GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 - The New Flagship

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Performance Review

GIGABYTE has built a name for themselves in the motherboard market over the years, and when people think of top tier manufacturers for computer parts GIGABYTE is, or at least should be at the top of their list. GIGABYTE sent over their latest creation for us to play with a little bit, and at first glance it looks like a beast of a motherboard. The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 is the latest and greatest Intel Z77 motherboard, and GIGABYTE didn't pull any punches with it! Though due the impressive nature of the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7, we do have to accept a trade off. The price, it isn't for the faint of heart or the gamer building on a budget. The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 is currently retailing for $399.99. Though coming from GIGABYTE you can bet you will get your monies worth.

Immediately jumping out at us is the impressive number of expansion slots. The Z77X-UP7 has five PCIe X16 slots and will support Quad SLI and Quad CrossFireX. Due to the limited number of PCIe lanes on the Intel Z77 Chipset, GIGABYTE has employed the help of a PLX chip to add a few lanes. More specifically the PLX PEX8747 PCIe 3.0 bridge chip which adds up to 32 PCIE lanes. In the past there have been some performance issues when using a single GPU and a PLX chip, it's one more step for the GPU to go through to get to the processor. This can have a slight negative effect on performance. GIGABYTE has given the Z77X-UP7 the ability to bypass the PLX chip when using a single GPU. All that is needed to be done is plug your GPU of choice into the grey PCIe x16 slot. This will give the GPU a direct line to the processor bypassing the PLX chip completely.

CPU power delivery has come along way, and GIGABYTE is pushing it even further. The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 features a 32+3+2 phase power design. The Intel Core processor will see 32 Phases, the Intel HD Graphics will see 3 phases, and the VTT will receive the remaining 2 power phases.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H Bluetooth 4.0 + WiFi Module

GIGABYTE has started including a Bluetooth 4.0 + WiFi module. The GC-WB300D features the latest standards in wireless connectivity including Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11 A/B/G/N WiFi connectivity. If you have a device like the Apple iPhone 4S that will take advantage of Smart Ready technology the GC-WB300D will happily use that technology with it. We will find this in the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper3, but not in the G1.Sniper M3.

GIGABYTE 3D Power Technology

The GIGABYTE 3D Power utilizes a brand new digital PWM controller that features precise auto voltage compensation. The auto voltage compensation will deliver steady power flow to the memory and CPU, no matter what kind of load is placed on the hardware.With the new 3D Power technology comes a few new features! The digital memory control lets the user monitor power and current in real time while playing your favorite game, sitting idly by, or pushing the limits of your system while overclocking! We also have the ability to protect our memory with OVP (Over Voltage Protection), adjust memory LLC (load-line calibration), and adjust the memory PWM frequency on the fly.

Image Description

GIGABYTE 3D Power isn't only available through the GIGABYTE 3D BIOS. GIGABYTE also has a handy little piece of software that can be run right in Windows. Above you can see the main screen from the utility, through it you can access the voltage, frequency and phase control. Don't confuse these with the settings for the system voltages and frequencies. Those can be access through the GIGABYTE Easy tune software. These settings are strictly for the 3D Power settings.

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Glass Fabric PCB

GIGABYTE has employed a new manufacturing process in to their Intel 7 series motherboards. Glass Fabric PCB technology produces a tighter weave of the material used to make the PCB, this aids in preventing moisture from absorbing into the motherboard during damp and humid conditions. This will help prevent short circuits and other problems caused by moisture. This is part of the GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 technology. Before we get into the retail packaging on the next page, let's take a look at the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Specifications and features below.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Features and Specifications

CPU Support for Intel Core i7 processors/Intel Core i5 processors/ Intel Core i3 processors/Intel Pentium processors/Intel Celeron processors in the LGA1155 package
L3 cache varies with CPU
Chipset Intel Z77 Express Chipset
Memory
  • 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
  • Dual channel memory architecture
  • Support for DDR3 2800(OC)/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
  • Support for non-ECC memory modules
  • Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
Onboard Graphics

Integrated Graphics Processor:

