Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 Review
As anyone knows I'm a huge fan of the black and orange colour scheme, so when you combine this with having such a potentially powerful motherboard to hand that might finally erase some of the stench of recent Gigabyte motherboards, Tom and me got together to drink beer put it through its paces. As always something gets forgotten and in this case it was my engineering 3770K so we're running on a retail today, on previous runs with a different Z77 board Tom only managed a 4.6GHz stable overclock so things were really aginst the UP7. Although the silicon lottery means you can get an awesome one there is a reason that Intel give ES models out to review sites. So in the interests of full disclosure we're not using our regular test CPU here today but one that you can buy off the shelf rather than one that's been cherry picked. This also goes to show that with what we would regard as being an average 3770K with the less than brilliant TIM under the hood meaning temps rocket rapidly is also a really good point to raise for everyone at home reading this. If we have got these results with an average off the shelf CPU.... So can you. Its slightly different to our best case scenario we normally deliver.
Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 Motherboard
AMD Radeon HD7970
Catalyst Drivers 12.8
Intel Core i7-3770K Retail
Corsair Dominator Platinum RAM
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Given that retail CPUs rarely hit the heights seen my engineering samples we were stunned to be able to extract 5GHz from it, at a reasonable 1.4v. Besides changing the multiplier and voltage the only other adjustment was the change of the loadline calibration from its default setting to Extreme. Why there are more than just off and extreme we're unsure as we're certain nobody will use anything other than those two options.
Of course 5GHz from a retail wouldn't be stable to run all of our testing and so it proved but with a tiny bit of extra voltage, but still within thermal limits despite only using a Corsair H100, we ended up with 4.9GHz as our bench clock. This is matched only by the ROG Maximus V Extreme (that was on our ES CPU), and we're nothing short of stunned at how easily and readily the UP7 overclocks.
So with a big overclock on hand did the benchmarks back up the potential? Starting with wPrime95 we find that although at stock settings the M5E has a handy lead, with the overclock in place the UP7 tops our charts with the lowest time we've yet seen. An impressive start.