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HARDWARE

EVGA Z87 Stinger 2013

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EVGA has done very well at making the Stinger an attractive mini-ITX board, all red and black detailing and I/O shielding, but if we thought the RoG board was pricing itself out of the test, EVGA has just gone a step further. Sure, that may sound ridiculous given the Stinger is only a solitary nugget more expensive than the impressive Impact board, but this tasty offering from EVGA has nowhere near the extensive armoury Asus has at its current disposal.

The Stinger may be priced in the same ballpark as the RoG board, but it is no comparison when you look at the benchmarks. In terms of straight CPU and memory performance, the Stinger is still the slowest of all the Intel boards we’ve tested here. Granted, the difference in real terms is actually kind of slight, but when you’re paying more for less it simply doesn’t make sense. The performance we were getting out of the Stinger was much more in line with the $165.41budget ATX boards we’ve seen over the last six months.


EVGA has done very well at making the Stinger an attractive mini-ITX board, all red and black detailing and I/O shielding, but if we thought the RoG board was pricing itself out of the test, EVGA has just gone a step further.

The difference in the memory results though is quite pronounced, but again we’re not talking about it actually being noticeably more sluggish in general usage compared to the other boards. These synthetic tests do give us an idea where there are some differences in the performance of the various mobos and, even if such disparity is not immediately visible when you’re using the machine, they help separate when boards outwardly seem on the same level.

That’s what EVGA is trying to do with the Stinger: make it seem like a serious, premium board on the same level as the RoG Impact. In terms of the visuals it’s got an aggressive looking chipset cooler and that little cover for the I/O ports to make it feel more like a ‘product’ in its own right rather than just a component of one.


That’s what EVGA is trying to do with the Stinger: make it seem like a serious, premium board on the same level as the RoG Impact.

A step behind

However, just as it’s a little lacking in the synthetic performance, it’s a little behind on the feature set, too. There’s no Wi-Fi connectivity, though there is a mini PCIe connector if you were to pick one up separately. We have to admit to not being massive fans of the Stinger’s BIOS either; it’s relatively flashy-looking, but in practice, we found it a bit awkward to get things like multiple CPU fans operating dynamically.

There are a few nice touches though; the board layout is smart, with enough space to be able to drop a decent low profile cooler on top of the CPU, and we really like that after the board has run through its POST codes, the digital readout turns into a live CPU temperature monitor.

EVGA really is making headway into the mini PC market at the moment, with the lovely Hadron Air chassis, but its mini-ITX mobo partner is not quite the motherboard you’re really going to want to fill it out with – which, if we’re honest, is a bit of shame. The core problem is simply that the overall package just doesn’t live up to that painfully premium pricing. If it was knocking around the same sort of price bracket as the MSI we’d probably be hailing it as a plucky upstart. If that was the case, the more basic feature set and slightly weaker relative performance wouldn’t really be an issue.


EVGA really is making headway into the mini PC market at the moment

 

Vital Statistics

 

·         Price: $289.4

·         Manufacturer: EVGA

·         Chipset: Intel Z87

·         Socket: LGA 1150

·         Memory: Up to 16GB @ 2,666MHz

·         Memory slots slots: 2x DDR3 DIMM

·         Storage: 4x SATA 6Gbps

·         Ports: 4x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, eSATA, HDMI, DisplayPort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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