Gigabyte's basic black Z77X-UD4H

Subject: Motherboards | April 10, 2013 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Z77X-UD4H, Intel Z77, lga1155

Like many Z77 boards, the Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H has a rather crowded socket area, if you are not going with a watercooling solution consider purchasing low profile DIMMs.  One thing it has that most other boards do not have is an auxiliary power plug next to the SATA ports which takes a SATA power plug, not a molex connector.  It also sports a significant number of slots, three PCIe 3.0 16x slots, three PCIe 1x slots and even a PCI slot.  [H]ard|OCP had an interesting time overclocking this board, you should familiarize yourself with their experiences if you plan on picking this board up and overclocking your CPU.

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"It’s been awhile since we’ve looked at a motherboard from Gigabyte. We haven’t forgotten Gigabyte and decided to take the Z77X-UD4H for a little test drive. The Z77X-UD4H is a sub-$170 motherboard with a great look and a solid feature list for the price point that has the computer hardware enthusiast in mind."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Z77X-UP7 board represents a new approach to the motherboard game for GIGABYTE - no holds barred. The board combines a larger than normal form factor with high-end digital power circuitry to build a product that packs a punch while not skimping on features. We welcomed the challenge that this board presented, putting it through the normal suite of benchmark and functionality tests to see how well it stacked up. The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7's performance and features come with a price, as all flagship products do, with its $399.99 price tag still a hefty sum.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

To power the Z77X-UP7, GIGABYTE used a 32+3+2 power phase design with every heat producing chip covered by a highly effective heat pipe cooling solution. GIGABYTE integrated the following features into the Z77X-UP7's design: SATA 2, SATA 3, and mSATA ports; support for 4 different networking types including an Intel GigE NIC, an Atheros GigE NIC, an Atheros dual-port 802.11n adapter, and an Atheros Bluetooth adapter; enough PCI-Express x16 slots for true quad-card support; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Motherboard!!

Thunderbolt comes to ROG with the Maximus V Extreme

Subject: Motherboards | January 10, 2013 - 01:19 PM |
Tagged: Z77, thunderbolt, ROG, Maximus V Extreme, lga1155, asus

The new ASUS ROG Maximus V Extreme board has a high standard to meet thanks to the performance of previous models of the Maximus Extreme series.  Right off the bat you can tell this board is going to be popular with the enthusiasts as it sports five PCIe slots, capable of running at 8x, 16x, 8x, 8x if you populate four of them, with an extra 4x slot available for another card.  For storage there are a half dozen SATA 6Gbps ports with an additional three of the previous version of SATA as well as a single mSATA port and for peripherals you get 10 USB 3.0 ports plus another four USB 2.0 ports.  More important for some is the existence of a Thunderbolt port, a brand new feature for this family of motherboards.  [H]ard|OCP gave this motherboard a Gold Award, read on to find out why.

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"The Maximus V Extreme falls in line with ASUS' latest design philosophies and succeeds the older Maximus IV Extreme which was introduced during the P67 Express chipset days when the Core i7 2600K was the top end LGA1155 CPU. The last iteration of the Maximus was an absolutely incredible motherboard and like all ROG boards has big shoes to fill."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI cuts the fluff of their Z77 MPower board but keeps the good parts

Subject: General Tech | December 7, 2012 - 12:07 PM |
Tagged: msi, z77 mpower, lga1155

At $200 the MSI Z77 MPower board is neither the most expensive nor the least expensive Z77 board on the market, which makes sense when you consider the board.  With three PCIe 3.0 16x slots (16x, 8x 8x, 8x 4x 4x) you get flexibility in the cards you can install, even before you start to populate the four PCIe 1x slots.  On the other hand the SATA count is a little lower than others as there is no second controller, though many users could be satisfied with four SATA2 and two SATA 6Gbps ports.  On the other hand, seven USB 3.0 ports is quite impressive as is the HDMI and DisplayPort connections thanks to the lack of a DSub port.  [H]ard|OCP enjoyed overclocking this board, as there were a lot of fine controls available in the UEFI BIOS though it is apparent that MSI now belongs to the so called "Turbo Cheaters" club.  Read more here.

