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  • faizoff - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    Are Q connectors proprietary of ASUS? I seem to find those only their motherboards. Love them to death.

    Great review. I enjoy these tremendously. Almost makes me go out and upgrade my i5 2500k.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    My MSI P67A-GD55 has the same thing, unfortunately the connector block is too tall and bumps into my second 6950 so I couldn't use it. Reply
  • eBob - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    I, too, am a fan of the Q Connector mostly for the front panel connections (power, reset, HDD light). The USB and audio connectors seem to be pretty well standardized at this point, rendering those Q Connectors redundant IMO. This would seem to be a very simple and inexpensive feature for a mobo manufacturer to have (at least for the front panel connector). Reply
  • bji - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    Thank you for including this important benchmark. I hope that every motherboard review going forward will include this.

    The ASRock has the best time but 8 seconds is still too long. I wonder why BIOS developers can't get their act together and initialize hardware in parallel. That would surely speed POST times up tremendously.
    Reply
  • adrianlegg - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    I've been struggling about that issue myself. I mean - it probably was in times of BIOS, but now, with all fancy UEFI is it really that hard? (considering more resources spent on bios/uefi in mobo)

    Altough I'm not big fan of 200$+ motherboards, I would seriously consider buying one if it POST in 2s.
    Even though there are probably POST requirements such as cpu cant be tested before ram or opposite it would be awesome to have really low boot times.
    Sad when even having SSD cant give You instant full boot (not hibernations/sleeps).

    It's one of those small features that are soo awesome (like reset/power buttons, and perhaps, in future : complete per component (ram/disk/SB/NB/coolers) power usage).

    Nevertheless 8seconds is damn nice.
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    Does anyone know how enabling AHCI in the UEFI affect post time these days? I'd like to remove the other 7-10 seconds this adds to it. Reply
  • pixelstuff - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    How do those Chromebooks shave time off of the POST? Seems like similar techniques could be implemented unless there is a good reason not to. Reply
  • rahvin - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Chromebooks use OpenBIOS IIRC. OpenBIOS is Linux Kernel based and boots very fast because it initializes things quicker and it's custom built to the hardware on the board. Personally I wish all the Boards would start using it and toss these BIOS down the hole of history. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    They've got a very stripped down set of hardware to initialize. The more stuff you have on board, the longer it takes. EFI was supposed to fix this by allowing multi-threaded boot (BIOS was strictly a single threaded design); but either firmware makers aren't generally taking advantage of it yet, or dependencies in the startup process are limiting the gains. Reply
  • Jase89 - Sunday, May 19, 2013 - link

    Don't forget the graphics card (if using discrete) will need to support UEFI (GOP) Booting too! Reply
  • Jase89 - Sunday, May 19, 2013 - link

    Having RAID Option ROM Supported in UEFI as well (people using RAID) is a very good thing ASRock have done with their Z77 series, wonder when Gigabyte will add this feature, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1TbdVtAE9c Reply
  • gramboh - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Just wanted to add that my new P8Z77-V Pro POSTS significantly faster than what Ian experienced in this review, probably due to my configuration:

    Intel SATA: AHCI
    ASmedia USB3: on
    ASmedia SATA controller: off
    Wifi: off
    Onboard sound: off

    My total time from splash screen to Windows 7 Pro x64 login is 15 seconds on a Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB. The post is about 6 seconds (hand timing these). It's unfortunately the other controllers add ~14 seconds of POST time.
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Hi Gramboh,

    Disabling ASMedia SATA, Wifi and Sound would obviously decrease POST time by quite a bit! As I doubt the majority of non-enthusiast buyers would go into the BIOS and disable what they don't need, I kept the start up sequence the same as default to reflect this.

    Ian
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    A large number of your readers are enthusiasts. Giving both sets of numbers would be beneficial for us. A per onboard device breakdown of boot time would be nice; but probably too much work to be justified. Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    I've added 'POST Quick' to my internal database of testing, with the aim to turn off all I can to observe POST times. Will be applied from the next review onwards, perhaps retroactively if I get time.

    Ian
    Reply
  • AlexIsAlex - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    Awesome, thank you so much!

