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Seven Sub-$160 Z77 Express Motherboards, Reviewed

DZ77SL-50K Applications

Intel includes a significant software bundle with the DZ77SL-50K, though much of it is trialware. That applies to both its ESET and Norton security suites.

Laplink’s PC Mover is also included, which appears to be a great way to migrate applications. This version is unfortunately limited to three program transfers, and warns that even those three might not work. We recommend searching your favorite apps for compatibility with this program before bothering to try it.

On the other hand, Splashtop Remote Desktop really does work (at least on other people’s hardware). It enables enhanced remote desktop capabilities from portable devices, and the software looks promising (in other people's videos). Locked in an office with only his work, this editor doesn’t have any portable devices (Ed.: Sad face).

Going beyond its manufacturing partner’s splash screen apps, Intel Integrator Tool Kit offers the level of firmware customization needed to make every builder a baby Dell. Unfortunately, none of its recent firmware files had the proper extension to work with this program.

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Our criticism of Gigabyte’s monitoring menu sprawl appears harsh in retrospect. Intel Desktop Utilities provides all of the hardware information we would want, but we’re fairly certain that the firm could have picked a more compact way to display it.

A spread-out selection of system status menus wouldn’t matter to many users if it didn’t also come with an equally-excessive alarm settings group.

We have not yet mentioned Virtu MVP software in our coverage of other boards because we thought it was universal across the full range of enthusiast-oriented Z77 motherboards. Intel's DZ77SL-50K instead includes Virtu Universal, without the HyperFormance mode available in MVP.

  • 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