  • 1 x D-Sub port
  • 1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200
  • 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200
  • 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 2560x1600
Audio
  • Realtek ALC898 codec
  • High Definition Audio
  • 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  • Support for S/PDIF In
  • Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN
  • 1 x Atheros GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN1)
  • 1 x Intel GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN2)
Wireless Communication module
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Supports 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
  • Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0+HS, 2.1+EDR
Expansion Slots
  • 3 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1~3)
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1~2)
  • 2 x PCI Express x1 slots
Multi-Graphics Technology Support for 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI technology
Storage Interface

Chipset:

  • 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~1) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  • 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2 2~5) supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  • 1 x mSATA connector * The SATA2 5 connector will become unavailable when the mSATA connector is installed with a solid state drive.
  • Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10 * When a RAID set is built across the SATA 6Gb/s and SATA 3Gb/s channels, the system performance of the RAID set may vary depending on the devices being connected.

2 x Marvell 88SE9172 chips:

  • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3 6~9) supporting up to 4 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  • Support for RAID 0 and RAID 1
USB

Chipset:

  • Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
  • Up to 4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (available through the internal USB headers)

VIA VL800 chip:

  • Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel * Due to a Windows 7 limitation, please connect your USB device(s) to the Intel controlled USB port(s) (located below the PS/2 keyboard/mouse port) before the VIA USB 3.0 controller driver is installed.

Etron EJ168 chip:

  • Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (available through the internal USB header)
Internal I/O Connectors
  1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  2. 2 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connectors
  3. 1 x PCIe power connector
  4. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  5. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
  6. 1 x mSATA connector
  7. 1 x CPU fan header
  8. 6 x system fan headers
  9. 1 x front panel header
  10. 1 x front panel audio header
  11. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  12. 1 x S/PDIF In header
  13. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 headers
  14. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  15. 1 x serial port header
  16. 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  17. 1 x power button
  18. 1 x reset button
  19. 1 x Clear CMOS button
  20. 1 x Gear button
  21. 1 x CPU BCLK Down button
  22. 1 x CPU BCLK Up button
  23. 1 x CPU Ratio Down button
  24. 1 x CPU Ratio Up button
  25. 1 x onboard voltage measurement module
  26. 2 x BIOS switchs
  27. 1 x LN2 switch
Back Panel Connectors
  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  2. 1 x D-Sub port
  3. 1 x DVI-D port
  4. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  5. 1 x HDMI port
  6. 1 x DisplayPort
  7. 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  8. 2 x RJ-45 ports
  9. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller iTE I/O Controller Chip
H/W Monitoring System voltage detection, CPU/System temperature detection, CPU/System fan speed detection, CPU overheating warning, CPU/System fan fail warning, CPU/System fan speed control
BIOS 2 x 64 Mbit flash, Use of licensed AMI EFI BIOS, Support for DualBIOS, PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0a
Unique Features Support for @BIOS, Support for Q-Flash, Support for Xpress Install, Support for Xpress Recovery2, Support for EasyTune, Support for eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D), Support for Auto Green, Support for ON/OFF Charge, Support for Q-Share, Support for 3D Power, Support for EZ Setup
Bundle Software Norton Internet Security (OEM version), Intel Rapid Start Technology, Intel Smart Connect Technology, Intel Smart Response Technology, LucidLogix Virtu MVP
Operating System Support for Microsoft Windows 8/7/XP
Form Factor E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 26.4cm

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Retail Packaging

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The retail packaging for the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 is nothing short of beautiful. This is one of the few retail packages that will stand out from the crowd without the use of characters and fluff. It really is a simple, elegant design. GIGABYTE placed a picture of the LGA1155 socket and surrounding area, product name, and some of the technologies that went into the design of the Z77X-UP7.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Retail Packaging

Opening up the front cover of the retail packaging for the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 we can find a lot of information about the CPU power design that GIGABYTE uses on the Z77X-UP7.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Retail Packaging

 What high end motherboard packaging would be complete without a window to see what we are getting?

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The back of the Z77X-UP7 retail packaging has no shortage of marketing text. Here GIGABYTE touches on everything from the 4-way graphics, OC-Touch, down to the all digital PWM Design. 