    Perhaps the manufacturers will pay attention to this too :-)
    Reply
  • Paapaa125 - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    I think most Anandtech readers DO go to BIOS to set things up. I think it is crucial to know if the differences in performance (boot time, benchmarks, power consumption etc) can be minimized just by changing BIOS settings. That would make it a lot easier to buy a new board.

    I have seen reports that some boards don't follow the Intel specs regarding Turbo Boost settings and utilize higher frequency with all cores utilized. This skews the performance results greatly. Those following the specs get worse results - yet they could be configured for exact same performance.
    Reply
  • dananski - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Makes me really glad to have ordered the ASRock, though I wonder how it would be affected by having RAID enabled? My GA-P35C-DS3R takes about a minute to get through POST and RAID screens.

    I am also confused why even the quick one is taking so long. My laptops take less than 5 secs to POST :/
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    ATX just seems like it's for bragging rights, and not even directly so, simply because you'll be able to say you have so many things connected, maybe you even have tri or quad SLI, all in a huge case. Can we get some coverage of mATX boards?

    On another note, something that drives me nuts is the AHCI driver loading at POST. Last time I checked I couldn't find a straight answer, does this loading stage still happen in ivy bridge? Of course you don't have to use AHCI, but it really should be standard and enabled by default. At least for anyone spending this much on a motherboard.
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    "Conclusion – Gigabyte MSI Z77A-GD65"

    One more rant lol. Is having all 4 video outputs really a feature? Is this not targeted at people who will be using their own graphics card? In which case they only serve to use up space that could be used towards USB ports or something else that's almost as useful. Remember before P55, 10 usb ports were starting to be the average on a feature filled board, now we have to settle for 6-8. Unless you want to spend top dollar for more.
    Reply
  • vegemeister - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Yes, it is a very important feature. The Ivy Bridge IGP can drive 3 monitors. 4 display outputs means 3 of them are digital.

    Discrete GPUs increase idle power consumption, an as of this post none of them have particularly good open source drivers. Some of us just want lots of screens, good compiz performance, and silence.
    Reply
  • philipma1957 - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    I have been building a series of matx htpc/gamer machines.

    I have one with the basic

    Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H mATX board

    and one with the

    Gigabyte Ga-h77m-d3h mATX board.

    I want to decide between

    the ASUS P8Z77- m pro mobo or

    the ASUS p8z77-m board and

    last but not least the

    Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort Dual UEFI BIOS mATX Motherboard G1.SNIPER M3 .

    I am liking the two builds I did with the lowend gigabyte boards and some intel i5 t2500t cpus I want a better board but I don't have many reviews to go by.
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Are most DIY'ers really opting for ATX? Should they? I'd bet most people only plug in a video card and maybe one other card such as wireless or even a tuner. Every other possible need they may have would not only be met by mATX but even ITX is pretty full featured these days.

    You'd think mATX would be what most boards are targeted at, and leaving ATX for extreme builds/bragging rights. It's just like those high end video cards, most people don't buy those, rightfully and importantly so. Those should be the premium prices, and mATX should have a lower price. The focus just feels off.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Monday, May 14, 2012 - link

    You mentioned people want mATX board. There by itself probably means that it can command higher prices, due to higher price tolerance of the purchasers. Reply
  • Caeric - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    Enjoyed the review. I still have an old AMD dual core, and I'm considering a new system in the next couple of months so these help a great deal.

    I did find one error in the article, under the ASUS board:

    "The ASUS P8Z77-V Pro retails at $225-$235, essentially $100 less than the ASRock Z77 Extreme4..."

    It should say "...essentially $100 more than the ASRock..."
    Reply
  • Movieman420 - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    Curious as to this controllers' performance vs the ever present Marvell controllers. Does it use a pci-e lane or usb3 for it's bandwidth? Reply
  • FozzyofAus - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    Great review.

    I'm leaning towards mATX as well for this build as I've never used more than four expansion slots and currently I'm only using 3 (one is USB3 which won't be needed in the new board).

