Z77 Motherboard Round-Up: MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte, Intel

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For the purposes of this article, we acquired a handful of Z77 Express-based motherboards to give you all an idea as to what type of boards would be hitting the scene when the Z77 Express is first made available.

First up, we have the MSI Z77A-GD65. Like the other Z77 Express-based motherboards we’ll be featuring here, all of the Z77 chipset’s features are available on the MSI Z77A-GD65, but MSI works a bit of their own magic as well. The MSI Z77A-GD65 features a mouse-friendly UEFI “Click BIOS II” that’s much easier to navigate than traditional text-based BIOS menus (more on this later). The board is also in MSI’s “Military Class III” family and features super ferrite chokes, highly conductive polymer capacitors and / or solid capacitors throughout, which should offer increased stability and longevity, as well as lower total power consumption. The Z77A-GD65 also has a digital PWM for more efficient power delivery.



 

 

 

The MSI Z77A-GD65 also supports “1 second overclocking” thanks to its OC Genie feature and button, but the UEFI sports all of the overclocker-friendly features we’ve come to expect from MSI for manual tweaking as well. MSI also includes their new Instant OC Control Center software which gives users the ability the monitor and control system parameters from within Windows, with no need to reboot when making changes.

Other features of the MSI Z68A-GD80 include USB3.0 and CrossFire / SLI support, integrated voltage check-points, and “Super Charger” which allows users to charge USB devices even when the system is powered down. We found the layout of the MSI Z68A-GD805 to be quite good and also like the dark blue and black features on the board, although all of the boards we look at here have similar color schemes too.

MSI includes plenty of documentation with the Z77A-GD65, in addition to an I/O shield, drive and utility CD, an SLI bridge, four SATA cables, front panel quick connectors, and extension leads for the integrated voltage checkpoints. There’s nothing over the top about the board’s bundle, but all of the necessities are there.

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Good to see these boards making it into the market.

I liked the ASUS board the most, but as you guys said, even the cheapest one of them is a damn nice board.

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Impressive performance ! Hope and trust you will retest when the Ivy Bridge - Oops ! «3rd Generation Core processors» - become available !...

Henri

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You didn't think that Intel motherboard showed up without an Ivy Bridge CPU in it, did you? :)

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Marco, as you know, I personally possess no special knowledge as regards which processor was included with the Intel motherboard, but I do presume that all the tests were performed with a Core i7-2700K, as per your headsup : «One thing we should point out though, is that we tested all of these motherboards [emphasis added, MHD] using a Sandy Bridge-based processor; a Core i7-2700K to be more specific». What I attempted to express above was my hope that you will retest all these mainboards when the Ivy-Bridge processors become generally available....

Henri

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Got my hands on the Z77 boards at Pax (Some of them even had Ivy bridge chips in them) Man these things are nice. I find the power efficiency improvements to be pretty impressive.

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Great article, but what does "Thunderbolt Ready" mean? Are the MB people planning on releasing a card that I can stick in there? Is there an ETA on when the card would show up or any details about it? Same size connector as the mac version of ThunderBolt?

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Hey Optimus while you are entitled to your own opinion all I see you do is flame marco nonstop, whats with all the negativity? 

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We tested the MSI board and were able to hit a stable 5.3GHz with a 2600K for our review, same goes with our Gigabyte sample, but it was the Z77 UD3, even our Biostar Z77 board was able to hit 5.3GHz, ASRock Extreme6 4.9GHz. We just receive five more Z77 boards and should have those results up shortly

AS far as the comments left by OPT, every review site has to put up with someone like this, he should be posting his own results before resorting to this type of crap

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I liked the ASUS board the most, but as you guys said, even the cheapest one of them is a damn nice board.

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What I attempted to express above was my hope that you will retest all these mainboards when the Ivy-Bridge processors become generally available..

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