Motherboard Guide

Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 review

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

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Launch SRP S$600
Latest Price From S$599 (Check Latest Prices)

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


Raw Overclocking

Overclocking

In line with our past overclocking exercises, the GA-Z77X-UP7 was pushed to its limits on three fronts. First, we tried to achieve the highest CPU base frequency by pushing it beyond the default value of 100MHz. At the same time, we kept the DRAM timings at the default values defined by the Intel XMP specifications that was compatible with our Kingston HyperX memory modules. We also set the DRAM voltages to around 1.65V to ensure system stability at the higher CPU base frequency.

 

Highest CPU Base Frequency

In this section, we managed to get a stable overclock by adjusting the voltage of the CPU Vtt to a value of 1.295V and the DRAM Voltage to a high of 1.65V. With that, we managed to push the board's CPU Base Frequency to a high of 110MHz!

Model Maximum CPU Base Frequency Achieved
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7 110.00MHZ
ASRock Z77 OC Formula 107.00MHz
MSI Z77 MPower 108.20MHz
ASRock Z77 Extreme6

100.00MHz

ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe 108.00MHz
Biostar TZ77XE4 104.00MHz
ECS Z77H2-AX
104.00MHz
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi
109.00MHz
MSI Z77A-GD65 107.86MHz

 

Highest CPU Core Ratio

In the second scenario, we kept the host CPU base frequency at 100HMz while we attempted to achieve the highest CPU core ratio. For this section of the exercise, we kept the CPU Vtt at "Auto" while raising CPU Vcore to 1.450V and the CPU PLL to 1.890V. We changed the DRAM Voltage back to its "Auto" settings as well. We managed to reach a stable OC state with the GA-Z77X-UP7 achieving a maximum CPU Core Ratio of 48, with its CPU operating at a Turbo-boosted high of 4.8GHz!

Model Maximum CPU Core Ratio Achieved
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7 48
 ASRock Z77 OC Formula 45
MSI Z77 MPower 44
ASRock Z77 Extreme6

43

ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe 45
Biostar TZ77XE4 45
ECS Z77H2-AX
45
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi
44
MSI Z77A-GD65 45

 

Highest Overall Overclock

In the final overclocking scenario, we attempted to achieve maximum overclock on both the CPU base frequency and the CPU core ratio. As mentioned earlier, we increased the CPU core voltage to a high of 1.450V, instead of usual average value of 1.25V. This is because unlike other boards we've tested to-date that didn't return any positive gains, the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7 managed to push ahead and deliver better overclockability. However, we strongly advise against doing this in the long run as it may risk damaging the CPU from excessive operating temperatures - without the right cooling equipment and know-how of a more skillful overclocker.

With our disclaimers stated, we managed to overclock our Intel Core i7-3770K to 4.7GHz; with the board's CPU Core Ratio set at 45 and its CPU Base Frequency at 104.48MHz. In order to achieve a stable clock at this juncture, we had to tweak the voltages of its CPU PLL and IMC, as well as to set the board's Turbo Power Limit to a high of 500W.

Overclocking Results
Model CPU Core Ratio CPU Base Frequency (MHz) Maximum Overclock Achieved
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7 45 104.48 4.70GHz
ASRock Z77 OC Formula 45 101.00 4.54GHz
MSI Z77 MPower 43 101.00 4.34GHz
ASRock Z77 Extreme6
43 100.00

4.30GHz

ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe 44 103.80 4.56GHz
Biostar TZ77XE4 43 103.85 4.47GHz
ECS Z77H2-AX
45 103.50 4.65GHz
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi
45 103.00 4.63GHz
MSI Z77A-GD65 41 100.98 4.14GHz

Our overclocking experience with the board was actually rather pleasant, which is not something we can say for every other board. Its well-documented manual is a boon to those who need further assistance and while its UEFI BIOS utility was a little hard to navigate, it did offer a myriad of finer points in voltage and power settings. The lesson gleaned from our OC exercise, the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7 is certainly built for overclockers in mind but we would approach it by just adjusting the board's CPU Ratio (the second scenario) as it was offered the least hassle with the maximum performance gain. So while the board wasn't stellar in normal usage benchmark performance, overclocking brought out the best out of the board's potential.