Time has come again, and Intel has released a new chipset for the LGA 1150 socket. The new Z97 chipset from Intel is pretty similar to that of the Z87 chipset that Intel released a little over a year ago. The only change that Intel has made over the Z87 is the addition of the M.2 SSD support. This doesn’t mean that every board that runs on the Z97 chipset will have the new port, however the Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE that we’ve got up for review right now, does feature M.2 support. The Hi-FI Z97WE is definitely aimed to appeal to those who are on a tight budget, as it’s available for under $150 at Amazon and comes with a 3 year warranty.
The Biostar Hi-FI Z97WE box was quite large, and it features several small graphics which highlight the features of the board. Biostar has even put dual gigabit Ethernet ports on the Z97WE, a nice feature for such a budget oriented board.
If you flip the board around and look at the back side of the packaging. You will see several more small graphics which go over some of the features of the Z97WE. At the top of the packaging you see a large section and the words “PURO Hi-Fi”. This is Biostar’s new audio platform which claims to have “high sampling rate”, as well as “built-in amplifier”. We’ll go over this a bit more later, so we don’t get ahead of ourselves.
Once everything was pulled from the box we found a driver disk, as well as a paper that goes over the Hi-Fi audio system equipped on the Z97WE.
The board itself came wrapped in an anti-static bag, as you would expect. Initial thoughts have me pretty impressed. We see a moderately large heatsink for the VRM’s and power delivery system. The yellow/gold and black color scheme seems to go well together.