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Seven Sub-$160 Z77 Express Motherboards, Reviewed

TZ77XE3 Applications

The TZ77XE3’s installation CD includes some useful utilities, as well as a few potential annoyances. For example, our experience with a competitor’s nagging Internet security software trial dissuaded us from installing the included Bullguard, though we found value in much of the remaining bundle.

For example, Biostar adds the full THX TruStudio Pro package, an application that ASRock’s version begged us to pay $25 for. With advanced features like active volume control and movie dialog enhancement, this difference could be worth as much as (or even more than) the extra SATA and USB 3.0 controllers offered by ASRock. The winner of that value comparison depends upon buyer preference.

Simplest of Biostar’s branded utilities is its eHot-Line email utility, which relies on your email client to send messages to Biostar Tech Support. That requirement makes eHot-Line more of a gimmick than a feature.

BIOS Live Update checks Biostar’s servers for the latest UEFI version.

Biostar also includes a utility to modify the UEFI’s boot-up splash screen. We’ve seen other manufacturers offer similar utilities in the past, but those manufacturers typically targeted white-box builders rather than enthusiasts.

BIO-Remote ties Biostar’s programs to specific buttons on Microsoft’s MCE Remote.

Biostar’s Green Power Utility saved us up to 3 W over CPU-based automatic power controls at idle.

  • SpadeM
    LAN performance .. ISC performance ... USB 3 .. well that's it then.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    SpadeMLAN performance .. ISC performance ... USB 3 .. well that's it then.Tom's Hardware has several controller comparisons, and publishes new ones frequently. So unless you think one of the boards has a broken controller, wysiwyg.

    The things that actually get screwed-up are typically related to the clock generator, multiplier control, memory timings and power options.
    Reply
  • nikorr
    I would place the ASRock and Gigabyte on the top as well : )

    Nice review.
    Reply
  • jaquith
    I always appreciate your Articles! :) I know how much work you do to get them done.

    You're kidding - Biostar. I guess this article is not about the 'Best Sub-$160 Z77' MOBO's but about the best manufacturers sent you. The cheapest MOBO I recommend for the SB/IB (K) is the ASUS P8Z77-V which pops your 'unique' budget cap depending where you shop; found it here for $159.99 - http://www.gadgetneeds.net/asus-p8z77-v-atx-intel-motherboard/
    Interesting you didn't get an ASUS P8Z77-V LK ~$120 which offers SLI. The ASRock Z77 Extreme4 and Gigabyte Z77X-D3H for the price aren't bad.

    There's NO WAY I'm recommending Biostar in the forum, folks and myself would thing I've lost my mind.
    Reply
  • jimishtar
    It would be nice to see the CPU voltage for every board when overclocking.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    jimishtarIt would be nice to see the CPU voltage for every board when overclocking.1.25V
    Reply
  • gorillagarrett
    No peripherals performance tests? Those are the only tests that differentiate those motherboards from each other.

    Would really like to see how the UD3X Atheros Ethernet controller fares against the Intel and broadcom ones.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    gorillagarrettNo peripherals performance tests? Those are the only tests that differentiate those motherboards from each other. Would really like to see how the UD3X Atheros Ethernet controller fares against the Intel and broadcom ones.I'll let the integrated controller guy know you'd like to see those parts compared :)
    Reply
  • gorillagarrett
    I'll let the integrated controller guy know you'd like to see those parts compared

    Thank you!
    Reply
  • rolli59
    I would have liked to see the Asus P8Z77V-LK version instead of the LX since it is better equipped.
    Reply