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Intel’s Z77 Express And Lucidlogix MVP: New Features For Gamers

Intel’s Z77 Express And Lucidlogix MVP: New Features For Gamers
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Integrated USB 3.0, advanced management features, reduced power consumption, and a new software package from Lucidlogix separate the Z77 Express motherboards from the Z68 chipset that preceded it. Were these capabilities worth waiting for?

Comprising its Ivy Bridge-based processors and Panther Point (Z77 Express) chipset components, Intel’s Maho Bay platform is one of the firm's worst-kept secrets. So much has been leaked ahead of today’s launch that the best any publisher can do is to validate known or suspected information.

Of course, we've been privy to the same information scattered about the Web for months now, including internal documents that say Intel’s Z77 Express is basically an updated and die-shrunken Z68 Express. Among the updates applied, an integrated USB 3.0 controller has perhaps the biggest impact on manufacturing costs and motherboard design. Four internally-accessible USB 3.0 ports can easily replace two of the third-party controllers found on most Z68 products.

Between the die shrink and integration of USB 3.0, we're even hoping for a modest drop in power consumption, most easily quantifiable in businesses with large groups of PCs to manage. And speaking of management, upgrades from Intel’s Management Engine 7.0 and Rapid Storage Technology 10.5 to versions 8.0 and 11.0, respectively, add features for remote system and data management.

Getting past the parts that make performance enthusiasts yawn, one big advantage for many Z77 motherboards comes not from Intel but Lucidlogix. Packed exclusively with new boards, the firm’s Virtu MVP software promises improved gaming performance for any graphics card. That probably sounds a little far-fetched to most enthusiasts, so we’re taking the extra time to examine it.

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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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