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Retail Packaging

Removing the outer shell from the packaging of the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 isn't horribly exciting, it does show that GIGABYTE packages the Z77X-UP7 nice and secure.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Retail Packaging

Removing the plastic cover over the Z77X-UP7 we can our first unobstructed view. Still not 100% sure about the orange on the board though. As long as it has the performance, who gives a damn about the colors! 

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The bundle that accompanies the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 is nothing short of all inclusive as you can see above. Each piece of the bundle is individually wrapped and secured by four different compartments below the motherboard.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Retail Bundle

The bundle that accompanies the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 doesn't leave much out. Some of the key pieces included are the GC-WB300D Wi-Fi and Bluetooth expansion card plus the pair of antennas. If you happen to be using a case that doesn't have SuperSpeed USB 3.0, or are looking for an additional pair, GIGABYTE has included and 3.5" drive bay adapter that has a pair built in. For the expansion side of things, we have an expansion bracket that includes a pair of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, and 2-way, 3-way, and Quad SLI bridges, as well as a CrossfireX bridge. I was a little surprised that GIGABYTE only included six SATA cables with the board, not enough to take advantage of all of the SATA ports on the Z77X-UP7. Though to be fair, I doubt most people will use all ten SATA parts, and including ten cables in all of the retail packages would increase the overall cost.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Motherboard Layout

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Layout and Features

Despite the fact that I'm not wild about the orange on the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7, it works. It's contrasted by the black enough to make a sharp looking motherboard. Even if I absolutely hated the orange (which I don't, just not wild about it) it wouldn't stop me from looking into the Z77X-UP7 next time I need a motherboard. As long as the board has the performance and features I need, the color and style is completely irrelevant to me.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Layout and Features

Taking a closer look at the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 we can see there is a lot to this board. Starting off in the first corner we can find our OC-Touch controls. From here we can increase the system Bclk, CPU ratio, and the OC Gear (Bclk Steppings). Below all of the buttons we have a series of voltage check points. Buried in the corner we can see the CMOS Clear button, and the LN2 mode switch. The LN2 switch reduces the system to a x16 CPU multiplier, this can help out during overclocking. The LN2 mode switch helped me get into the system BIOS without having to reset the BIOS when my overclock was to aggressive. To the left of all the overclocking goodies, we can see the 24pin motherboard power, and the internal SuperSpeed USB 3.0 header driven by the Etron EJ168 chip. The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 will support up to 32Gb of DDR3 DRAM with speeds as fast as 2800MHz!

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Layout and Features

Swinging the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 around, there is no shortage of connectivity here. There is a grand total of 10 SATA ports onboard. The six on the the right (dark grey and white) are controlled by the Intel Z77 chipset. The pair of white SATA ports are the native SATA III 6Gbps ports while the dark grey are SATA II 3Gbps. The four light grey on the left are SATA III 6Gbps and are controlled by a pair of Marvell 88SE9172 chips. Just behind the Intel Z77 controlled SATA ports is a single mSATA connector, be aware that using this does eliminate SATA2 port 5 though. Along the edge we can find a pair of system fan headers, and a second internal SuperSpeed USB 3.0 header. Just past the USB 3.0 header is the debug LED display, and another 4pin system fan header

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Layout and Features

The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 features five PCIe x16 slots. Three of the slots run at x16 while two of them run at x8. All five of the PCIe x16 slots conform to PCIe x16 Gen 3, and will run at that when paired with a compatible processor like the Intel Core i7 3770K we will be using today. Along the front edge of the Z77X-UP7 we can see several of the IC's that add to the performance of the board, including the Realtek ALC898 Hi-Def audio codec, Atheros Gigabit Ethernet Controller, and the Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller. If you are running a single graphics card, it is recommended that it is plugged into the grey PCIe x16 slot (PCIEX16_2). This slot has a direct link to the CPU, which allows it to bypass the PLX chip.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Layout and Features

Behind the I/O panel we can find a pair of 8pin CPU power plugs. Only 1 is required to be used and it can be used with a 4pin CPU power plug from the PSU if that is all you have. Though if you're buying a $399.99 motherboard, it's doubtful that you're running a low-end power supply.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Layout and Features

