BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X Intel Z77 Motherboard ReviewThu, Sep 20, 2012 - 12:00 AM
BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X Final Thoughts and Conclusion
The key feature of the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X is clearly the Hi-Fi audio components. Since the remainder of the board is nearly identical to the BIOSTAR TZ77XE4 we didn’t focus on the overall system performance that we normally do as there is no significant difference. We did do some internal testing to verify this, but we wanted to maintain the focus of today on the audio performance. With that being said, the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X is certainly a motherboard for designed for audiophiles. We like that BIOSTAR was able to isolate the audio chip from the rest of the board and use an EMI shield along with high-quality components to improve onboard sound. Audio testing is very tough and while we were able to see some differences in RightMark Audio Analyzer, it was tough to hear differences with our audio setup. That is one of the issues with reviewing audio features as it is subjective and is dependent on the speakers and environment that you are in. This boards audio solution supports 192kHz 24-bit sample playback, a 7.1-speaker setup and is THX certified. If you use your PC for a home theater system and/or an audiophile then the Hi-Fi Z777X should be on your short list of boards for that next system build.
While we wanted to keep the focus of today on the audio performance, we couldn’t live with ourselves if we didn’t include one of the staples of benchmarking. 3DMark 11 can be a very good indicator of the gaming aptitude of the overall system. The BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X was able to bring home a score of P5210 (performance Preset) and X1635 (Extreme Preset). Both of these scores were just a fuzz behind the BIOSTAR flagship TZ77XE4 Intel Z77 motherboard but well within any margin of error. The performance preset was only 1.5% behind while the Extreme preset was even closer with only a .8% difference. Neither of the two score differences are enough to be concerned about though. Overall I would call the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X a very capable motherboard when it comes to gaming.
We were pleased to see that we were actually able to see a measurable performance difference between the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X and the BIOSTAR TZ77XE4. When we first started looking at the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X, we were nothing short of shocked when we realized that it was using the same audio codec that we saw on the BIOSTAR TZ77XE4. The differences lie in the sub components for the audio. We were happy to see that the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X lives up to it’s ‘Hi-Fi’ monicker and was able to outperform the vanilla Realtek ALC898 High Definition Audio Codec onboard the TZ77XE4 in our audio testing.
Overall I have to admit that I am quite impressed with the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X, especially when you factor in the price! The BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X is currently available for only $149.99 +$7.56 shipping. As always, BIOSTAR has you covered if you should happen to have an issue with your board. The BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X is backed by a three year warranty and you can find the details here.
The BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X earns our innovation award for taking integrated motherboard audio to the next level! We also like that BIOSTAR plans on rolling out the Hi-Fi technology on both AMD and Intel boards for the foreseeable future. BIOSTAR has raised the bar in terms of what consumers can expect in terms of mainstream audio performance and quality and we like that! BIOSTAR might not have been the first to have a specialized board for audio, but they are the first to go this far and on numerous boards.
Legit Bottom Line: If you are looking for a better audio solution without breaking the bank, the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X is a great option for you.