also provides better audio, OC RAM Support, and LAN.
- UEFI DualBios:
The board consists of an extra BIOS ROM for backup purposes. In any case, you destroy the first one; you can flip a switch and start it over again.
- It consists of Realtek ALC1150 HD Audio Codec and rear audio amplifier
- Atheros Killer networking port that allows advanced interrupt handling
- 3x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slot, 2x PCI-Express 2.0 x1 Slots, 2x PCI Slots
- Multiple Graphics: Supports 3-way/2-way AMD crossfire and 2-way NVIDIA SLI Technology
- Supports 3 displays at the same time
- 1 x M.2 PCIe connector
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
- PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slots
- 8 X USB 3.0 and 6 X USB 2.0 slots
Gigabyte is one of the most popular firms when we talk about motherboards. With the help of strong marketing, Gigabyte is the only company which stands strong with Asustek.
Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 3 falls under our list of Best Z97 Motherboards. Now, we can compare the Gigabyte Motherboard with Asrock and MSI Motherboards.
The key signature of the Gigabyte Motherboard is that they are Ultra Durable. According to the Manufacturer’s viewpoint, its a perfect mixture of high-quality components to provide high quality, energy efficient, solid performance system board and thermal management for overclocking with no compromises.
G1 AMP-UP Audio Technology:
The essential thing of these motherboards is that they highly focus on the quality of audio output as compared to other features. They consist of a dedicated, insulated portion on the PCB for sound hardware components.
For those users who don’t know AMP-UP is a capability to equip with various operational amplifiers other than the original one as an upgrade for good sound experience. But, as Gaming 3 is an entry-level motherboard, it doesn’t support Opamps.
Primarily, the maker utilizes great-quality 8-Channel HD ALC-1150 SNR 115dB processor, and 600ohm amplifier for the professional headset, in order to use Custom-AMP Technology. The entire audio system operates on the Sound Blaster X-Fi platform, one of the highly powerful engines made especially for gaming purposes; i.e., Scoutcode, 3DSurround, VoiceFX, and Creative ALchemy.
Moreover, Gigabyte separates the whole audio hardware zone from PCB layers using the LED trace path lightning. They can also move one-step ahead by differentiating analog and digital ground, the left and right audio channels on separate channels on different layers to protect the output signal from EMI fully.
- Atheros Killer E2201:
Killer E2201 is an intelligent, adaptive Ethernet controller which uses smart QoS, manual traffic prioritization to the great gaming experience.
For instance, if you are playing a game online, listening to Spotify and also at the same time downloading software, the chipset effectively uses the connection to provide the best latency in your game and also provides sufficient bandwidth to music and the software you are downloading.
UEFI DualBIOS: This motherboard includes an additional BIOS ROM for backup. Suppose you are not able to manage the situation on the first one, then you can flip it and start it from the beginning.
- 2x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slots
- 1x PCI-Express 2.0 x16 Slot (runs at X4)
- 3x PCI-Express 2.0 x1 Slot. All three are disabled if PCIe 2.0 x16 above is occupied
- 1x PCI Slot
- Supports 2-way or 3-way Crossfire or 2-way SLI
- 1x M.1 Socket
- 1x SATA Express port
- 6x SATA III ports
- Consists of 4x USB 3.0 ports and 4x 2.0 Ports on the back panel
- 1x USB 3.0 header and 2x USB 2.0 header
- 2x CPU fan headers
- 4x Memory slots are available
The Asrock Z97 Extreme 6 Motherboard falls under the list of Best Z97 Motherboards. Also, it is in the high-end category of Socket 1150 motherboards and several gamers who are serious about overclocking. Primarily, the two leading desktop Broadwell Processors, the Core i7-5775C and the Core i5-5675C, are both unlocked. Hence, they will be able to utilize various overclocking features via the motherboards BIOS.
This motherboard is not suitable for beginners, and if you are not looking for overclocking, then there are highly suitable and low-cost motherboards available in the market.
There are ample storage options available with ten SATA 6Gb/s ports, two M.2 ports, and two SATA Express ports. It consists of seven fan headers, which is enough. BIOS is straightforward to use and quick boot time is an added benefit.
- Purity Sound 2:
The technology is according to the Realtek ALC1150 codec available in the mid-range and superior motherboards, displaying 7.1 HD Channels, 115dB SNR and two NE5532 amplifiers.
- Supports Quad CrossFire and Quad SLI
- Consists of Realtek ALC1150 HD Audio Codec with Purity Sound 2 sound system for unbelievable sound
- Thunderbolt ready which supports maximum 6 Thunderbolt devices
- Two M.2 slots
- One SATA Express port
- Three PCIe x16 connections
- Ten SATA 6Gb/s ports
- Ten USB 3.0 and five USB 2.0 ports
We hope that you have checked Best Z97 Motherboard reviews and chosen the motherboard. If you like our list of Motherboards, then don’t forget to share it with your friends and followers.