|Intel DZ77GA-70K Benchmark Performance|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 06 May 2012|
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If you've read our review of the Intel Core i7-3770K processor, you've seen this part. If you haven't, the short version is that Ivy Bridge processors do not, at least in their current stepping, overclock as well as Sandy Bridge processors. Despite their vaunted 22nm, "3D" transistors, at 4.8GHz individual core temperatures spiked to over 100 degrees Celsius, leading the CPU throttling under load, even though I was using a Thermalright Silver Arrow cooler, the best air cooler I've ever tested.
So the best overclock I was able to get was 4.7GHz on all cores under load...which is the same overclock I was able to hit on the other two Z77 Express motherboard in this test. While I didn't have to increase the voltage to reach this level, individual core temperatures were still in excess of 90 degrees under load, so it's not something I'd recommend doing long term. I've tried overclocking this CPU on three Z77 Express motherboards now, with identical results on each one, so I'm pretty sure the CPU is the limiting factor here.
So keep in mind that this probably doesn't represent this board's overclocking limits. That said, its power circuitry is less sophisticated that that of the MSI and ASUS motherboards, so its ultimate limits may be lower.
Z77 Express Motherboard Final Thoughts
The Intel DZ77GA-70K is the first (early production) Intel motherboard I've actually been impressed with. Its performance is easily comparable to that of the top-end third party motherboards, and it brings some real innovation to the party with its USB 3.0 hub design, POST code progress LEDs, and other features like the PLX chip and high-current USB port.
Still, for a high end motherboard, some corners have been cut in the extras: the WiFi module only supports b/g/n, and not "a", and the Bluetooth module is stuck at revision 2.1 of the Bluetooth standard while ASUS has moved on to revision 4.0. There are only four fan headers, and you can't calibrate the fans or slave them to onboard temperature sensors.
The Intel board also doesn't compete well in terms of Windows software. Intel does provide its Extreme Tuning Utility, but it doesn't even provide the overclocking help that the BIOS overclock section does, and there's no automatic tuning feature like ASUS and MSI provide. There's certainly nothing even close to ASUS' Turbo V Evo or MSI's utilities.
Still, this board does have one redeeming feature that the enthusiast community will love: what is perhaps the best UEFI BIOS I've ever seen. Really, it's a revelation, and makes up to some extent for Intel's other shortcomings. I'll cover the BIOS of this board in detail in the forthcoming Features review of this motherboard.