Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 Review
Up Close Cont
The PCI Express slots are well arranged and have a cunning secret. Firstly they well spaced out to make sure that multiple GPUs get plenty of airflow, which is becoming more common on all motherboards, and the included PLX8747 ensures that your multiple cars also have plenty of bandwidth. Most interestingly though the black PCI Express slot is still 16x but bypasses the PLX chip, which might just enable single-card benchmarkers to eke out those final few points to take home the gold.
Anyone who has overclocked heavily knows that the Windows boot process causes more than a few overclocks to fail that might otherwise be stable. The buttons on the UP7 enable you to adjust both the BCLK and CPU Multiplier 'live', so you can boot to Windows with settings that are stable, then shoot for the high-score once you're up and running.
Major overclocks need loads of power, and a hint of the UP7's ethos is there when you see we have two ATX 8pin power connectors. Gigabyte have come with Dual-BIOS' for years, but it's only recently that users have been able to manually switch between them. Useful if you want a regular BIOS for day to day tasks and one for those record attempts. Or even a reasonable overclock for gaming days and a slow and low power option for browsing and other mundane tasks.
Storage is more than adequate with 6 SATA 6Gb/s connections and 4 SATA 3Gb/s connections. There is also a mSATA connector, if you happen to have a 1.8" solid state hanging around.
The back panel has the blended PS/2, 6 USB 3.0 ports, DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and VGA as well as the two GigaLAN connectors and the audio ports for the ALC898.
So often heatsinks are chunks of aluminium that are there because they look good, or because we expect them to be. Rarely are they designed with such a high fin density to ensure maximum heat dissipation.