    I'd like to have a bit more room in my current case and the option to reuse this motherboard in a smaller case in future if I upgrade my main rig to Haswell next year.

    Any chance of adding Asrock Extreme4-m to the next motherboard roundup?
    Reply
  • spronkey - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    Sorry guys but this review was a bit average. Comment on the various different controllers used by the motherboard manufacturers but don't offer any kind of review on them?

    The good additions: DPC latency and boot time.

    The missing? Well everything else.

    I was especially hoping for a comment on the VIA audio on the UD3H - it's been a while since I've seen VIA codecs on mainstream boards.

    I'm also amazed that you didn't slam the ASUS board for it's price and lack of features. Realtek 892? On a board that's nearing twice the cost of the ASRock? Seriously?

    No comment on the durability of the boards either? Hrm. No separation in testing of the different controllers on each board?

    A bit lacking, sorry.
    Reply
  • ggathagan - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Perhaps you're commenting on the wrong review.
    As Ian stated multiple times throughout the review, Asus is using Intel NIC's on their boards, in this case, the Intel 82579V.

    Durability is a function of time. Please point out the other motherboard reviews that covered durability.
    Reply
  • spronkey - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    He stated ASUS were using Intel, sure. But didn't get into any details other than stating they exist about the fact that there are multiple USB3 controllers and SATA controllers on each board. No benchmarks comparing them etc.

    In fact does it even mention which controllers were tested?

    And Durability is a function of construction quality and time. It would be nice to see comments on points such as board weight and flex, quality of soldering, quality of components used on the board (according to an electrical minded person on OCN, Gigabyte uses significantly higher rated MOSFETs than other manufacturers), temperatures of chipsets and VRM circuitry. These are things I can't easily find out by reading manuals.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Monday, May 14, 2012 - link

    Construction quality analysis would be a good addition, imo. Perhaps the mobo roundups can be done by a team instead of just 1 person. ;) Reply
  • 457R4LDR34DKN07 - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    I am always impressed by the depth of reviews by AT. I can't wait for the mITX roundup!
    P.S. any comment on availability of i7 3770t?
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    http://www.geeks3d.com/20120506/intel-hd-graphics-...

    It turns out Intel's new Windows 8 beta driver (v2729) works for Windows 7 and enables OpenGL 4.0 and OpenCL 1.1 support for Ivy Bridge. Can you try your OpenCL Compute benchmarks on them? Perhaps a OpenGL Unigine run as well to test OpenGL tessellation?
    Reply
  • althaz - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    So glad to finally get a tech site benchmarking POST times. One point of constructive criticism: I realise this would take more time, but ideally it'd be good to benchmark POST times both at default settings AND with everything possible disabled, so that we can get a true comparison between boards. Even with all features disabled, I've come across older boards where there is still 10+ seconds of difference in POST times.

    All in all, thanks for a great review!
    Reply
  • ZeDestructor - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    "The ASUS P8Z77-V Pro retails at $225-$235, essentially $100 less than the ASRock Z77 Extreme4" Should be "$100 more", not "$100 less" Reply
  • adrien - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    I really wish 10GbE was on mainstream motherboards but I think you've mixed bits and Bytes here. ;-) Reply
  • Casper42 - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    10Gbase-T is a power hog and requires special cabling if memory serves me right.
    DAC by way of SFP+ is too short and too expensive.
    Fiber transceivers cost more than any of these entire motherboards.

    How do you propose they get there?

    There is a Broadcom chip that does 2.5Gbps when connected to a 10Gb switch and 1Gbps on a 1Gb switch. Maybe that's a good compromise
    Reply
  • Metaluna - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    I agree it seems unlikely that 10GbE over copper will ever reach sufficient critical mass to be economical for consumers, especially with wireless standards continually improving. Maybe Thunderbolt is the way forward for small high performance wired SANs in the home? Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    Thunderbolt is not the answer, due to limited range. Reply
  • theSeb - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Yep, since MBps is used correctly for the USB 2 and USB 3 charts I was surprised to see 400 megabytes per second over a gigabit ethernet link. :) Reply
  • SnowKing - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    I think you are confusing bits per second vs. bytes per second. Do not be alarmed, that is the gimmick of Ethernet.

