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Z77 Is Only Half Of The Story

Intel’s Z77 Express And Lucidlogix MVP: New Features For Gamers
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Although Intel’s Z77 Express offers minor power reductions and management software updates, integrated USB 3.0 and the inclusion of Virtu MVP are the best reasons for users to care. But didn’t we miss something?

In a side-by-side comparison of third-party PCIe based and integrated Intel USB 3.0 controllers, we found that our drive’s ASM1051 adapter was the bottleneck. That means we’re going to need new test hardware before we add Intel’s USB 3.0 controller to our next controller comparison.

By moving USB 3.0 onto the chipset without reducing the number of available PCIe 2.0 lanes, Z77 allows manufacturers to stuff more devices onto their boards at lower cost. In many instances, this means they can even avoid expensive multi-lane PCIe bridges to bring us enthusiast-class features at mainstream prices. While we probably wouldn’t spend the money to upgrade from Z68, new system builders have nothing to lose and a few small things to gain by choosing a motherboard with Intel’s latest mainstream platform controller hub.

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  • 14 Hide
    thehidecheck , April 8, 2012 10:04 PM
    nebunis this a joke? we need to have at lease 2 pcie lanes at 16x speed for serious gaming...2 lanes at 8x will be bringing down your true capability of the graphic cards...thanks but not thanks...i will stick with my x58 chip for now

    poppycock, even high end cards can't even come close to saturateing a 8x slot
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFMzRZqFh-w get learned yo
  • 11 Hide
    tmk221 , April 8, 2012 9:55 PM
    This Lucidlogix Virtu software looks very promising. Certainly it needs a lot of improvment but I think that they will do good job having intel as a partner
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    Yuka , April 8, 2012 8:39 PM
    Wasn't the MVP software to account for the "dips" in performance for discrete video cards?

    Could you guys provide a video showing the differences between a run with the MVP and without? With V-Sync on also.

    Nice review, BTW. Thanks for it 8)

    Cheers!
  • 7 Hide
    aicom , April 8, 2012 9:04 PM
    You bolded PCIE 2.0 for Panther Point but forgot to change it to PCIE 3.0
  • 3 Hide
    confish21 , April 8, 2012 9:10 PM
    Tom, should we expect much of an advantage when ivy bridge is used?

    IB and z77 VS. IB and z68?
  • 1 Hide
    s3anister , April 8, 2012 9:17 PM
    On page three you label the MSI Z68A-GD80 motherboard as Intel Z77 Express when it should obviously be Z68.

    Made me do a double take!
  • 9 Hide
    s3anister , April 8, 2012 9:24 PM
    confish21Tom, should we expect much of an advantage when ivy bridge is used?IB and z77 VS. IB and z68?


    Don't expect them to tell you, they're still under Intel's NDA.
  • 5 Hide
    jaquith , April 8, 2012 9:36 PM
    aicomYou bolded PCIE 2.0 for Panther Point but forgot to change it to PCIE 3.0

    No, the Z77 and all Panther Point chipest are indeed 8x lanes of PCIe 2.0, so Thomas's article is correct. Don't confuse GPU PCIe lanes with Chipset PCIe lanes. However, Thomas knows that I too 'wish' the LGA 1155 was PCIe 3.0 clean, it sure would help with other chipset 'sharing' issues (bottlenecks).
  • 3 Hide
    josejones , April 8, 2012 9:43 PM
    Where's the performance increase with the z77 over the z68? The new features are a plus but, previews I've seen so far suggest that the z77's are slower than the z68.

    What's up with that? Do the z77's require the Ivy Bridge CPU to take full advantage? Sounds like possible driver and/or most likely BIOS issues as others have pointed out elsewhere on page 2 of the z77 Motherboard Discussion thread.
  • 11 Hide
    tmk221 , April 8, 2012 9:55 PM
    This Lucidlogix Virtu software looks very promising. Certainly it needs a lot of improvment but I think that they will do good job having intel as a partner
  • 14 Hide
    thehidecheck , April 8, 2012 10:04 PM
    nebunis this a joke? we need to have at lease 2 pcie lanes at 16x speed for serious gaming...2 lanes at 8x will be bringing down your true capability of the graphic cards...thanks but not thanks...i will stick with my x58 chip for now

    poppycock, even high end cards can't even come close to saturateing a 8x slot
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFMzRZqFh-w get learned yo
  • 8 Hide
    Crashman , April 8, 2012 10:16 PM
    aicomYou bolded PCIE 2.0 for Panther Point but forgot to change it to PCIE 3.0
    Nope, Intel did that, it's a capture from Intel's document. And the eight lanes on the chipset really are PCIe 2.0.
    nebunis this a joke? we need to have at lease 2 pcie lanes at 16x speed for serious gaming...2 lanes at 8x will be bringing down your true capability of the graphic cards...thanks but not thanks...i will stick with my x58 chip for now
    Not really: Previous generation cards ran pretty good at PCIe 2.0 x8, and these CPU-hosted lanes are PCIe 3.0. Noting that this is Intel's mainstream platform, that's probably good enough.
    tmk221This Lucidlogix Virtu software looks very promising. Certainly it needs a lot of improvment but I think that they will do good job having intel as a partner
    Given the weakness of Intel's integrated GPU, this certainly looks like a more-efficient technology compared to its previous (Hydra) efforts.

  • -7 Hide
    gradius2 , April 8, 2012 11:52 PM
    I'm tired to see the needed to change MB almost everytime something come out, is time for manufactures to be RESPONSIBLE to make something more universal, so change MB would takes 10 years or more! I hope Tom's make a news about this we need drastic solution for a scary-future it will comes very soon.
  • 4 Hide
    Darkerson , April 8, 2012 11:53 PM
    Very interesting to say the least. Needs some more work, but I like where they are going with this.
  • 3 Hide
    e56imfg , April 9, 2012 12:27 AM
    Saw some benchies of the 3570K / 3770K at Tweaktown. Not sure to trust them or not but the software looks promising.
    In a few months, I'm sure most of these bugs will be ironed out.
  • 8 Hide
    kyraiki , April 9, 2012 1:00 AM
    Good review. Virtu was a great addition to Z68 and the update for Z77 looks promising. I just wish Lucidlogix would have picked another term besides 'HyperFormance'.
  • 3 Hide
    shin0bi272 , April 9, 2012 1:13 AM
    I saw a review of another mobo on this chipset over on another site and they used a 680 for their benchmarks. The only one they had in common with this one was 3dmark 11 on performance.
    They got a 9177 on the z77 from gigabyte... with a 680...the standard 680 P score is 9458.
    You guys topped out in that same bench with a 580 at 8728!
    The normal 3dmark 11 P score with a 580 is 6619 (commensurate with the score for no VVS)

    That HyperFormance and Virtual Vsync are really helping! At least in 3dmark LOL! Cant wait to see what score you get with a 680 combined with HF and VVS!
  • -7 Hide
    nebun , April 9, 2012 1:39 AM
    thehidecheckpoppycock, even high end cards can't even come close to saturateing a 8x slothttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFMzRZqFh-w get learned yo

    still...i would rather have 2 pcie lanes at 16X just in case i want to install two nvidia gtx 590 in sli...get the point?....why settle for something less when you can have the cake and eat it too :) 
  • -9 Hide
    Cyberat_88 , April 9, 2012 3:46 AM
    USB is obsolete, low speed real performance connection, ESATA is the future, stop hyping garbage MBs. Why get the 77 series when the 79 is out with dual x16 pci-e slots ?
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