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Six $160-220 Z77 Motherboards, Benchmarked And Reviewed
BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for Overclocking)
Z77 Extreme6
P8Z77-V Pro
CPU Base Clock95-150 MHz (0.1 MHz)80-300 MHz (0.1 MHz)95-300 MHz (0.01 MHz)
CPU MultiplierUp to 63xUp to 63xUp to 63x
DRAM Data Rates1066-3000  (200, 266.6 MHz)800-3200  (200, 266.6 MHz)1066-3000  (200, 266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.60-2.20 V (5 mV)0.80-1.92 V (5 mV)1.00-1.79 V (10 mV)
VTT Voltage0.77-1.63 V (10 mV) 1.05-1.16 V (12.5 mV)
VCCSA Voltage0.93, 1.02, 1.11, 1.20 V 0.80-1.70 V (6.25 mV)0.90-1.70 V (12.5 mV)
PCH Voltage0.78-1.65 V (9.3 mV)0.80-1.70 V (10 mV)1.05 V +0 to +15% (5%)
DRAM Voltage1.17-1.80 V (5 mV)1.20-1.92 V (5 mV)1.30-2.11 V (12 mV)
CAS Latency4-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRCD3-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRP3-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRAS9-63 Cycles1-255 Cycles9-63 Cycles
BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for Overclocking)
 ECS Golden
CPU Base Clock99-150 MHz (1 MHz)80-300 MHz (0.01 MHz)0-655 MHz (0.1 MHz)
CPU MultiplierUp to 59xUp to 63xUp to 63x
DRAM Data Rates1066-2800(200, 266.6 MHz)800-3200 (200, 266.6 MHz)800-2933 (266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore1.00-1.50 V (15 mV)0.80-1.90 V (5 mV)0.80-2.155 V (5 mV)
VTT Voltage+0 to +0.63 V (10 mV)0.80-1.70 V (5 mV)0.95-1.55 V (10 mV)
VCCSA Voltage+0 to +0.63 V (10 mV)0.72-1.40 V (5 mV)0.93-1.59 V (10 mV)
PCH Voltage+0 to +0.63 V (10 mV)Not Adjustable0.78-1.72 V (5 mV)
DRAM Voltage+0 to +0.63 V (10 mV)1.10-2.10 V (5 mV)1.11-2.46 V (7.25 mV)
CAS Latency4-15 Cycles5-15 Cycles5-15 Cycles
tRCD3-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRP3-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRAS9-63 Cycles5-63 Cycles10-40 Cycles

Saving the best for last, all six of today’s motherboards yielded phenomenal air-cooled overclocking results from this specific Core i7-3770K processor. This is the first time in around two years that this editor received am above-average CPU sample on his first try, and history indicates that we’ll most likely see a greater percentage of acceptable overclocks as new steppings address minor hot spots.

MSI’s Z77A-GD65 edges out the competition for maximum CPU clock, while the second- through fourth-place overclockers are essentially tied. Biostar falls only slightly behind the median, while ECS drops a little behind Biostar.

ASRock has the highest base clock, while the top five boards prove the superiority of this specific CPU sample. Most users should expect an extra 6 MHz or so from their 100 MHz base clock, and even the bottom board gets that far.

A 2612 MT/s data rate is extremely remarkable compared to processors of old, and the fact that ASRock holds four modules stable at that setting with a $165 motherboard is similarly striking. So striking, in fact, that Asus called us out for not checking ASRock's XMP voltage more thoroughly. A retest at 1.650 V resulted in a maximum four-DIMM stable data rate of DDR3-2559 in Prime95. Two-DIMM results remained at DDR3-2700. We should also note that Asus isn't completely blameless here, as its P8Z77-V Pro showed 1.659 V in its own UEFI at the memory's XMP value of 1.650 V.

ECS sets a new standard for itself by winning the two-DIMM overclock tests, while any overclocking deficits for Biostar’s offset DIMMs appears significant only when four modules are installed.

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