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GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Motherboard Deconstructed

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The board's heat pipe cooling solution is held in place by several screws underneath the board in tandem with an aluminum cooler laying directly under the CPU MOSFETs. Underneath the screws are springs to increase the tension on the block for better surface mating. The aluminum cooler provides extra heat dissipation for the CPU power circuitry.

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Underneath the aluminum heat spreader are 17 PowIRstage chips for the 17 MOSFETs on the board's surface which they control.

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The heat spreader is a simple L-shaped device with thermal tape provided on the underside for heat transference between the power circuitry and the heat spreader's surface.

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The heat pipe cooling solution cools four areas of the board - the Intel Z77 chipset below the PCI-Express slots, the LucidLogix chipset to the left of the CPU socket, and the power circuitry located above and to the right of the CPU socket.

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The heat pipe cooler is made up of 4 different thin-finned aluminum heat sinks, interconnected via the heat conducting tubing (heat pipes). GIGABYTE uses thermal paste to mate the heat sinks to the Intel Z77 and LucidLogix chipset's with thermal tape used for interfacing between the power circuitry and the heat sinks. The thermal paste is used on the chipsets only due to their increased heat sensitivity.

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The Intel Z77 chipset is reminiscent of a naked CPU die. Notice that that heat sink overlays the Marvel chipset as well. The heat sink itself is held in place by four screws underneath the corners of the chipset.

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The PLX PEX 8747 chipset is metal plated to provide better protection for the chipset surface. This chipset's heat sink is held in place by two screws on opposite sides.

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The 20 PowIRstage chips are aligned above and to the left of their tied MOSFET chips. The 20 PowIRstage chips on top of the board along with the 17 PowIRstage chips underneath make up the 32+3+2 phase power design for the board.

Check out our video with Gigabyte that goes into MORE detail on the Z77X-UP7 and the PowIRstage!!

January 29, 2013 | 01:04 PM - Posted by KngtRider

" Note that the card requires a USB 2.0 header connection for enhanced functionality unlocked via its Windows app."

No.

Contrary to popular beleif, Mini PCI-E cards are dual mode and support PCI AND USB

On combo WiFi/BT Cards such as this Atheros and Intel Centrino, Bluetooth is routed to the USB pins of the mini PCIE (the small end)as Bluetooth is designed for USB drivers/software only.

Inserting a combo card into a slot wired for PCI only will simply just not enable the Bluetooth.

Some Mini to full Carrier cards such as the one included with this board have a USB port to fully enable the Mini PCIE slot.

Some carrier cards such as generics or Intel's 6205 Desktop card do not pass USB through and as such cannnot use Bluetooth or 3G cards.

Mini PCIE WWAN/3G are also USB only due to the driver/softwre stack.

Getting mSATA to work in a Mini PCIE slot is anothr matter, and some new laptops have a fully universal slot, some motherboards dont. One can see a Marvel IC in the periphery of this boards mSATA.

January 29, 2013 | 08:46 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

KngtRider - thank you for the clarification on the functioning of the Atheros card.  The review information has been updated for accuracy...

January 29, 2013 | 01:50 PM - Posted by Laurențiu Roman (not verified)

Color scheme makes it look like an old DFI Lanparty.

January 30, 2013 | 09:05 AM - Posted by Leo (not verified)

Why does every motherboard bundled software have glossy, flashy and badly skinned UI? Can't anyone make clean, readable and aesthetically pleasing UI? Is it just me?

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