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"Too often you have to buy an insanely expensive board, packed with features you probably won't use in order to get high end performance and overclocking oriented features. MSI is changing that with the Z77 MPower. This board has all the performance without the unnecessary fluff."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI's Z77A-GD55 is a brilliant budget board

Subject: Motherboards | November 19, 2012 - 10:10 AM |
Tagged: msi, Z77A-GD55, lga1155

Right now on NewEgg, the LGA1155 MSI Z77A-GD55 is a great deal at $130 after MIR and comes with a free 8GB dual channel DDR3-1600 Ripjaws kit from G.Skill.  For that low price you get a pair of PCIe 3.0 16x slots, a single 4x and four 1x slots along with two SATA 6Gbs ports and four SATA II ports capable of RAID, 10 USB 2.0 ports and a pair of USB 3.0 ports.  Those ports, along with the array of audio and video connectors on the backplate should provide enough connectivity for the majority of users with space to upgrade. [H]ard|OCP are not fans of the Double-Click BIOS II, with this implementation being no worse than other MSI boards and they did have some problems with the Control Center software, however with the very stable performance and easy overclocking ability of the board they highly recommend it for anyone looking for a budget conscious Ivy Bridge system.

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"This motherboard might be a bit off-the-radar for most enthusiasts since it is a bit "down the scale." However, if you want a lot of bang for your buck, then look no further than MSI's Z77A-GD55. While it's somewhat basic in features it's overclocking performance is stellar for the price, which is very value oriented."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The best valued model of the ASUS P8Z77 family of motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 28, 2012 - 11:58 AM |
Tagged: P8Z77-V, lga1155, Ivy Bridge, asus

At $185, the ASUS P8Z77-V is technically a value board for Ivy Bridge as motherboards with this chipset tend to carry a high price. There are lower priced boards but they are missing some of the features which make this board stand out among its competition.  While it does support CrossFire and SLI, with only three PCIe slots in total you will only get 8x speeds when you are using two graphics cards, although testing has shown there is little difference between that and a full 16x.  ASUS also included legacy PCI slots for those of you with old cards that you simply cannot live without.  [H]ard|OCP gave this board a Gold Award thanks to the decent feature set included in a sub-$200 board as well as the rock solid performance it displayed during their testing.

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"The ASUS P8Z77-V is among the latest entries into the ASUS motherboard Intel Z77 Express Chipset series. The P8Z77-V is poised as a more value oriented solution, potentially representing a great bang for your buck option if a Z77 chipset motherboard and Ivy Bridge processor get you excited."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The new MSI GD65, this time in Z77 flavour

Subject: Motherboards | May 16, 2012 - 10:36 AM |
Tagged: msi, z77a-gd65, lga1155

MSI's Z77A-GD65 comes with a nice set features including THX TruStudio PRO, Lucid’s VirtuMVP, active phase switching, and HDMI 1.4 along with support for both SLI and CrossFireX.  It supports PCIe 3.0 on its three 16x slots, running 8x, 4x, 4x or 8x, 8x, 0x which should still offer enough bandwidth for multiple GPU based systems.   Overclocking Ivy Bridge on this board was not difficult, ignoring the voltage and heat issues common to all Ivy Bridge processors and overall [H]ard|OCP has found the Z77 to be one of the better designed chipsets recently released and like that it doesn't exhibit the growing pains many others  have felt on initial release.  MSI took that solid design and pushed it further, something we've come to expect from their GD65 series motherboards.

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"MSI has been on a roll with its motherboards as of late. It’s because of this that our expectations for MSI’s foray into the world of Z77 chipset based motherboards are so high. MSI’s "GD65" series of motherboards have been an especially solid value and the Z77A-GD65 looks to be no different."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS launches new ROG Maximus V GENE Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | April 10, 2012 - 09:11 AM |
Tagged: Z77, ROG, PCI-E 3.0, maximus v gene, mATX, lga1155, asus

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Now in its fifth generation, ASUS ROG (Republic of Gamers) has launched its Maximus V Series motherboards with the Maximus V GENE. This micro-ATX powerhouse is built using the latest Intel Z77 chipset, which supports Intel’s latest LGA1155 processors. Featuring full PCI-Express Gen-3 capabilities with Intel’s 3rd Generation processor the Republic of Gamers team equips the Maximus V GENE with exclusive features such as the Extreme Engine DIGI+ II power control design, SupremeFX III gaming audio, Intel Ethernet with ROG GameFirst software and the newly added mPCIe Combo card.

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ROG Exclusive mPCIe Combo Card offer users the best expansion options
The mPCIe Combo card is a new innovation by the ROG team, combining the twin functions of mPCIe with mSATA into a single, extensible add-in card that still allows full use of the PCI-Express slots for multi-GPU graphics. Use an mSATA SSD with Intel’s Smart Response Technology to greatly improve hard-drive performance or as an ultra-fast OS drive to free up standard SATA ports for other uses. The combination of a standard mPCIe socket on the other side allows unique upgrades such as WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G/4G, GPS and other connectivity options.

