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Six $220-280 Z77 Express-Based Motherboards, Reviewed

Power And Heat

MSI registers the lowest power consumption, which typically indicates that all of Intel’s power-savings features are enabled, that few third-party controllers are active during the test, and that power control circuitry is fully optimized.

Gigabyte, Intel, and Asus are close enough to MSI that all three appear optimized, while ECS' Z77H2-AX looks like it could use a little more development. ECS also has the oldest firmware, and that could help explain its higher power consumption.

Asus and ASRock enjoy the benefit of fans, yet they also have the highest voltage regulator temperatures. Intel, MSI, and Gigabyte all look cool using nothing more than waste air from the CPU cooler to carry away the heat.

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