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Intel’s Z77 Express And Lucidlogix MVP: New Features For Gamers

Z77 Express: USB 3.0 And Enhanced Manageability

Comprising its Ivy Bridge-based processors and Panther Point (Z77 Express) chipset components, Intel’s Maho Bay platform is one of the firm's worst-kept secrets. So much has been leaked ahead of today’s launch that the best any publisher can do is to validate known or suspected information.

Of course, we've been privy to the same information scattered about the Web for months now, including internal documents that say Intel’s Z77 Express is basically an updated and die-shrunken Z68 Express. Among the updates applied, an integrated USB 3.0 controller has perhaps the biggest impact on manufacturing costs and motherboard design. Four internally-accessible USB 3.0 ports can easily replace two of the third-party controllers found on most Z68 products.

Between the die shrink and integration of USB 3.0, we're even hoping for a modest drop in power consumption, most easily quantifiable in businesses with large groups of PCs to manage. And speaking of management, upgrades from Intel’s Management Engine 7.0 and Rapid Storage Technology 10.5 to versions 8.0 and 11.0, respectively, add features for remote system and data management.

Getting past the parts that make performance enthusiasts yawn, one big advantage for many Z77 motherboards comes not from Intel but Lucidlogix. Packed exclusively with new boards, the firm’s Virtu MVP software promises improved gaming performance for any graphics card. That probably sounds a little far-fetched to most enthusiasts, so we’re taking the extra time to examine it.

  • Yuka
    Wasn't the MVP software to account for the "dips" in performance for discrete video cards?

    Could you guys provide a video showing the differences between a run with the MVP and without? With V-Sync on also.

    Nice review, BTW. Thanks for it 8)

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • aicom
    You bolded PCIE 2.0 for Panther Point but forgot to change it to PCIE 3.0
    Reply
  • confish21
    Tom, should we expect much of an advantage when ivy bridge is used?

    IB and z77 VS. IB and z68?
    Reply
  • s3anister
    On page three you label the MSI Z68A-GD80 motherboard as Intel Z77 Express when it should obviously be Z68.

    Made me do a double take!
    Reply
  • s3anister
    confish21Tom, should we expect much of an advantage when ivy bridge is used?IB and z77 VS. IB and z68?
    Don't expect them to tell you, they're still under Intel's NDA.
    Reply
  • nebun
    is this a joke? we need to have at lease 2 pcie lanes at 16x speed for serious gaming...2 lanes at 8x will be bringing down your true capability of the graphic cards...thanks but not thanks...i will stick with my x58 chip for now
    Reply
  • jaquith
    aicomYou bolded PCIE 2.0 for Panther Point but forgot to change it to PCIE 3.0No, the Z77 and all Panther Point chipest are indeed 8x lanes of PCIe 2.0, so Thomas's article is correct. Don't confuse GPU PCIe lanes with Chipset PCIe lanes. However, Thomas knows that I too 'wish' the LGA 1155 was PCIe 3.0 clean, it sure would help with other chipset 'sharing' issues (bottlenecks).
    Reply
  • josejones
    Where's the performance increase with the z77 over the z68? The new features are a plus but, previews I've seen so far suggest that the z77's are slower than the z68.

    What's up with that? Do the z77's require the Ivy Bridge CPU to take full advantage? Sounds like possible driver and/or most likely BIOS issues as others have pointed out elsewhere on page 2 of the z77 Motherboard Discussion thread.
    Reply
  • tmk221
    This Lucidlogix Virtu software looks very promising. Certainly it needs a lot of improvment but I think that they will do good job having intel as a partner
    Reply
  • thehidecheck
    nebunis this a joke? we need to have at lease 2 pcie lanes at 16x speed for serious gaming...2 lanes at 8x will be bringing down your true capability of the graphic cards...thanks but not thanks...i will stick with my x58 chip for nowpoppycock, even high end cards can't even come close to saturateing a 8x slot
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFMzRZqFh-w get learned yo
    Reply