Z77 Mobo Roundup II: EVGA, ASRock, Gigabyte, Zotac

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First up is the Fatal1ty-endorsed ASRock Z77 Professional, a fine-looking board sporting a black and red color scheme, set off by the gold capacitors dotting the PCB with the Fatal1ty logo emblazoned upon the southbridge heatsink. The heatpipes around the CPU socket are wrapped in black metal heatsinks that are reminiscent of an M16’s barrel grip.

Like all of the other boards in our roundup, the ASRock Z77 Professional supports socket 1155 2nd- and 3rd-generation Intel CPUs, and it also boasts a Digi Power VRM design and 16+8 digital power phases, and it can handle up to 32GB of DDR3-2800 (OC) dual-channel RAM over its four DIMM slots.



ASRock Fatal1ty Z77 Professional
Specifications & Features
CPU: Supports 3rd and 2nd Generation Intel Core i7 / i5 / i3 in LGA1155 Package
Digi Power Design
16 + 8 Power Phase Design
Supports Intel Turbo Boost 2.0, K-Series unlocked CPU, Hyper-Threading, Rapid Start, and Smart Connect Technology
Chipset: Intel Z77
Memory: Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
Supports DDR3 2800+(OC)/2400(OC)/2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
Max. capacity of system memory: 32GB
Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 1.3 / 1.2
 
Graphics: Supports Intel HD Graphics Built-in Visuals: Quick Sync Video 2.0, InTru 3D, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider, and Intel HD Graphics 2500/4000
Pixel Shader 5.0, DirectX 11 with Intel Ivy Bridge CPU. Pixel Shader 4.1, DirectX 10.1 with Intel Sandy Bridge CPU.
Max. shared memory 1760MB
 
Audio: 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC898 Audio Codec)
Supports THX TruStudio and Blu-ray audio
 
LAN: PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
Broadcom BCM57781
Supports Wake-On-LAN, Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az, Dual LAN with Teaming function, and PXE
 
Slots: 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (PCIE2/PCIE4: single at x16 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4) or dual at x8/x8 mode)
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (PCIE5: x4 mode)
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots
2 x PCI slots
Supports AMD Quad, 3-Way, and CrossFireX
Supports NVIDIA Quad SLI and SLI
 
SATA3: 2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by Intel Z77, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel Rapid Storage and Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions
4 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by ASMedia ASM1061, support NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug"
 
USB 3.0: 2 x Rear USB 3.0 ports by Intel Z77, support USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
4 x Rear USB 3.0 ports by Etron EJ188H, support USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
1 x Front USB 3.0 header by Intel Z77 (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports), supports USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
 
Smart Switch: Power, reset, and Clear CMOS switches with LED
 
Form Factor: ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 9.6-in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm
 


Though Intel's integrated graphics are nice for pedestrian tasks, the ASRock Z77 Professional is built for graphics expansion with two PCI-E 3.0 x16, a PCI-E 2.0 x16, a pair of PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and two PCI slots with support for up to four-way CrossFireX and SLI, with dual cards running at x8 each.

You’ll find no SATA 3Gbps ports on this board; instead, there are six total SATA 6Gbps ports (two powered by the chipset, four by the ASMedia chip). The back I/O panel has five USB 2.0 ports in addition to six USB 3.0, and a front panel header supports another two USB 3.0 ports. The rest of the ports on the back panel include a PS/2 port, eSATA3 port, FireWire, HDMI, DisplayPort, optical SPDIF, dual LAN, five audio jacks, and a clear CMOS button.

         

One of the USB ports is the Fatal1ty Mouse Port, which works in conjunction with the Fatal1ty F-Stream software, a utility that lets you overclock and tweak hardware settings including RAM speeds and Fan Control. With a USB mouse plugged into the special port, users can adjust the mouse polling rate from 125Hz to 1,000Hz using F-Stream.

Other ASRock software and utilities onboard include the ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) Internet curfew service; Rapid Start and Smart Connect utilities to speed boot times and enable email receipt and Web page refreshes while the system’s asleep; CPU EZOC for easy overclocking; ASRock’s XFast 555 technology to boost memory, LAN, and USB performance; and more.

         

For accessories, ASRock provided a manual, quick installation guide, installation disc, I/O shield, six SATA cables, rear USB 3.0 bracket, front USB 3.0 panel, SLI bridge, a pair of power cable adapters, and a smattering of screws.
 

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Building a comp for a friend. They probably will not ever take the cover off of the case unless something goes wrong with it. They play a few games and such. They are not really up on computer stuff but like to play games. Any thoughts, pros, cons to the Gigabyte for this sort of a build?

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It seems alot of the people I know for the z77 is going with EVGA. I got nothing aginst ASrock or Zotac but I haven't used their board before. As for gigabyte ive read alot of people recommend them but after using one of their boards (it was an AMD board so it may not apply since I personally have an ASUS anyways) I just lost some faith in gigabyte for the fact of just getting Windows to recognize a RAID I setup though the board. 

I can think of about 4 guys I know currently that run EVGA z77 boards and everyone of them loves it!

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I suprised to see that the Zotac beat out gigabyte in this test.

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Not surprised asrock took the award, they make solid boards at a great price.

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