Benchmark Settings And Peripheral Compatibility Testing
|Test System Configuration|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-3770K (Ivy Bridge): 3.50 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, LGA 1155|
|CPU Cooler||Thermalright MUX-120 w/Zalman ZM-STG1 Paste|
|RAM||G.Skill F3-17600CL9Q-16GBXLD (16 GB) DDR3-2200 at DDR3-1600 CAS 9, 1.60 V|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 1.5 GB 772 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4008|
|Hard Drive||Samsung 470 Series 256 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|Power||Seasonic X760 SS-760KM ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce 296.10 WHQL|
|Virtu MVP||Version 2.1.114, GPU Virtualization, HyperFormance, No Virtual Vsync, where applicable|
|Chipset||Intel INF 22.214.171.1249|
While G.Skill’s F3-17600CL9Q-16GBXLD provides the default DDR3-1600 CAS 9 settings we want for benchmarks, it’s no longer fast enough to push the limits of today’s best memory controllers. The firm provided a set of its F3-2666C11Q-16GTXD Trident X DDR3-2666 specifically to extend our overclocking capabilities.
We’re shifting focus towards features in this month’s comparison, and one of the features we noticed lacking was the ability of some manufacturers to support certain peripherals in firmware (or DOS mode). We purchased keyboards and mice from Microsoft and Logitech, plus a Saitek keyboard and Razer mouse, to verify this problem.
The good news is that ASRock, Asus, and MSI supported all combinations of hardware through both Windows and UEFI, which is important when certain UEFI features are accessible only via mouse.
This version of Gigabyte’s Z77X-D3H firmware didn’t fare as well, with the Razer mouse moving very slowly and clicking inconsistently. It was possible to use it for UEFI configuration, but doing so took much patience.
Biostar’s TZ77XE3 had trouble with the Logitech mouse; the cursor would move vertically, but not horizontally.
ECS and Intel exhibited both problems, with the Razer mouse movement becoming so unpredictable that sometimes the cursor moved backwards. The issue was somewhat amusing on the Intel platform, since this problem occurred only after we updated its UEFI.
The reason for the DZ77SL-50K’s regressive compatibility is that we were forced to go backwards with its firmware. Our rules for participation specifically stated that all firmware must be available for public download, and the version Intel delivered on its sample was not. This rule was intended to prevent cheating, as some of its manufacturing partners have accused each other of optimizing firmware for specific review configurations.
|3DMark 11||Version 126.96.36.199, Benchmark Test Only, Virtu MVP Enabled Entry, Performance, and Extreme Presets|
|PCMark 7||Version 1.0.4, PCMark, Productivity, Storage Suites Intel SATA Driver, Intel RST Monitor Installed|
|SiSoftware Sandra||Version 2011.10.17.80 CPU Arithmetic, Multi-Media, Memory Bandwidth benchmarks|
When testing products of different technology, a real-world benchmark set helps us determine real-world performance differences. Yet, today’s boards use the same technology, and synthetics are more useful for finding the cause of performance deficits. Performance parity between all properly-design Z77 motherboards has forced us to look for problems rather than solutions.
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LAN performance .. ISC performance ... USB 3 .. well that's it then.Reply
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.Reply
The things that actually get screwed-up are typically related to the clock generator, multiplier control, memory timings and power options.
I would place the ASRock and Gigabyte on the top as well : )Reply
I always appreciate your Articles! :) I know how much work you do to get them done.Reply
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.
It would be nice to see the CPU voltage for every board when overclocking.Reply
jimishtarIt would be nice to see the CPU voltage for every board when overclocking.1.25VReply
No peripherals performance tests? Those are the only tests that differentiate those motherboards from each other.Reply
Would really like to see how the UD3X Atheros Ethernet controller fares against the Intel and broadcom ones.
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
I'll let the integrated controller guy know you'd like to see those parts compared
I would have liked to see the Asus P8Z77V-LK version instead of the LX since it is better equipped.Reply