Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH Review
Introduction and Technical Specifications
If it's another day it must be another slight variation upon the theme of the Intel Z77 Chipset. Considering how well-rounded the Z77 chipset is, and how incredibly robust and feature-rich it is in it's default Intel specification, we're always surprised that manufacturers can find some many different ways to package it. We're reminded of the comments we made regarding the nVidia GTX660Ti. To a certain degree you just need a mini-ATX, an ATX mid-range, and an all-singing Enthusiast model. So the question is, where does the UP4 sit in the large Gigabyte range?
The most noticeable change between the UP4 and the previous U range of motherboards we have reviewed from Gigabyte is the inclusion of the Intel Thunderbolt technology. Not only do you get a Thunderbolt on the Z77X-UP4, but this is the first certified motherboard to include two Thunderbolt ports, which allow you to daisy-chain up to 12 devices from the UP4. This is still right on the leading edge of current hardware, and has a price-tag which reflects this. To the average user a single device has no great benefits attached to the Thunderbolt interface rather than a USB 3.0 port. But the big performance gains are to be had when daisy-chaining, thanks to the ability to saturate the throughput in a method that is impossible with USB. However, this requires very deep pockets and, as such, is beyond the scope of today's review.
The other big feature is the inclusion of the International Rectifier IR3550 PowIRstage. This has combined the usual multi-chip design that controls High and Low side MOSFETs and the driver IC into a single package. Not only does this save on motherboard real-estate, but it's much more efficient and, even more importantly, significantly cooler than the multi-chip arrangement. So efficient is the single package solution offered by the IR3550 that power efficiency can reach 95% whilst still being over 30°C cooler than a traditional MOSFET design.
Aside from Dual Thunderbolt ports and the IR3550 powerphase, the Z77X-UP4 TH is all pretty standard stuff. Realtek LAN, Lucid MVP, SATA 6Gbp/s and the ubiquitous Realtek ALC892 sound chip are all present.
- 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
- Intel® Z77 Express Chipset
- 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
- Dual channel memory architecture
- Support for DDR3 1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
- Support for non-ECC memory modules
- Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
|Onboard Graphics||Integrated Graphics Processor:|
Intel DSL3510L chip:
- 1 x D-Sub port
- 1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200
- 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200
- 2 Thunderbolt ports (MDP1/MDP2) support for Mini-DisplayPort and Thunderbolt monitor(s), and supporting a maximum resolution of 2560x1600.
* When a monitor connected to the DVI-D port, the MDP2 Thunderbolt port can support Thunderbolt storage device(s) only.
* Due to PC architecture I/O resources limitation, the amount of the Thunderbolt devices can be used is dependent on the quantity of PCI Express and PCI devices be installed. (Refer to Chapter 1-7, "Back Panel Connectors", and Chapter 2, "Peripherals\Intel(R) Thunderbolt" for more information.)
- Realtek ALC892 codec
- High Definition Audio
- Support for S/PDIF Out
- Support for S/PDIF In
- 1 x Realtek GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
- 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
* For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
- 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
* The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.
- 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
* The PCIEX4 slot is available only when an Intel 22nm (Ivy Bridge) CPU is installed.
* The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX8 and PCIEX16 slots. When the PCIEX4 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot will operate at up to x8 mode and the PCIEX8 will operate at up to x4 mode.
(The PCIEX16, PCIEX8 and PCIEX4 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
* Whether PCI Express 3.0 is supported depends on CPU and graphics card compatibility.
- 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
(The PCIEX1 slot conforms to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
- 1 x PCI slot
- Support for AMD CrossFireX™ / NVIDIA SLI technology
- 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0/SATA3 1) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
- 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2 2~SATA2 5) supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices
- 1 x mSATA connector
* The SATA2 5 connector will become unavailable when the mSATA connector is installed with a solid state drive.
VIA VL800 chip:
- Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB headers)
* In Windows XP, the Intel USB 3.0 ports can support up to USB 2.0 transfer speed.
- Up to 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (available through the internal USB headers)
- Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel
* Due to a Windows 7 limitation, please connect your USB device(s) to the USB 2.0/1.1 port(s) before the VIA USB 3.0 controller driver is installed.
|Thunderbolt||Intel DSL3510L chip:|
Intel® Certified Thunderbolt™ Device
- 2 Thunderbolt ports on the back panel
|Internal I/O Connectors|
- 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
- 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
- 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
- 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
- 1 x mSATA connector
- 1 x CPU fan header
- 4 x system fan headers
- 1 x front panel header
- 1 x front panel audio header
- 1 x S/PDIF In header
- 1 x S/PDIF Out header
- 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
- 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
- 1 x serial port header
- 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
- 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
|Back Panel Connectors|
- 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
- 1 x D-Sub port
- 1 x DVI-D port
- 1 x HDMI port
- 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
- 2 x Thunderbolt ports
- 1 x RJ-45 port
- 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
- 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
- iTE I/O Controller Chip
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Support for Cloud Station
- Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
- Intel® Smart Response Technology
- Intel® Rapid Start Technology
- LucidLogix Virtu MVP
- Support for Microsoft® Windows 7/XP
- ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm
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