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Intel Z77 Chipset motherboard Review

ccokeman    -   April 9, 2012
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Testing:

Testing the latest Z77 boards will involve running it and its comparison products through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which include both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications, to see how each of these products perform. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual game play, in which we can see if similarly prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest drivers for each board and the latest AMD Catalyst drivers for the XFX HD 6970. To ensure as few variables as possible, all hardware will be tested at their stock speeds, timings, voltages and latencies – unless otherwise stated. Turbo Boost is disabled on all processors to make a fair comparison without skewing the results.

 

Testing Setup: Intel Core i7 Socket 2011

 

Comparison Boards:

 

Overclocking:

 

Overclocking the MSI Z77A-GD65 was more of the same type of Sandy Bridge overclocking we have seen in the past on the Z68 as well as the P67 platform with simple bclock and bclock multiplier adjustments to creep up on the highest possible clock speed. This of course continues to be a limiting factor in how far your chip will overclock. The MSI Z77A-GD65 proved to be fully capable of delivering an overclock similar to what I have reached on Z68 and P67 boards in the past with the test CPU. This means a clock speed just north of 4.9GHz with a maximum bclock multiplier of 47 and a bclock that ranges from 104MHz to 105MHz using an applied 1.495V with LLC set to high. Memory overclocking is limited on my CPU but still it managed to pull off a 2133MHz+ clock speed. Bumping the performance up from a still potent 3.4GHz to 4.9GHz + clock speeds comes with some serious performance improvements across the board. MSI's one sec OC Genie 2 still will not pump my CPU above 4.2GHz due to the PLL over voltage that is applied manually but not in the overclocking algorithm. Even so a good boost was had all around.

 

 

 

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H

 

 

Overclocking the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H was not what I thought it would be with the lack of VRM heat sinks over part of the Power circuits around the CPU. I was pleasantly surprised to see it deliver a good, solid almost 4.9GHz overclock using a bclock of 104.2 with a CPU multiplier of 47. Again much like most of the Z68 boards I have looked at over the past year. Getting to 4.9GHz required a boost in the CPU Vcore to 1.495v, DRAM controller voltage to 1.13v applied voltage. Really overclocking on this board came down to little or no drama due to how well it works with the settings I use for my trusty 2600K workhorse. A good solid clock speed of 4.9 with little VRM cooling seemed like a recipe for disaster but the UD3H held on and did not pop a gasket even with some Prime 95 loading.

 

Maximum Clock Speed:

Each CPU and motherboard has been tested for stability at the clock speeds listed when in an overclocked state. These clock speeds will be used to run the test suite and will provide the performance difference increase over the stock settings in the overclocked scoring.

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Geekbench 2.1
  4. Office 2007 Excel Number Crunch
  5. POV-Ray 3.7
  6. Bibble 5
  7. Sandra 2011
  8. AIDA64 1.85
  9. HandBrake .9.5
  10. ScienceMark 2.02
  11. Cinebench 10 & 11.5
  12. HD Tune 4.60
  • Video:
  1. Aliens vs. Predator
  2. Civilization V
  3. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  4. 3DMark 11



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