    10 mbps (megabits per second) = 1.25 MBps (megabytes per second)
    100 mbps (megabits per second) = 12.5 MBps (megabytes per second)
    1 gbps (gigabits per second) = 125 MBps (megabytes per second)

    If you want 1 GBps, you will need an 8 gbps connector i.e. (10gbps nic)...and good luck with that.

    Unit Converter
    http://www.numion.com/calculators/units.html
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    theSeb's (and originally adrien's) point here is that the chart for LAN speeds erroneously list MBps instead of Mbps. Reply
  • HollyDOL - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    Transfer speed is always measured in bps (bits per second).
    Latin prefixes for kilo-Mega-Giga etc. signify 10^3,10^6 etc. bits

    Capacity volume is always measured in B (bytes).
    Latin prefixes for kilo-Mega-Giga etc. signify 2^10, 2^20 etc. Bytes (ie. 1kB = 1024 Bytes) according to old school rules.
    According to new customs kilo-Mega-Giga signify 10^3,10^6 etc. Bytes, prefixes kB, MB, GB, while alternate prefixes kiB,MiB,GiB signify 2^10,2^20... Bytes. Data storage capacity uses new style kB,MB,GB,TB for long years since it makes their drives look bigger, while on hardware and OS level you are much more likely to see units based on power of two since it is much more natural for binary computer.

    Basically 10Mbps = 1.25MB/s is completely wrong... 10Mbps = 10,000,000bps = 1,250,000 B/s = 1.192 MB/s

    1TB (new style or storage device manufacturers) = 931,32GiB
    Reply
  • Schafdog - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    What is draw of power from GPUs? Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    The 7970s should Idle at approx 3W or less each. Reply
  • gorg_graggel - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    the current asus lineup seems to have problems with memory configs that consist of 8GB dimms...
    their list of supported memory modules seems to be made for multiple boards...it contains configurations for e.g. 6x4gb for boards that have only 4 slots...so i guess it`s not only a problem with my board...

    i got myself a sabertooth z77 and a pair of corsair 1600mhz 8gb dimms. no matter how conservative i set the timings the board won`t boot at 1600mhz and freeze after some time at 1333mhz (spd or xmp don`t work either). i can only get them stable at 1066mhz. a single dimm runs fine at the specified clocks and timings.

    could you spare some time and test the boards with a 1600mhz config with 2 8gb dimms? or even with 4 of those? no underclocking of higher specced dimms, as there is a 2x8gb@1866mhz config in the list...
    would be interesting to know if all those boards had problems with ivy brigde`s max specified dram clocks...

    i guess it will be fixed in a future bios update, but maybe beeing pointed out by a respected site, they are gonna hurry it up a bit...i mean c`mon 1600mhz rams at 1066mhz? seriously...
    Reply
  • gorg_graggel - Monday, May 14, 2012 - link

    so, i got myself another pair of 8gb dimms...
    g.skill ripjaws 1600mhz, cl10...

    those worked from the get go...also not on ovl list...

    the latest bios (1015) made the corsair dimms work better @1333mhz (no more freezing), but still no 1600 (for which they are specified)...

    so if you plan to get 8gb 1600mhz dimms for your asus board, steer clear from corsair vengeance low profile dimms...at least until the bios has matured some more...
    Reply
  • Luay - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    The $225 Asus V Pro has the Realtek ALC892 audio chipset while the $148 Asrock Extreme4 has the 898! Not everyone wants or can install a sound card so what are they thinking?

    GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB Has wireless, 898 audio chip and a third PCI-E 3.0 slot for $219. That's a good reason to pay an extra $70 over the Asrock Extreme4 as I don't really care about auto-over-clocking.

    Only Asrock at budget and Gigabyte at mid-end are in it to win it. Not enough high-end boards to tell who won there.

