ASRock H87M review - small and cheap for the like PCs

After a great session of gaming and overclocking motherboards for Intel Haswell processors, it’s time to jump in the SOHO yard and review some of the products there. First in line: ASRock H87M, a Micro-ATX solution, oriented to small and cheap computers.

I find this micro, mini, etc. products to be cute by size. When they integrate advanced features and a decent price, the cuteness increases.

ASRock H87M set

ASRock H87M is a budget motherboard with some pretty nice features.

 

Specifications:

ASRock H87M

CPU

- Supports 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 / i5 / i3 / Xeon® / Pentium® / Celeron® in LGA1150 Package
- 4 Power Phase Design
- Supports Intel® Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology

Chipset

- Intel® H87
- Supports Intel® Small Business Advantage 2.0

Memory

- Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
- 2x DDR3 DIMM slots
- Supports DDR3 1600/1333/1066 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- Max. capacity of system memory: 16GB
- Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 1.3 / 1.2

Graphics

- Supports Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals: Intel® Quick Sync Video with AVC, MVC (S3D) and MPEG-2 Full HW Encode1, Intel® InTru™ 3D, Intel® Clear Video HD Technology, Intel® Insider™, Intel® HD Graphics 4400/4600
- Max. shared memory 1792MB
- Multi VGA Output options: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI
- Supports Triple Monitor
- Supports HDMI Technology with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
- Supports DVI-D with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
- Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
- Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) playback with DVI-D and HDMI ports

Audio

- 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec)

LAN

- PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
- Qualcomm Atheros AR8171
- Supports Qualcomm Atheros Security Wake On Internet Technology

Slots

- 1x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot (PCIE1: x16 mode)
- 1x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (PCIE2: x4 mode)
- 2x PCI slots
- Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™

Storage

- 6x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors

- supports RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

- Intel® Rapid Storage Technology 12 and Intel® Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug

Extensions

- 1x IR header
- 1x Print Port header
- 1x COM Port header
- 1x Chassis Intrusion header
- 1x TPM header
- 2x CPU Fan connectors (1 x 4-pin, 1 x 3-pin)
- 2x Chassis Fan connectors (1 x 4-pin, 1 x 3-pin)
- 1x Power Fan connector (3-pin)
- 1x 24 pin ATX power connector
- 1x 8 pin 12V power connector
- 1x Front panel audio connector
- 1x SPDIF Out connector
- 2x USB 2.0 headers (support 4 USB 2.0 ports)
- 1x USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports)

Rear Panel I/O

I/O Panel
- 1x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
- 1x D-Sub Port
- 1x DVI-D Port
- 1x HDMI Port
- 1x Optical SPDIF Out Port
- 4x USB 2.0 Ports
- 4x USB 3.0 Ports
- 1x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
- HD Audio Jack: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone

Unique Features

- ASRock A-Tuning
- ASRock Instant Flash
- ASRock APP Charger
- ASRock XFast USB
- ASRock XFast LAN
- ASRock XFast RAM
- ASRock Crashless BIOS
- ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard)
- ASRock Internet Flash
- ASRock System Browser
- ASRock UEFI Tech Service
- ASRock Dehumidifier
- ASRock Easy RAID Installer
- ASRock Easy Driver Installer
- ASRock Interactive UEFI
- ASRock Fast Boot
- ASRock Restart to UEFI
- ASRock On/Off Play Technology
- ASRock USB Key
- ASRock FAN-Tastic Tuning
Hybrid Booster:
- ASRock U-COP
- Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.)
- Good Night LED

Form Factor

- Micro ATX Form Factor
- All Solid Capacitor design

 

 

Aspect and build

A small box means a little something. And the cover only whispers the name of the product.

ASRock H87M box

Turning the box over discovers an image and some important features of the motherboard: Intel Small Business Advantage, A-Tuning, FAN-tastic Tuning, XFast 555, etc.

ASRock H87M box back

ASRock H87M is a Micro-ATX board, made for small PCs. It sports the LGA1150 socket along with the Intel H87 chipset.

ASRock H87M

The VR has 4 phases and no heatsink. The memory has only 2 slots for a maximum of 16GB DDR3-1600 in dual channel architecture.

ASRock H87M top-half

The 6x SATA3 ports are all coming from Intel H87 chipset and are vertical-oriented. They are colored in army-green and placed near the ATX power connector. We can setup RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 configurations.

A USB 3.0 header completes the top-half landscape.

ASRock H87M has 2x PCI-E and 2x PCI slots. All of them are black and so is the heatsink over the H87 chipset. There is 1x PCI-E 3.0 x16 and 1x PCI-E 2.0 x16 (working at x4). They support AMD CrossfireX, but no SLI.

ASRock H87M bottom-half

The heatsink competes with the board’s dimensions as it is pretty small. The bottom edge presents a COM1, a LPT1 and 2x USB 2.0 headers along with a TPM connector and a chassis fan extension.

There are no buttons, switches or measurement points as this is not an overclocking board.

The on-board interfaces are 4x USB 2.0, 1x PS/2 keyboard, 1x VGA, 1x DVI, 1x HDMI, 4x USB 3.0, 1x LAN RJ45, 1x SPDIF optical out and 5x analog jacks.