Premium Hardware, Optimized Design, Best Overclocking
The Maximus V GENE is true to the Republic of Gamers core, as a motherboard built for overclocking. Do not accept imitations or compromise with first generation digital designs. The upgraded Extreme Engine DIGI+ II includes a 8+4+2 (CPU, iGPU, DRAM) phase design offers the best in precise digital power control from two DIGI+ controllers. Combined with class leading ROG UEFI BIOS functions, such as the new pre-configured memory IC profiles, specially sourced electrical components and industry first trace designs the Maximus V Gene yields an unmatched overclocking experience for enthusiasts.

SupremeFX III Sound – Premium Gaming Audio
Designed to bring gamers the best possible integrated audio, the SupremeFX III sound is a wholly separate audio PCB, identified by its ‘redline’ adjoining the main GENE V motherboard. SupremeFX Shielding technology maximizes the audio quality by further isolating the audio processing from EMI, encasing the chipset under a custom aluminum cap. Combined with a large 1500uF buffer capacitor to provide sufficient energy for even the loudest sounds, SupremeFX III attains a lossless audio of up to 110dB SNR. The addition of X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity, EAX Advanced HD 5.0, Creative Alchemy and THX TruStudio PRO complete the lineup of audio technologies that offer an incredibly immersive gaming experience.

Intel Ethernet, ROG GameFirst and LucidLogix Virtu MVP
Intel Ethernet and ROG GameFirst software combines up to 35% saving in CPU usage with network traffic prioritizing, while LucidLogix Virtu MVP support enables a new hybrid graphics mode that boosts overall GPU performance by up to 60%.

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Source: ASUS

ASUS gives you previews but MSI gives you full Ivy Bridge reviews

Subject: Motherboards | March 6, 2012 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: msi, Ivy Bridge, Z77, z77a-gd65, lga1155

Legit Reviews have posted a full review of the Ivy Bridge based MSI Z77A-GD65, with an i7-2600K, 8GB DDR3-1600, a Corsair Force GT 240GB SSD and a Radeon HD6950.  This new platform brings native USB 3.0 to Intel chipsets, but since they don't yet have an Ivy Bridge CPU to test we don't get a chance to see PCIe 3.0 in action, the new SATA 6Gbps controller fared well though.  There is a new UEFI ClickBIOS implementation which some might find a compelling reason to upgrade but if you are currently running a Sandy Bridge machine you are better off to wait until you can get your hands on one of the soon to be released Ivy Bridge processors.

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"It's going to be an interesting ride for the Intel Z77 chipset. It is looking like the only difference is the addition of the SuperSpeed USB 3.0. The problem with the Intel Z77 chipset is that it doesn't feature anything really worth upgrading for over the Intel Z68 system. If your looking to build a new system with either a Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge processor, the Intel Z77 would be the way to go. If you're on an existing 'Sandy Bridge' system, there really isn't a good reason to make the switch..."

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Take a closer look at MSI's new Z77 motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: Z77, msi, lga1155, Ivy Bridge, CES

You probably saw Scott's coverage of the unveiling of the new Z77 chipset based motherboards from Gigabyte which will support Intel's soon to be released Ivy Bridge family of processors.  This spells a return to LGA 1155, though don't expect your old Sandy Bridge processor to be able to take advantage of all the features of this new high end chipset.

MSI has two brand new boards they are showing off at CES 2012, the Z77A-GD80 and the Z77A-GD65.   The first will be their new flagship motherboard and will feature new versions of ClickBIOS, their UEFI implementation and Multi-BIOS overclocking helper which will allow you to save profiles and recover from BIOS corruption.  The board will continue their tradition of PCIe 3.0 compliance with three 16x slots and it will have four dual dual channel DIMM slots that can accept up to DDR3-2667.  They've also included four USB 3.0 and four SATA 6Gbps ports for your storage needs.

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 The Z77A-G65 below sports the same overall features as the GD80 with some changes to the PCB.  Looking to the top of the board you can see the GD65 lacks a heatsink at the very top edge but you can still see that MSI has used Military Class III components on the motherboard and the always on USB charging port.

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*update*  The missing link has been found that seperates the GD80 from the GD65 and that difference is none other than Thunderbolt.  The Z77A-GA80 has Thunderbolt support, the new interface which allows an external peice of hardware direct access to the PCIe bus and will allow transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. That speed allows the use of devices like MSI's GUS II, an external video card enclosure that comes with an expensive and sometimes hard to find Thunderbolt cable.  That interface is not limited to GPUs, it will be interesting to see what use enthusiasts who purchase the Z77A-GD80 will put Thunderbolt to.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: MSI