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EVGA Z77 Stinger mini-ITX Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: EVGA

Power Consumption and Conclusion

Power Consumption

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Power consumption-wise, the EVGA Z77 Stinger performed very well at idle with its idle power consumption down almost 20% in comparison with the other Intel-based system. At full load, the power consumption numbers equaled those of the other board. The idle power consumption numbers truly illustrate the boards design strength and its utility for use in an HTPC-type build

Note that the power consumption numbers are consistent with what you would see using a medium to high-end video card with the board, since the ATI 5870 series are notoriously power hungry.

Performance

The EVGA Z77 Stinger is a winner in my book. It’s performance both at stock settings and while overclocked were nothing short of astounding, given the form factor and design considerations for the board. Other than the lack of memory overclocking, this board has no performance-related issues.

Pricing

As of November 30, the EVGA Z77 Stinger motherboard was available at Newegg.com for $199.99. The board was also available from other retailers such as EVGA.com for $199.99.

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Conclusion

Before anything else, we would like to take this opportunity to give our friends at EVGA a hearty “Thank You” for giving us the pleasure of reviewing the Z77 Stinger board. When I first heard that the board was a micro-ITX board, I did a double take. Normally micro-ITX or even micro-ATX boards for that matter are not marketed heavily to the enthusiast market. My opinion quickly changed as I unboxed the board and started putting it through its paces. The board has a very appealing color scheme, with a flat black base color used on the board’s surface to cut down on the reflection should you like to show off your system. The $199.99 base price tag is more than justified with the board’s build quality and included peripherals. EVGA went as far as including an Intel-based NIC, an additional micro-PCIe port for add-in cards, and even onboard power and reset buttons as well as a diagnostic display that is in a highly visible location. Coupled with its solid performance showing during stock and overclocked operation and you have yourself a winning board.

There were a few areas that the board fell short, but let me reiterate that most of these points are observational and pet peeves of ours. First, we have the manual - a minimalist take on a motherboard manual if I ever saw one. The included manual will get you up and running, but that’s about it. The most obvious information miss was the lack of BIOS screen setting explanation. However, EVGA does get points for including a comprehensive table of debug codes for the diagnostic LED. The decision to implement only 4 of the 6 Intel SATA ports was puzzling, especially given the fact that there was room on the board for the 2 additional ports. I was also disappointed that the UEFI BIOS was not mouse-enabled and the inability to get a single drive to work with the eSATA ports.

Strengths

  • Sleek flat black and red color scheme
  • Overall performance, both stock and overclocked
  • Available network adapter options
  • Inclusion of mPCIe slot
  • Power and Reset buttons
  • Diagnostic LED location and visibility
  • CMOS battery placement

Weaknesses

  • UEFI BIOS not mouse-enabled
  • Lack of information in motherboard manual
  • Lack of memory overclocking performance
  • eSATA port oddities
  • Inclusion of integrated Bluetooth adapter over wireless 802.11n adapter
  • Only 4 of 6 support Intel SATA ports included

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December 3, 2012 | 01:12 PM - Posted by Daniel Nielsen (not verified)

Will you ever do a Mini ITX round up sort of thing? By the looks of the recent ones that been featured on PCP'er i will strongly consider a Mini ITX Motherboard for my next upgrade.

December 3, 2012 | 06:38 PM - Posted by Kitten Masher (not verified)

This should have the "mini-itx" tag.

December 3, 2012 | 06:41 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

indeed, added

December 4, 2012 | 04:07 AM - Posted by Justin 150 (not verified)

NO MSata?

Having used Mini-Itx boards in a couple of builds the crucial area that MB makers need to consider is cable management - in most mini-itx cases it is a real pain. There is not a lot that can be done with the Sata cables, in an ideal world I would want a MSata 3 socket on back of board, but there is something that can be done for the 24 pin ATX and 4/8 pin Aux power sockets: it is not enough to have them on the edge of the board they need to be at right angles to current norm.