The back panel features the typical items that we see on most boards. One thing that there isn't is any USB 2.0 ports, the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 has all SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports on the back panel. The pair on the left under the PS/2 ports are controlled by the Intel Z77 chipset, while the remaining four are controlled by the VIA VL800 SuperSpeed USB3.0 contoller. In addition to the SS USB 3.0 ports, we have a 15pin D-Sub VGA port, DVI-D port, HDMI, and a DisplayPort. There is also a pair of RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet ports, one is controlled by the Intel GbE controller while the other is an Atheros GbE controller.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Layout and Features

The area surrounding the Intel LGA1155 socket is certainly not bare. The CPU power delivery method on the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 uses a 32+3+2 phase power design! Breaking the 32+3+2 Phase design down, there are 32 Phases for the CPU, 3 phase design for the Intel HD Graphics, and 2 VTT phases!

Legit Reviews Test System

Before we look at the numbers, here is a brief glance at the test systems that were used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Test System

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard - $399.99

                                            Intel Test Rig

 Processor  Intel Core I7 3770K  Live Pricing
 Motherboard  See Above  Live Pricing
 Memory  8gb Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz  Live Pricing
 Hard Drive  Kingston SSDNow 96GB SSD  Live Pricing
 Video Card  XFX Radeon HD 6950  Live Pricing
 CPU cooler  Corsair H100
 Live Pricing
 Chassis  None - Open Bench  
 Power Supply  Corsair TX750   Live Pricing

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 System Settings

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 System Settings

SiSoftware Sandra 2013 SP1a

Sisoftware Sandra 2011 SP5

The Sisoftware Sandra 2012 SP3 benchmark utility just came out a few weeks ago and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. Sandra 2012 comes with support for Virtualisation (Virtual PC/Server, Hyper-V, VMware) and GPGPU (OpenCL, DirectX 11 DirectCompute), but today we will be using the program to look at memory and CPU performance!

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Sandra 2013 SP1a Memory Benchmark Scores

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 has a slight leg up on the ASUS P8Z77-V. With an aggregate performance of 21.795GB/s it was just over .5GB/s faster than our ASUS Z77 motherboard.

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Futuremark 3DMark 11 Benchmark

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world’s most popular benchmark for measuring the 3D graphics performance of gaming PCs. 3DMark 11 uses a native DirectX 11 engine designed to make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.

Futuremark 3DMark 11 Benchmark Settings

We ran 3DMark11 with both the performance and extreme presets to see how our hardware will run.

3DMark11 Performance Benchmark Results:

3DMark 11 Performance Preset Results

Benchmark Results: The ASUS P8Z77-V has a pretty solid lead in 3DMark 11. The overall score of our GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 was 7778 while the ASUS board was 182 points faster. Looking at the sub-scores we can see the biggest difference is in the graphics score as the ASUS board graphics score was more than 200 points higher.

3DMark11 Extreme Benchmark Results:

3DMark 11 Extreme Preset Results

 Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 fell just a bit short of the ASUS P8Z77-V in the extreme preset of 3DMark 11. The Z77X-UP7 has an overall score of 2462 which is still solid, and only 24 points behind the ASUS board.

3DMark

fire_strike_ss_550

Fire Strike is our new showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today. Fire Strike will only be available in the Windows editions of 3DMark initially.

fire_strike_results

Benchmark Results: In the latest iteration of Futuremarks 3DMark, Fire Strike is the one to look at when comparing dedicated gaming rigs. The ASUS P8Z77-V was able to take a 126 point lead over the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7. The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 scored 5396 3DMarks overall while the ASUS hit 5522 3DMarks overall.

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 Screenshot

Battlefield 3 (BF3) is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released in North America on October 25, 2011 and in Europe on October 28, 2011. It does not support versions of Windows prior to Windows Vista as the game only supports DirectX 10 and 11. It is a direct sequel to 2005's Battlefield 2, and the eleventh installment in the Battlefield franchise. The game sold 5 million copies in its first week of release and the PC download is exclusive to EA's Origin platform, through which PC users also authenticate when connecting to the game.

Battlefield 3 Screenshot

Battlefield 3 debuts the new Frostbite 2 engine. This updated Frostbite engine can realistically portray the destruction of buildings and scenery to a greater extent than previous versions. Unlike previous iterations, the new version can also support dense urban areas. Battlefield 3 uses a new type of character animation technology called ANT. ANT technology is used in EA Sports games, such as FIFA, but for Battlefield 3 is adapted to create a more realistic soldier, with the ability to transition into cover and turn the head before the body.

