Intel Z77 Motherboard Round-up: Asrock, ECS, Gigabyte & Intel

By on April 20, 2012, 12:03 AM

Although Intel's die shrink of Sandy Bridge isn't due until next week (Monday, rumors say), the company has long shipped Ivy Bridge's accompanying chipsets. It might seem odd to jump the gun on "next-gen" motherboards, but 7-series platforms are backwards compatible with Sandy Bridge processors, so users have actually been able to buy a Z77 motherboard and use it for a few weeks without Ivy Bridge.

Naturally, that means Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors share the same socket. In addition to Sandy Bridge CPUs being compatible with 7-series motherboards, 6-series motherboards are compatible with Ivy Bridge chips. In other words, with little more than a BIOS update, folks running on older boards based on chipsets such as the H67, P67 or Z68 should be able to use one of Intel's latest processors.

After surveying Panther Point's spec sheet, we're itching to get a little more hands-on. Fortunately, we have four new Z77 motherboards in the shop and begging for attention, including the Asrock Z77 Extreme6, ECS Z77H2-AX, Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H-WB and Intel DZ77GA-70K.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 17

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dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Okay Steve, I'm officially confused.

A couple of queries about the Liberace themed ECS board;

As such, there is a "Deluxe" version of the Z77H2-AX

Isn't the Deluxe/non-Deluxe the Z77H2-A2X

...there are also two PCIe x1 slots and a Mini PCIe x1 slot, as well as two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. ECS doesn't include a third PCIe x4 slot for triple graphics cards.

I was under the impression that the H2-AX was equipped with a PEX8747 bridge chip. The accompanying picture is certainly showing three PCI-E x16 slots -presumeably the third slot is wired for x8 mechanical ( x16 / x16 / NC or x16 / x8/ x8). This is the board in question I take it?

Regardless of spec, it still seems to be keeping up ECS's proud record of performance mediocrity. The heatsink over the non-existant chipset/northbridge is a d*** move...just as other manufacturers have been shamed into doing away with unnecessary chunks of aluminium.

Nice review anyhow. Glad to see what kind of UEFI options are available. The Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H, Asus P8Z77-V and ASRock Z77 Extreme4 still look to be the value prospects so far.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Ah, good to see dear beloved Asrock up there. Nice review. Reminds me of the Fatality days. XFast utilities would crank up performance further, so the winner is clear. TBH, Asrock is giving the other 3 a run for their money.

Guest said:

Does the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H-WB really have that much less power loss to run 0.3v lower than the Asrock and Intel? if so this will be great for Ivy Bridge as they will run hotter then the Sandy Bridges do.

EEatGDL said:

Does the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H-WB really have that much less power loss to run 0.3v lower than the Asrock and Intel? if so this will be great for Ivy Bridge as they will run hotter then the Sandy Bridges do.

That statement doesn't have much sense, because if that was true, Intel wouldn't be setting lower TDPs for all platforms (ULV processors, notebooks, desktops, etc.). One of the main goals for new architectures is having better performance for the same power consumption or less, that's the point of shrinking transistors and in this case change their physical structure.

Guest said:

Which BIOS version was on the DZ77GA?

Guest said:

I know these are definitely faster than a i7 920 from 2008 but as someone who built an i7 920 4 years ago and has since upgraded it to 12 Gigs of ram and added an SSD, my computer feels fast for anything I need. I don't plan on upgrading for at least another 3 years. Any reason why someone like me should upgrade?

The USB 3.0 would be nice, but I could always add that with a PCI card.

Guest said:

No Asus board in the review?

I just bought one on Newegg and got it yesterday, and so far, it's an extremely solid board. Can't really see it getting much better.

Guest said:

Hate those freakish radiators on VRMs and Southbridge. They're a pain in the lower back to clean properly.

Guest said:

Motherboards designed for the mainstream CPUs at $200+?

I expect a roundup of $200+ boards for LGA2011, but this seems like a pretty high end roundup for LGA1155.

Next time throw some sub $150 boards into the mix to show how much extra power these feature packed boards use... is it much more? how much more? and if the extra VRM phase & cooling and such really buy us anything in terms of overclocking.

This is an interesting comparison, but it could have been much more informative if some lower end boards from the same vendors were include. I see many roundups like this lately (not just from TS), focusing on a very narrow price range of boards... almost always on the high end of the price range. It's frustrating for someone looking at what price range they really should be in, and can't help but wonder if journalists are unknowingly helping the MFRs push the high ASP boards to the public by omitting the lower priced boards from roundups.

Guest said:

I'm up in the air between Asrock Z77 Extreme6 and the MSI Z77A-GD65 or GD80 which comes with Thunderbolt.

bmaytum bmaytum said:

No Asus board in the review?

I just bought one on Newegg and got it yesterday, and so far, it's an extremely solid board. Can't really see it getting much better.

+1.

Steven - I hope TechSpot will shortly review the Asus Z77-based "Sabertooth" mobo (available in retail now) with an Ivy Bridge CPU (may I suggest an i7-3770K) due out aprox 29April.

DAOWAce DAOWAce said:

Any reason why someone like me should upgrade?

Power consumption and performance per watt/MHz.

The 2nd gen processors smoke the old ones; the only CPU left standing from last gen is the Extreme model, which no normal person can buy.

Now with the 3rd gen processors coming out, I expect the folks on the first gen to be considering an upgrade, although the first gen are still great compared to AMD's offerings, if you don't work with multi-core aware programs.

Unless Z77 eventually offers something that makes me want to get off P67, I'm ignoring the platform and just picking up a 3rd gen CPU.. if I can even justify the price for it. Otherwise, I would've gone to 2011, but I have no use for 8 DIMMs and far more power consumption, despite the best consumer CPU on the market being on that platform, which is very tasty.

Here's hoping for a 1155 6 core CPU, but I doubt that's around the corner anytime soon.

DAOWAce DAOWAce said:

Would really like to know what's removing the formatting in my posts..

Guest said:

Am I confused here on the ECS board...

For the BIOS you said.

Above you can see that the board insisted on setting the base clock to 1000MHz rather than 100MHz (it was actually set to 100MHz, the board just misreported this).

The picture shows the option as "CPU Frequency (1/100MHz)". Which is set to 10000. 10000/100 is 100MHz not 1000MHz. Or am I missing something?

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Am I confused here on the ECS board...

For the BIOS you said.

The picture shows the option as "CPU Frequency (1/100MHz)". Which is set to 10000. 10000/100 is 100MHz not 1000MHz. Or am I missing something?

You are correct, I have removed that comment. This is a strange way of showing the base clock and I have not seen this before. Unfortunately it doesn't change the fact that we cannot overclock with this board. ECS did just release a new BIOS update so I will look into that soon.

Guest said:

I am glad to know that ASRock get good review again.

Stupido Stupido said:

Motherboards designed for the mainstream CPUs at $200+?

my thoughts too...

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