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May
31
2014

Supermicro C7Z97-OCE Motherboard Overview

Supermicro C7Z97-OCE Motherboard Overview

The Supermicro C7Z97-OCE is not your typical motherboard from server manufacturer. Unlike their other motherboards that are built for XEON chips and multi-scale server solutions, the C7Z97 OCE is their second board aimed at gamers with its high quality components and easy overclocking features.

Unlike their previous generation gaming motherboard, the new board utilizes Intel’s latest Z97 chipset which supports the upcoming Devil’s Canyon line of CPUs as well as M.2 and SATA Express.

Inside the box, you’ll find your SATA cables, I/O shield, Driver CD as well as a large poster-style guide showing you where everything is located.

The overall color scheme of the motherboard may throw some potential buyers off considering there are easily four different colors visible. Although most gaming motherboards feature a two-tone color scheme, the C7Z97 OCE has a black PCB, blue and black PCIE and memory slots with white connections for SATA and power and the heat sinks being orange.

For memory, the board features four DDR3 DIMM sockets with support of up to 32 GB of memory at 3300 Mhz. Even though Supermicro is a server manufacturer, this motherboard does not support ECC memory. For cooling the board and computer, there are five 4-pin connections supporting up to 5 fans.

One of the main selling points of the Z97 chipset is the support for M.2 form factor drives. Another big selling point is SATA Express. Unfortunately, this board does not come with any SATA Express slots but does come with support for M.2. The reason SuperMicro did not add a SATA Express slot is because there aren't really any devices out currently that support the interface and M.2 offers the same speeds.

For audio, the C7Z97-OCE uses Realtek’s ALC1150 chip. However, there isn’t any fancy software included like you’ll find in boards from ASUS or GIGABYTE.

There are a total of 6 SATA ports on the board which all utilize the SATA 3.0 protocol for 6 GB/s transfer speeds.

The BIOS has also been upgraded from the previous Z87 model. The board now uses a UEFI and GUI BIOS. There are three buttons that overclock the CPU by 15%, 20% and 25%. For users who are not too familiar with overclocking, this can be a nice way to get some extra performance from your CPU.

On the rear IO, you’ll find a PS2 mouse/keyboard port, two USB 2.0 and four USB 3.0 ports, VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort out as well as dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and the 7.1 audio connections.

In the end, this motherboard is really meant for those who demand quality first and don’t care about aesthetics. It does cost more than top-end boards from GIGABYTE and ASUS but it also bares the Supermicro name which means reliability shouldn’t be an issue. Pretty much every component on the C7Z97 OCE is server grade and thus using this board for extended periods of time shouldn’t be an issue.

What are your thoughts on the Supermicro C7Z97-OCE motherboard. Do you think motherboard manufactures should stick to a simpler color scheme? Let us know in the comments below!

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