Personally I would go with the ASRock z77 e-itx board over the EVGA

December 18, 2012 | 04:49 PM - Posted by TheBoss (not verified)

If anyone goes Asus over EVGA you are either misinformed, have never dealt with Asus before, are filthy rich and do not care about throwing money away, are just an Asus fanboy, or possibly retarded.

I have built 100's of PC's this year alone. I bang them out like Rihanna gets hit. All the time. They have a higher than failure rate than EVGA, use inferior parts in most cases, and WORST of all you can not do an Asus RMA to save your freaking life.

ASUS = HEADACHES AND HASSLES

EVGA = GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE, SUPERIOR COMPONENTS, GREAT DESIGN, GREAT ENGINEERING

I sell more Asus stuff than EVGA, so don't count me a "Fanboy" by any means. But for someone to PREFER an Asus MoBo to this little stinger is just dumb. No offense inteded here btw.

TheBoss
BossRigs.com

December 31, 2012 | 11:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Strange, but I have had almost the exact opposite experience. I have had problems of bad capacitors leaking in a few EVGA products, and few construction problems with ASUS. I have had a dead MOBO or two from ASUS, and getting an RMA was not difficult (I do live close enough to drive down to ASUS and pick up the replacements). I'm happy with the quality of both EVGA and ASUS, in fact just installed a couple of the new ASUS ac routers.

February 27, 2013 | 01:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I believe he suggested an ASrock board... not ASUS. Seems like you blew a gasket about nothing

June 4, 2013 | 02:20 AM - Posted by Mason (not verified)

I really love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme.
Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as I'm trying to create my very own blog and want to know where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Thanks!

Here is my website - his comment is here

December 4, 2012 | 10:13 AM - Posted by orvtrebor

This really should have been compared to the Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe (ITX) board. They are at the same price point and trying to accomplish the same level of performance.

But I understand you guys don't have an endless supply of hardware to compare with :)

Either way its great to see another high performance ITX board.

December 4, 2012 | 11:54 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

There will likely be more mini-ITX reviews in the future, along with the possibility of some type of comparison article as well.  Stay tuned...

December 9, 2012 | 04:28 PM - Posted by Rocco (not verified)

"It's [sic] performance both at stock settings and while overclocked were nothing short of astounding"

Astounding? 4.36GHZ is downright anemic compared to the other mini-itx boards and the vdroop issues and memory OC failure don't scream quality. Considering the price, I would give this board a 6/10.

December 10, 2012 | 10:47 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

While 4.36GHz may not seem high comparatively speaking, but for the 3570K CPU we use in testing, it is on par with what we've seen with other boards.  Also just in terms of base clock overclocking, aq 104MHz base clock is nice, since most won't go above 103MHz if you're lucky.

The memory o/c was a bit odd to me also, but it wasn't something to distract from an otherwise stellar board - on the Intel side, o/c'd memory does not buy you a huge performance gain for most things (read real-world gaming).

The VDroop issue can be controlled via careful BIOS tweaking, so that in my mind is a non-issue...

December 27, 2012 | 12:05 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What about the power consumption numbers without an add-on video card?

January 7, 2013 | 03:43 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Good point, something we'll consider adding in future m-atx and m-itx reviews...

January 7, 2013 | 07:10 PM - Posted by Luxferro (not verified)

Avoid EVGA at all cost. This board does not work correctly. The bios settings are all messed up, don't save, don't clear either optimized defaults or the clear CMOS button.

EVGA ignores all the problems related to this board on their forums. They don't even answer support tickets.

Save yourself a huge headache and just buy another brand. It's pretty clear they did no validation on this motherboard.

March 3, 2013 | 02:48 AM - Posted by Anonymal (not verified)

...no , it`s a pretty nice MB, some peoples or programers just made wrong stuff on BIOS or bad flash bios, that`s all... any brand have some trouble , i remember downloaded a Bios from ASUS for a ROG.mATX board...
Very bad thing...the worst is that they changed the bios update some days after...with the same name and denomination 1.xx ,i had 2 downloaded files with the same name , frome the same place at ASUS...but with diferent bios inside...thank you ASUS you crushed my very expensive ROG MB ^^

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