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Four Z77-Based Mini-ITX Motherboards, Reviewed

Z77 Stinger Firmware

The Z77 Stinger’s overclocking menu looks very basic compared to previous EVGA products, but we still found every setting we needed to push our CPU to its limit. Unfortunately, its limit on this particular samples was a modest 4.3 GHz.

Arguably, one of the reasons for that low overclock was our conservative 1.25 V core voltage setting. And yet, competing products were able to get an extra 200 MHz at the same voltage. We tried for a little more frequency through BCLK manipulation, but didn't have much luck.

Base clock frequencies reach as high as 300 MHz in EVGA's firmware, but we were barely able to push an additional 1 MHz. That adjustment also required us to select the "Apply Settings" function beneath it.

Limited to a maximum DDR3-2133 setting, the Z77 Stinger wasn't able to detect the XMP settings of our DDR3-2666 memory. We were, however, able to run at the board’s maximum DDR3-2133 setting without needing to manually adjust to the memory's rated timings.

All of the Z77 Stinger’s overclocking limitations appear to be the result of a BIOS that isn't quite "there" yet. You can bet we'll keep this board readily accessible in the lab should something big happen on the firmware front.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.