Motherboard Guide

Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 review

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7 Motherboard - The King of the Hill?

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Launch SRP S$600

Overall rating 8/10
Performance:
8
Features:
9
Value:
6.5
THE GOOD
Rich feature set
Highly overclockable
Support for 4-way GPU setup
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
THE BAD
Very expensive
No support for Thunderbolt
Disparate mix of supporting software utility
More Awards:
Most Overclockable Product


BIOS Utility & Test Setup

BIOS Utility

The UEFI BIOS Utility of the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7 (and that of other new high-end Gigabyte boards) comes in two forms; the 3D mode and the traditional UEFI format. The Gigabyte 3D BIOS allows novice or casual users to visualize the components of the motherboard that are being affected through the BIOS settings. It is a fancy way to present certain aspects of the board to the novice user. Power users need not apply here!

To bypass the 3D BIOS utility, we had to click on the "Advanced" icon to access the familiar UEFI BIOS utility. The main top navigation tabs allowed us to have a quick overview of the settings of the board's BIOS. We appreciate the large navigation tabs; while on the right, descriptions of the functions of each menu item and short-cut keys are available.

 

BIOS Settings

For our overclocking exercise, we accessed the Advanced Frequency Settings and the Advanced Voltage Settings pages. We'll start with the former:-

The Advanced CPU Core Features sub-menu (pictured below) allowed us to set the Turbo Ratios for different number of active CPU core. For our overclocking exercise, we decided to maintain the same values across, regardless of the number of active cores. We also had to tweak the Turbo Power Limit (Watts) in order to achieve a stable OC system.

The Advanced Voltage Settings sub-menu allowed us to tweak the voltage settings for the following at its CPU Core Voltage Control section:-

  • CPU Vcore
  • CPU Vtt
  • CPU PLL
  • IMC

 

Voltage Controls Across Different Boards

While most enthusiast class boards these days have way too many overclocking related settings, we've decided to compile the available voltage settings of the various Z77 boards we've tested. As you'll see later in our overclocking efforts, we decided to manually adjust the voltage of the CPU PLL to determine how high we can push the CPU Base Frequency. In the case of this particular board, base frequency values can be adjusted by 10KHz for finer tweaking.

Basic Voltage Settings in BIOS
Model CPU Voltage DRAM Voltage Other Voltage Settings
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7 0.800 to 1.850V
(Offset Mode)
(0.005V steps)
1.100 to 2.100V
(0.005V steps)
  • CPU PLL Voltage: 1.400 to 2.430V (0.05 steps)
  • Vtt Voltage: 0.77 to 1.63V (0.01V steps)
  • IMC Voltage: 0.715 - 1.400V (0.005V steps)
ASRock Z77 OC Formula -0.3000 to 0.600V
(Offset Mode)
(0.005V steps)
1.165 to 2.100V
(0.005V steps)
  • CPU PLL Voltage: 1.500V - 2.900V (Voltage steps vary from +0.013V, +0.018V, and +0.012V)
MSI Z77 MPower   0.80 to 2.155V
(0.005V steps)
 1.1080 to 2.4655V
(0.0075V steps)
  • CPU IO Voltage: 0.95 to 1.55V (0.02V steps)
  • CPU PLL Voltage: 1.400 to 2.430 (0.05 steps)
ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe
0.80 to 1.99V
(0.005V steps)
1.20 to 1.92V
(0.02V steps)
  • VCCIO Voltage: 0.80 to 1.70V (0.00625V steps)
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H WiFi
0.80 to 1.90V
(0.005V steps)
1.17 to 1.80V
(0.005V steps)
  • CPU Vtt Voltage: 0.800 to 1.900V (0.005V steps)

 

Test Setup

This is the test configuration of the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7 motherboard:-

  • Intel Core i7-3770K
  • 2 x 2GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1600 (CAS 9-9-9-27)
  • MSI N460GTX Hawk (ForceWare 285.62)
  • Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps hard drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
  • Intel INF 9.3.0.1020

 

Benchmarks

The following benchmarks were used to test the board:

  • BAPCo SYSmark 2007 Preview (ver 1.06)
  • SPECviewperf 9.0
  • Futuremark PCMark Vantage (ver 1.03.1, 64-bit)
  • Futuremark PCMark 7
  • Futuremark 3DMark Vantage (ver 1.03.1)
  • Futuremark 3DMark11 (ver 1.03)
  • Far Cry 2