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Seven Sub-$160 Z77 Express Motherboards, Reviewed

Power, Heat, And Efficiency

ECS might claim that its $160 board has the most features, but that still doesn’t excuse a full-load power increase so large. We’d expect no more than a few watts of difference, similar to what we see between Asus and Intel at the miserly end of the scale.

Those huge heat sinks that MSI uses to make its Z77A-G45 looks like a top overclocker do have real functionality, dropping its voltage regulator temperature by around 10° compared to Asus' uncovered P8Z77-V LX.

Gigabyte, Asus, and Biostar top our average performance chart, which should help to boost each vendor's efficiency scores.

High performance and low power consumption put Asus' reduced-feature P8Z77-V LX at the top of our efficiency charts. Biostar’s similarly-barren board takes second place.