Battlefield 3 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: There certainly isn't much of a performance difference between the two systems! After the 3DMark 11 results I was admittedly a little worried. In benchmarking Battlefield 3 we use fraps and play through a mission several times. While we saw some distinct performance differences in the synthetic benchmarks, we aren't seeing them in real world tests. The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 was able to average 60.022 frames per second at 1920x1080 and 81.807 frames per second at 1280x1024, while the ASUS board was right there with an average of 81.715 frames per second and 60.137 frames per second.

Intel Z77 SATA III 6Gbps Performance Testing

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

sata_cdm_01

The SATA III 6Gbps performance testing was completed using a Corsair Force GT 240Gb SATA III 6Gbps SSD.

Intel Z77 SATA III 6Gbps CrystalDiskMark Performance

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 didn't quite keep up with the ASUS P8Z77-V. Though a sequential read of 494.0MB/s is still quite solid.

HD Tune Pro 4.01 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z77 HD Tune Pro 5.00 Write Benchmark Results

sata_hdtune_write_550

Intel Z77 HD Tune Pro 5.00 Read Benchmark Results

sata_hdtune_read_550

Intel Z77 SATA III 6Gbps HD Tune Performance

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 had an average read of 360.3MB/s and an average write of 363.3MB/s. These are solid numbers, just not quite enough to keep up with the ASUS P8Z77-V.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance Testing

Thermaltake BlackX 5G SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Dock

There are a number of different Super Speed USB 3.0 host controllers out there. In order to know which ones perform the best we run a series of tests that will put the controller through the ringer and see how it comes out on the other side. Each of our motherboards uses a different Super Speed USB 3.0 controller and you can find the below.

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

usb_cdm_01

Testing of the USB3 was done using the "Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station . The drive used was an Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Benchmark Results: CrystalDiskMark shows us that the ASUS P8Z77-V is once again faster than the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7. The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 has a sequential read of 253.3MB/s which is 16.5MB/s behind the ASUS P8Z77-V. The sequential write of 248.8MB/s belonging to the Z77X-UP7 is 14.5MB/s behind the ASUS board.

HD Tune Pro 5.00 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune 5.00 Read Benchmark Results

usb_read_550

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune 5.00 Write Benchmark Results

usb_write_550

Testing of the USB3 was done using the "Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station . The drive used was an Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Benchmark Results: The ASUS P8Z77-V is quite a bit faster than our GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 in the USB 3.0 HD Tune testing today. The average read of the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 is 251.4MB/s while the ASUS hit 293.7MB/s. The average write of the Z77X-UP7 was 250.8MB/s, 39.2MB/s slower than the ASUS system.

Rightmark Audio Analyzer Performance

RightMark Audio Analyzer

The RightMark Audio Analyzer suite is designed for testing quality of analog and digital paths of any audio devices, be it a sound card, an MP3 player, a consumer CD/DVD player or an acoustic set. The results are obtained by playing and recording test signals passed through the tested audio path by means of frequency analysis algorithms. The latest version of RightMark Audio Analyzer can be found here.

RightMark Audio Analyzer Results

Rightmark Audio Analyzer Comparison Chart

Rightmark Audio Analyzer 6.2.2

The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 pretty much rocked the ASUS P8Z77-V in all things audio. Rightmark Audio Analyzer gave the Z77X-UP7 a general performance rating of Very Good while the ASUS P8Z77-V was given a rating of good.