ASRock H87M interfaces

The LAN port is connected to a Qualcomm Atheros AR8171 Gigabit chipset on a PCI-E x1 interface.

The back of the board is clean, having only the little backplate from behind the CPU.

ASRock H87M back

The accessories delivered by ASRock are a manual, a CD with drivers, the I/O shield and 2x SATA cables.

ASRock H87M accessories

That being said, let’s jump to enhancements.

 

Software

The A-Tuning software offers settings to control the motherboard and its utilities. It includes XFast RAM, OC Tweaker, FAN-tastic Tuning and Dehumidifier.

mt_gallery

XFast RAM makes a virtual disk in systems’ memory and uses it as cache for applications.

XFast LAN will lower the latency of online gaming

XFast USB act as a cache for USB devices to increase their performance

FAN-tastic Tuning allows you to create a pattern for fan’s speed depending on temperature.

Dehumidifier prevents the motherboard from damages by waking up the PC from S4/S5 states and dehumidifying it.

Intel Small Business Advantage 2.0 is a solution for security ...

 - Software Monitor works at hardware level and alerts in case of attack to the critical programs

 - Data Backup and Restore = backup important data on schedule.

 - USB Blocker = restrictUSB devices or files from being accessed, copied, etc.

… and productivity.

 - PC Health Center = schedule and perform PC maintenance, even when computer is off.

 - Energy Saver = systems can be automatically powered down / turned on by a schedule set by administrators

 

Technologies

Security Wake On Internet Technology, with the onboard Qualcomm® Atheros® LAN, helps you connect to your PC from anywhere in the world. You will be able to power your PC on or turn it off, monitor and take control of it remotely from a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Non-Z OC jumps over the overclocking limitations of H87/B85 chipsets and allows users to modify the multiplier on K series CPUs.

 

BIOS

The ASRock UEFI interface is spread along 7 tabs, each of them offering a set of options.

1. Main = info about the BIOS version, CPU and memory. The only setting is choosing the BIOS starting page;

2. OC Tweaker = overclocking options for CPU, voltages, memory, integrated graphics, PCH, etc.

3. Advanced = settings for storage, chipset, I/O, ACPI, USB;

4. Tool = configuration for RAID, OMG and Flash the BIOS;

5. H/W Monitor = CPU and motherboard temperature, plus fans settings;

6. Boot = choose the boot sequence

7. Security = password options

8. Exit = self-explanatory

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The UEFI can be upgraded directly from BIOS using the Internet Flash option. You need to know that only DHCP (through a router) or PPPOE configurations are supported.

 

Overclocking

The VR is not prepared for overclocking, so I will not torture it. For fun, I had increased the multiplier to 40-42, leaving all the other settings on AUTO.

In due conditions, ASRock H87M is not stable, so overclocking is not an option with this motherboard.

The UEFI offers overclocking profiles from 4.0 GHz to 4.8GHz. I have tested them and haven’t found any stable.

 

Test setup

Configuration

CPU

Intel Core i7-4770K

Cooler

 EKWB Supreme HF

Motherboard (BIOS)

ASRock H87M (1.70)

RAM

4GB PNY DDR3-2000

Storage

 Kingston SSDNow V+ 120GB

Graphics

 Intel HD 4600

Monitor

 Dell U2412M

PSU

 Antec HCP-1200

OS

 Windows 8 Pro x64

 

Methodology

Using different benchmark software I have tested most of the motherboard's capabilities and its performance. The results are divided by categories: system, CPU, memory, storage, 3D, so they can be easily read.

 

Performance

PCMark 7

ASRock H87M PCMark 7

 

PCMark 8

ASRock H87M PCMark 8

 

Passmark Performance Test

ASRock H87M PassMark

 

AIDA64

ASRock H87M AIDA64-CPU

 

ASRock H87M AIDA64-RAM

 

3DMark

ASRock H87M 3DMark

 

Temperature

There is only 1 heatsink (on the chipset) and it is pretty small and passive, so the board makes no noise. The chipset temperature varies between 37-39C during the testing.

The CPU temperature can be seen in the following chart:

ASRock H87M Temperature

 

 

Power consumption

The power consumption depends on all the components. In this case, the biggest consumer is the CPU, but a dedicated video card can further increase the power.

ASRock H87M Power

We have a maximum value of 141.9W, being very good for this configuration.

 

Value

ASRock H87M can be bought for $95.63 / €80.33 / £67.15, which is a good price for the performance offered.  If you are looking to build a home PC, this board is a nice choice.

 

Conclusion

ASRock H87M is a Micro-ATX motherboard, capable of good performance at a very competitive price. The overclocking is not an option, even if there are some profiles in the BIOS.

The PCI-E 3.0 16x slot can accommodate a dedicated graphics card, so gaming can be taken into consideration.

 

PROs

CONs

 

- nice UEFI interface

- excellent performance

- excellent power consumption

- good price/performance ratio

 

-

 

Evaluation

Aspect & Build

8.0

7.82

Performance

8.5

BIOS

8.5

Overclocking

4.0

Features & Technologies

8.0

Power consumption

8.8

Accessories

8.0

Value

8.8

 


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