Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH Review

By on August 22, 2012
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Feature rich, with dual Thunderbolts.

Good: Contains all the features of regular Z77 motherboards i addition to dual Thunderbolt ports that allow for 12 devices to be daisy-chained, and an additional 3 monitors. Performance and overclocking on par with other mid to high-end boards.
Bad: Barely any bundled accessories.
Price: AED 800
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Taking a look at the ATX sized board, the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH measures a modest 305 x 244mm, and can snugly fit into any mid-sized or larger chassis.

The CPU area is surrounded by 6 + 4 phase design covered by two modest heatsinks that will easily move around in their sockets with a little nudge. The area around the CPU is pretty much empty, allowing you to install a large sized cooler on your Ivy Bridge processor. Note also the mSATA port which can take an SSD and you can use that in tandem with Intel Smart Response for a faster system. Of course, using the mSATA port will render the SATA 2 (3Gbps) port 5 useless.

Moving down we see the 3x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, running at x8/x4/x4 speeds when all three slots are utilized.  A closer look to the bottom left shows the Realtek ALC892 chipset; not the best version out there, but certainly good enough for basic audio needs.

Looking at the rear I/O panel we see that there’s no USB 2.0 port, instead all six ports are USB 3.0. In addition tot he P/S2 port, we see a VGA, DVI and HDMI port. Of course, the dual Thunderbolt ports can also be used to connect Thunderbolt or mini-Display monitors too.

Thanks to the dual Thunderbolt ports, you have the option to connect up to 12 Thunderbolt devices, daisy-chained together. A total of 3 monitors can also be connected at any one time. Connecting the Buffalo 500GB MiniStation gave read/ write speeds of 104/103 Mbps and WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo gave speeds of 120/119 Mbps respectvely. Exactly the results I achieved when running tests on our Thunderbolt equipped MacBook Pro Retina.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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