A Z77 motherboard feature filled to the brim.
The Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 is a powerhouse, quite literally, with its 32 + 2 + 2 power phase design which allows you to give more than enough juice to your Ivy Bridge processor when needed with overclocking. This is where Gigabyte’s Digital Engine takes full advantage of system resources to deliver power efficiently when required, leading to a perfectly stable overclock on our test i7-3770K. Obviously all of this power is also helped brought in from the two 8-pin power connectors on the top.
Moving down the 4x PCIe Gen 3.0 8x slots (in orange) work as expected for a 4-way SLI setup, although if you’re planning to use just one graphics card, then use the black slot for a direct connection to the CPU which bypasses the PLX chipset used to power the extra PCIe slots. Just to the right you’ll see the large heatsink covering the Z77 chipset with its thin aluminum fin design found on high-end CPU heatsinks.
There are 6x SATA III (6Gbps) ports, four of which have support for RAID 0 and 1 connection. Then there are 4x more SATA II (3Gbps) ports giving you a total of 10 connections to drives out of the box. There’s also an mSATA port just behind these where you can plug in an mSATA SSD, to be used as a cache drive for the primary hard drive. When the mSATA port is in use, one of the SATA II ports will be disabled, however.
Coming to the top we see the OC-Touch control panel with the plus and minus buttons allowing to change both the CPU Ratio and BCLK in steppings of 1MHz or 0.1MHz after using the Gear button. It’s strange that the Debug LED isn’t up here as well, but it doesn’t matter as the steppings can be changed in real-time both running Windows or in BIOS. Great for LN2 cooling to get live results, but for a permanent overclock it’s not such a big deal.
Coming to the rear panel we have 4x USB 3.0 ports, each coming with its own fuse as well as providing extra juice to your devices when charging them. There’s a DVI, VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort as well as a 6-audio ports powered by a Realtek ALC898 chip. There are also two Gigabit LAN ports, one on the Z77 chipset while the other is powered by Atheros.
For testing the Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 the below setup was used.
Overclocking the Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 was pretty easy within the UEFI BIOS, setting the CPU ratio to 46x and CPU core voltage to 1.45v giving an effective and stable overclock of 4.6GHz on our Core i7-3770K.