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Seven Sub-$160 Z77 Express Motherboards, Reviewed

Overclocking

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
ASRock Z77 Extreme4Asus P8Z77-V LXBiostar TZ77XE3
CPU Base Clock95-150 MHz (1 MHz)80-300 MHz (0.1 MHz)95-300 MHz (0.01 MHz)
CPU MultiplierUp to 63xUp to 63xUp to 63x
DRAM Data Rates1066-2800  (200, 266.6 MHz)800-3200  (200, 266.6 MHz)1066-2800  (200, 266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.60-1.70 V (5 mV)0.80-1.99 V (5 mV)1.00-1.79 V (10 mV)
VTT Voltage0.77-1.63 V (10 mV)1.05-1.70 V (12.5 mV)
VCCSA Voltage0.93, 1.02, 1.11, 1.20 V0.74-1.69 V (5 mV)0.90-1.70 V (12.5 mV)
PCH Voltage0.78-1.65 V (9.3 mV)0.74-1.69 V (5 mV)1.05 V +0 to +15% (5%)
DRAM Voltage1.17-1.80 V (5 mV)1.19-2.14 V (5 mV)1.30-2.11 V (12 mV)
CAS Latency4-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRCD3-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRP3-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRAS9-63 Cycles1-255 Cycles9-63 Cycles
BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
ECS Z77H2-A2X DeluxeGigabyte Z77X-D3HIntel DZ77SL-50KMSI Z77A-G45
CPU Base Clock99-150 MHz (1 MHz)80-133.33 MHz (0.01 MHz)100-300 MHz (1 MHz)0-655 MHz (0.1 MHz)
CPU MultiplierUp to 59xUp to 63xUp to 255xUp to 63x
DRAM Data Rates1066-2800 (200, 266.6 MHz)800-3200 (200, 266.6 MHz)1066-2400 (266.6 MHz)800-2933 (200, 266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore1.00-1.50 V (25 mV)0.80-1.90 V (5 mV)1.00-1.92 V (5 mV)0.81-1.52 V (5 mV)
VTT Voltage+0 to +0.63 V (10 mV)0.80-1.70 V (5 mV)1.00-1.80 V (5 mV)0.95-1.55 V (10 mV)
VCCSA Voltage+0 to +0.63 V (10 mV)0.72-1.40 V (5 mV)0.85-1.75 V (5 mV)0.87-1.51 V (10 mV)
PCH Voltage+0 to +0.63 V (10 mV)Not Adjustable1.00-1.50 V (12.5 mV)0.78-1.73 V (5.5 mV)
DRAM Voltage+0 to +0.63 V (10 mV)1.10-2.10 V (5 mV)1.20-1.80 V (50 mV)1.11-2.47 V (7.25 mV)
CAS Latency4-15 Cycles5-15 Cycles2-255 Cycles5-15 Cycles
tRCD3-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles2-255 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRP3-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles2-255 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRAS9-63 Cycles5-63 Cycles5-65535 Cycles10-40 Cycles

In spite of cooling differences, Asus’ hot-running P8Z77-V LX tops our CPU overclocking chart, while MSI’s cold-blooded Z77-G45 falls to the bottom.

Gigabyte’s Z77X-D3H takes the lead in base clock, accomplishing the highest reference frequency this processor has ever seen! This astonishing feat should be most significant to builders who can’t afford one of Intel’s unlocked K-series processors.

Intel uses 21.33x as its highest memory multiplier, and doing so leaves the DZ77SL-50K stuck with sub-2200 MT/s data rates. ASRock and Asus are on par, with MSI only slightly behind.

  • 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