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Seven Sub-$160 Z77 Express Motherboards, Reviewed

Z77X-D3H Applications

Gigabyte includes a huge software bundle with its latest motherboards, offering, for example, three different adware trial version Internet security suites. Moving past those annoyances, we did find a few gems.

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Audio Deck, for the integrated Via Envy codec, provides an old-fashioned multi-channel positioning diagram to accompany the settings that might otherwise take normal users a while to find in Windows.

Gigabyte @BIOS downloads the latest firmware directly from Gigabyte’s server.

Users can choose their own BIOS splash screen from several published by Gigabyte, or use their favorite search engine to find forums for help in creating their own.

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Gigabyte’s 3D Power controller repeats several of the 3D Power settings from the Z77X-D3H’s firmware. From our standpoint, all of these features could have been combined on a single page of the company's Easy Tune6 utility.

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Gigabyte Smart Recovery 2 provides an easy way to back up your drive or specific folders to a second drive.

Gigabyte Update Manager checks for updates to many of Gigabyte’s brand-specific applications. So, where are the gems we spoke of?

  • 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