We kick off the review by looking at the rear I/O panel. Here we get a full complement of display, USB, audio and networking ports, including dual Gigabit LAN and triple display outputs via full-sized HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 and miniDP connectors. Certain sub-SKUs of the Z87 Deluxe even have Thunderbolt connectivity, but sadly not on our review set.
The 802.11ac networking solution is handled by a 2T2R dual-band Broadcom mPCIe, which can be hooked up to the provided desktop antenna (mountable on any magnetic surface). Next, onboard audio is driven by a Realtek ALC1150 codec (115dB rated SNR), although Asus doesn’t brag of any special audio treatment or shielding here. Finally, we have a pair of no-frills Intel I217V and Realtek 8111C-GR Gigabit Ethernet controllers for wired networking.
Turning our attention to the other side, storage enthusiasts will be delighted to find 10 ports of SATA 6Gb/s, with four of them enabled using two ASMedia ASM1061 controllers and the rest from the Intel Z87 Lynx Point PCH.
Expansion slot layout can be described as fairly typical, with three PCI-E x16 slots electrically wired for 16-0-0/8-8-0/8-4-4 operation. The bottom of the motherboard houses a pair of PORT-80 debug LEDs and onboard power/reset buttons, which we at VR-Zone consider as basic necessities for an overclocking build.
For the less technically inclined, Asus has also provided a TPU overclocking switch, with two predefined profiles to set the correct memory speed/timing when used with XMP compatible memory and bring an unlocked CPU such as the 4770k up to 4.1/4.2GHz automatically without any further user intervention. Likewise, there is a switch to toggle the EPU microcontroller for aggressive energy savings.