GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Review
GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 – The New Flagship
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 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.
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.
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 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|
Integrated Graphics Processor:
|Wireless Communication module||
|Multi-Graphics Technology||Support for 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI technology|
2 x Marvell 88SE9172 chips:
VIA VL800 chip:
Etron EJ168 chip:
|Internal I/O Connectors||
|Back Panel Connectors||
|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|