Power Consumption

CPU Power Consumption

Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with the power supplies, case fans, video cards and hard drives. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements, Prime95's in-place large FFT's were run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load for maximum power consumption and heat. Curious about real world scenarios, we decided to drop Furmark and ran 3DMark 11 on the performance preset and took the maximum power consumption during the first GPU test.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 System Power Consumption

Benchmark Results: Power consumption was pretty close between the two boards today. There is a little bit more of a difference under the CPU load than I would like to see though. The ASUS P8Z77-V was pulling only 145 Watts at the wall, compared to the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 pulling 166 Watts. Idle power consumption was within 1 Watt with the Z77X-UP7 pulling 81 Watts and the ASUS Counterpart pulling 82 Watts. Running 3DMark 11 the GIGABYTE board hit a peak of 218 Watts while the ASUS P8Z77-V pulled 214 Watts.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Overclocking

Overclocking greatly varies due to what hardware is being used and who is doing the overclocking. Always remember that no two pieces of hardware will perform the same, so our results will differ from what you might be able to get.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 CPUz

The Intel Core i7 3770K utilizes a Bclk of 100MHz, under full load the Intel Core i7 3770K uses a multiplier of x35 to achieve the final clock speed of 3.5GHz. Since we are using a K series processor which has an unlocked multiplier we will be able to increase the default x35 multiplier to achieve our overclock today. The Intel Core i7 3770K has a turbo multiplier of x39 which will cause the system to run at 3900MHz (100MHz x 39) with a lightly threaded application.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 CPUz

I always like to see just how far we can push our Intel Core i7 3770K processor without tweaking anything other than the multiplier. The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 did a great job on auto settings, we were able to bring our Intel Core i7 3770K up to 4.8GHz. 4.8GHz is the highest we have been able to take the 3770K without using sub-ambient temperatures!

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 CPUz

Sadly, we weren't able to go any higher than 4.8GHz with any amount of system stability. Though getting into Windows was a piece of cake, our processor just doesn't seem to like anything over 4.8GHz.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Motherboard Review

The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 is by no means a board for the entry level user. It currently carries a street price of a measly $399.99. So the measly is a bit sarcastic, but the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 is certainly worth it. If you're looking for a motherboard with all the bells and whistles, there's really no need to look any further. The only feature that the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 doesn't come with is the kitchen sink.

The performance between the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 and the ASUS P8Z77-V seems off by a little too much. Upon doing a little bit of digging and retesting it seems that the ASUS P8Z77-V is running out of the Intel specifications for turbo mode. The way that the turbo mode is supposed to work is under a heavily threaded application the CPU, in our case the Intel Core i7 3770K will run at 3.5GHz. If we are running a lightly threaded or single threaded application the Intel Turbo can enable and increase the processor frequency up to as much as 3.9GHz. The ASUS P8Z77-V was running at 3.9GHz under everything regardless of processor load. Essentially the ASUS system was running as an overclocked system out of the box. Some may consider this cheating, some may not. I'm not here to argue that point one way or the other, it simply is what it is. It certainly does make for a tough comparison.

Overclocking is always an adventure around here. Each board we get has different quirks and tricks that need to be learned in order to hit the highest possible frequency with our Intel Core i7 3770K. We have learned that 4.8GHz is just about the limit of our processor unless we use sub-ambient cooling. Today we were able to get to our typical limit without having to adjust any of the settings in the 3D BIOS other than the CPU multiplier. We simply started to increase the multiplier on the Intel Core i7 3770K, checked stability and moved up some more. Once we hit 4.8GHz on auto settings we knew the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 was an overclocking beast. Sadly our particular Intel Core i7 3770K isn't as much of a beast when it comes to overclocking. We were unable to bring any system stability past 4.8GHz. Getting into Windows wasn't an issue at 4.9GHz, but once we did anything processor intensive we would get the infamous BSOD which is common in overclocking.

All in all I have to say that the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 is a great board and it's been a pleasure to work with over the past couple of weeks. The synthetic benchmark numbers may be a little low compared to the ASUS P8Z77-V, but the real world gaming was a dead heat. Both systems were within ~.1 frames per second in Battlefield 3. Despite having the rather high price tag of $399.99 I would easily recommend the Z77X-UP7 to anyone looking for a top of the line motherboard. Right now Newegg is running a promotion for the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 which includes a $30.00 mail in rebate, this brings the price down to $369.99. If you happen to push your system just a little to hard and cause some damage to your board GIGABYTE has a three year warranty on the Z77X-UP7.

recommended

Legit Bottom Line: If you're looking for a top of the line motherboard and budget isn't a concern, the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 may just be the board for you. The performance is solid, overclocking is a joy and was extremely easy and all in all was a rock solid Intel Z77 motherboard!