Tons o USB support, plus FireWire and eSATA.
Empty mSATA makes us sad.
Of all the boards here, we’re most intimately familiar with Gigabyte’s GA-Z77X-UD5H . It’s the board we used for the bulk of our Core i7-3770K testing, and one thing we can say, it’s stable. We’ve literally run more than 50 hours of benchmarks on this board without any issue.
For a sub-$200 board, there are plenty of features, with the most eye-catching being a ton of USB support, including four USB 3.0 ports plus three USB 3.0 headers. This is done using VIA’s USB 3.0 controllers plus the new native support from the Intel Z77 chipset. Unfortunately, features didn’t trump performance. The Gigabyte was smoked by Asus’s super-secret Turbo modes in the benchmarks.
We hit our highest auto-overclock with the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H.
The Gigabyte gets payback by surpassing the two others here in auto-overclocking, hitting 4.5GHz and even offering an unstable 4.68GHz setting. The others topped out on auto at 4.2GHz. The mSATA slot may be the board’s most noticeable feature, though, but we’re not sure it makes sense on a full-size board. Perhaps if it came with the SSD module; but we don’t see any actual advantage to it, particularly since using it disables one SATA port.
Overall, the GA-Z77X-UD5H is a feature-rich mobo for its midrange price. The slot configuration is also a better balance with just one PCI slot instead of two. You get far more I/O and higher auto-overclocks than with the other two boards. Hell, it even comes with probe ports for those of you into the overclocking sports.
|Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H||Asus P8Z77-V||MSI Z77A-GD65|
|PCMark 7 Overall||3,549||3,739||3,603|
|PCMark 7 Lightweight||2,526||2,755||2,584|
|PCMark 7 Productivity||2,387||2,610||2,380|
|Valve Particle (fps)||203||208||190|
|SiSoft Sandra 2012 (GB/s)||21||21.3||20.72|
|SATA 6Gb/s read (MB/s)||497.9||509.9||484.0|
|SATA 6Gb/s write (MB/s)||230.4||247.1||234.0|
|Native USB 3.0 read (MB/s) ||250.2||429.9||250.9|
|Native USB 3.0 write (MB/s)||177.5||181.3||177.3|
|Discrete USB 3.0 read (MB/s)||243.2||324.5||N/A|
|Discrete USB 3.0 write (MB/s)||178.1||181.8||N/A|
Best scores are bolded. We used a Core i7-3770K, 8GB of DDR3/1866 set at DDR3/1600, a WD Raptor 150, a GeForce GTX 580, and 64-bit Windows 7 Professional in all of our motherboards. SATA 6Gb/s speeds were measured with CrystalDiskMark 3.01 and an OWC Mercury Extreme SSD. USB 3.0 speeds were measured with CrystalDiskMark and a Patriot Wildfire SSD in a USB 3.0 enclosure using an Asmedia controller. 32GB compliance was measured with four 8GB DDR3 modules.