|Intel DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Overview|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Thursday, 03 May 2012|
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Intel doesn't populate its boards with custom ASICs and processors as does ASUS, but they do use a number of third party chips to enhance functionality. The most interesting is the Genesys GL3520M USB 3.0 hub, which allows the DZ77GA-70K to have eight USB 3.0 connectors (four internal, four external) from the four native USB 3.0 ports provided by the Z77 Express chipset. They use their own 82579 and 82574 Ethernet controllers to provide the two Gigabit ethernet ports, and an ITE 8892E PCI-E to PCI bridge to support the two old-school PCI slots. A Marvell 88SE9172 powers two additional SATA 6G ports, Texas Instruments provides the FireWire 400 capability, and good 'ol Winbond supplies a sensor/fan controller chip.
The DZ77GA-70K has eight SATA ports (nine if you count the ESATA port on the back panel). The two gray ports are SATA 6G ports supported by the Marvell 88SE9172 chip; the four black ports are SATA 3G provided by the Z77 chipset, and the two bright blue ports are the native SATA 6G from the Z77 Express.
Intel provides WiFi b/g/n (but not a) via this PCI-E 1x module. This board makes the first PCI-E slot on the board, a 1x, actually useful.
This strange plastic box is the Bluetooth 2.1 module. As you can see from the connector it's designed to plug into a motherboard USB 2.0 header, and Intel provides a cable for this. Fortunately there are three USB 2.0 headers on the board so two remain available. The rear of the module has a strip of sticky tape on it. Although it's not obvious where the module's supposed to go, I suppose you run the cable outside your case and tape this module to the back of the case or something. It's a somewhat clunky solution when competitors are providing better integrated hardware with Bluetooth 4.0 and HS support.
The DZ77GA-70K motherboard has a full complement of seven slots. The two PCI-E x16 slots are spaced so that two double-wide graphics cards will get plenty of ventilation. Oddly, Intel includes two PCI slots, an anachronism on a modern motherboard.
But enough with the hardware. This star of this board is its BIOS, which I'll get to in the next section.