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

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EVGA Z77 FTW

The EVGA Z77 FTW showed up wearing basically the same red and black outfit as the ASRock board, but it has much less in the way of heat pipes around the CPU socket, although it does sport an actively cooled southbridge heatsink.

The board features a 7+1 Phase PWM, and although you only need to use one of them, the board has dual 8-pin power connectors for better overclocking capabilities; the POSCAP capacitors and a gold-infused CPU socket are also designed to help with stability when overclocking.

In addition to supporting Intel Socket 1155 CPUs, as you might expect, this motherboard will take up to 32GB of up to DDR3-2133MHz+ memory in its four DIMMs. A high-end mainboard like this one (especially with the E-ATX form factor) should boast strong expansion capabilities, and the EVGA Z77 FTW doesn’t disappoint; with five PCI-E 3.0 x16/x8 slots (and one PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot), the board supports up to four-way SLI or CrossFireX. For increased control, you can disable various PCI-E lanes with onboard switches.


EVGA Z77 FTW
Specifications & Features

CPU:

Chipset:

Memory:




Expansion:


SATA:



Audio:

LAN:

Multi I/O:



Form Factor:

Intel Socket 1155 CPUs

Intel Z77

4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
Dual Channel DDR3
Maximum of 32GB of DDR3 2133MHz+

5 x PCIe x16/x8, 1 x PCIe x1
4-way SLI

10 x SATA 3GB/sec (8x Internal + 2x E-SATA) with support for
     RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5, RAID10 and JBOD
4 x SATA 6GB/sec (4 Internal) with support for RAID 0 and RAID1

8 Channel High Definition

2 x 10/100/1000

10 x USB 2.0 ports (6 external + 4 internal headers)
6 x USB 3.0 ports (4 external + 2 internal headers)
Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)

EATX Form Factor, 12x10.375 inches/304.8mmx263.5mm, LxW 



Although there are four SATA 6Gbps connectors on board, EVGA also saw fit to include ten additional SATA 3Gbps ports (two of which are eSATA) as well, just in case you need to connect fourteen SATA devices at once. The USB situation is similar, with a total of ten USB 2.0 ports (six in back, four onboard) and six USB 3.0 (four in back, two onboard). It may seem a bit overkill to have so many ports--especially older-generation ones--but hey, it’s a big PCB, so the more the merrier.

         

In addition to the aforementioned USB and eSATA ports, the rear I/O panel includes a PS/2 port, dual LAN ports, clear CMOS button, mini-DisplayPort, optical port, and five audio jacks; there are physical power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons on the board, as well. Other physical features include a “dark mode” jumper that lets you easily shut off all the LEDs as well as a toggle switch to select between up to three BIOS versions.

Overall, the EVGA Z77 FTW is very well marked, which is a small but welcome design element. For example, there’s a sticker over the DIMM slots indicating which ones to use depending on your memory configuration, and most of the headers have a black plastic cover with clear red lettering so you can tell at a glance which are for USB 3.0, USB 2.0, or FireWire. The large visual guide poster included in the box is most helpful for figuring out which components are what, too.

         

EVGA kept the software and utilities list short and sweet, keeping it primarily limited to the EVGA E-LEET tuning tool. Not so with the included accessories though--as usual, EVGA provided a cornucopia that consists of a manual, an installation guide, drivers and utilities installation disc, rear I/O shield, four SATA cables, two SATA power adapters, 2- and 3-way SLI bridges, a FireWire port bracket, USB 2.0 bracket, and USB 3.0 bracket.
 

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