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Probably a solid board, but over-promised, unsupported, painful
on September 18, 2013
I've assembled PC's since about 1982 and have/had a lot of respect for Intel motherboards - solid and reliable. So I looked at the nice features of this DH87MC and ordered one. I intended to use most of the advertised features, starting with a RAID 10 array of 4 2TB drives, a SATA DVD writer, memory rated 2GHz at 1.65V and the displayport driving an HP 30" monitor at 2560x1600. 64-bit Win7 pro. A fifth hot-swap SATA drive in a front-panel tray.
All the effort I've put into what should have been a straightforward build has convinced me I made a mistake. Intel (I just learned) is leaving the desktop business in the near future; starting several months ago, I'd guess.
So, the facts, ma'am:
Hardly a show-stopper, but the box included a notice on bright yellow "notice me!" paper that I'd better worry about the power supply lest I damage the board or CPU. They nicely included a link to an approved-power-supply list. Mine was lastest-and-greatest, designed for the latest Intel CPUs, but it won't hurt to look at the list. Except it was restricted, and required that I apply for permission, which (I was told) would probably be granted within 48 hours. Wow.
Next alligator-filled-swamp was the "Visual bios", where the pretty interface is supposed to dazzle the customer into not realizing it's disfunctional. And the documentation pretends there's no need to explain its oddities. Like, after selecting my four drives into a RAID array, how shall I tell it I want 10? Um, we'll let you tear your hair out for a while and surprise you with a non-visual setup screen for that, after you've exited the visual setup. Sometimes. I saw a "what to do if you don't get the Ctrl-I prompt" on an Intel site somewhere.
The board has 5 SATA connectors; I had that 6th drive that I expected to connect to a little PCI-E SATA card. No dice - conflicts with the 5th motherboard device. Not sure if that's Intel's problem yet.
Memory: XMS profiles are supposedly supported, but it's not obvious how. The user gets to choose "manual" or "auto". In manual, two frequency multipliers are available (and perhaps 100 timing values). Starting from a base 100MHz I could achieve 1600MHz; if I want the 2000MHz I'll apparently have to raise the 100MHz. Similarly, Intel says in a couple of places that the memory voltage can be adjusted as high as 1.8V, but I have no clue how that's done. The pretty picture allows three voltage offsets to be adjusted without saying what the starting voltage is (probably 1.5V) but none of them are in the "memory" box.
On-line support "chat" turns out to be with a computer, not a human, and less clever than that 1980's "Eliza" toy app.
Oh, there's probably no way in h... to load Win7 SP-none on a RAID, despite all the helpful suggestions online about what drivers to add. But SP-1 installation worked like it should, although I got frightened by the GPT thing and kept the array below 2TB. The prompt said I could configure a second array in the remaining space; we'll see.
Another reviewer loved the board, and I don't doubt his description. If you want an Intel bullet-proof board, this is probably yet another such; just keep your configuration really, really simple.
[edit: I learned that memory voltage becomes adjustable when the "enable extreme voltages" button is clicked. I didn't see a mention in any of the docs and 1.65V didn't seem "extreme" so it took me a while to try it.
Also, when I configured the RAID I kept it under 2TB because I couldn't figure out how to make the array format GPT. BIOS promised I'd be able to use the remainder of the array and indeed that's true - after installing the OS, load the Rapid Storage Technology app from the driver CD and it'll give you that choice.]