    I am shocked by what Asus put on the table but I might be missing something here.
    Reply
  • blacksun1234 - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Gigabyte's third PCI-E 3.0 slot cannot work if CPU BCLK OC only 1MHz to 101MHz. It is buggy M/B. Don't buy it. Reply
  • blacksun1234 - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    I mean GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB . GA-Z77X-UD3H is Ok for 3rd PCI-E 2.0. Reply
  • Paapaa125 - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Article: "With a lot more controllers to initialise on board, the ASUS P8Z77-V Pro requires at default 20.47 seconds to reach the windows loading screen. By disabling controllers that aren't used, a time more like the ASRock could be achieved."

    Did you actually test this?

    And a suggestion: please test Intel DZ77BH-55K motherboard. It is the only board besides MSI to use the better ACL898 and Intel LAN chip but without other useless bulk (like secondary LAN etc). It seems to have superior BIOS to many others.
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Hi Paapaa125,

    I should have an Intel Z77 board inbound to test. I have about 5 others to test as well, and some ITX. Currently reviewing boards in my spare time, so please bear with me as I get through them all! :)

    Ian
    Reply
  • Paapaa125 - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    Great to hear that! And no need to rush, I can wait :) I hope you test these things:

    Boot time. Fan control settings. Power consumption. Lan speed/CPU util. Audio quality. And check if the Turbo Boost settings actually are identical. Otherwise the benchmark results are unbiased.

    I'm actually more interested in other features than pure computational speed and benchmark scores. The differences are usually insignificant, but the differences in other areas might be big.
    Reply
  • althaz - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    Somebody further down the thread posted a message that they configured their Asus 'board to POST much quicker than above.

    I second request for Intel board reviews! I am particularly interested in the DZ77GA70K as well as the 55K mentioned by Paapaa125. I've been hearing good things about the GA70K but I'm hesitant to commit without finding out about POST times and I'd also like to see if performance is the same between the 55K and 70K.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Can you give us realistic power supply measurements? I am interested in building a fairly fast system that is pretty much always on. So the idle power needs to be as low as possible. I would use a smaller power supply that is at least 85% efficient @ 50 Watts. And no video card. With just one SSD and one optical drive. My best napkin-guess would be an idle power of 40-45 watts. Reply
  • Silenus - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    That's a fair guess for idle. The problem you will have is that ideally you will want a high efficiency supply that at idle is at least 20% loaded. For you 40-45 idle that means you would need a supply probably not more than 200 watts. It is hard to find a 80+ supply at those lower powers. You might consider a small form factor supply. This is just about fits your requirement:
    http://www.neweggbusiness.com/Product/Product.aspx...
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    That might be a good choice. I wonder if I would still be able to hit 4.3GHz with that supply. I would definitely keep it at stock volts. Reply
  • haakon_k - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    ..or try the 80+ gold alternative from seasonic, if you can find a shop that sells it, 300 or 350W - optionally modular.
    http://www.seasonic.com/product/pc_tfx.jsp
    Unfortunately without any PCIe 6 pin power connector, if you so should get tempted...
    Reply
  • Avalon - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Well that review went as expected. MSI underperformed, Asus was needlessly expensive, Gigabyte had memory issues, and Asrock OC'd with lower voltages. That;s mirrored my experiences in the past few years. Reply
  • goldie.lin - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the nice benchmarks, USB, SATA, LAN, Power Consumption, ...
    Especially, I appreciate the "DPC Latency" and "Boot Times" tests.
    It very useful and practical!!!
    Keep working, AnandTech.
    Reply
  • DarkRogue - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    First off, thank you for the review.

    I am a bit bummed that the UD5H and the Z77 Deluxe were not reviewed, since those were the two I was looking at. Especially since the UD5H can be had for under $200.

    Anyway, the voltage ripple/stability charts were quite interesting for me.
    But my main concern lies with the Gigabyte's chart. It looks good... but in my eyes, TOO good. It's too perfectly straight. On one hand, I thought, "Wow, this board has awesome VRM or something."

    On the other hand, it made me suspicious about why it was so stable. I have to ask, is it measuring the correct voltage?

    The reason is because I had a similar finding when I was looking at the vcore requried to OC an IVB CPU (or any CPU, really) on the new Z77 mobos.
    Per my thread here: http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=22417...

    We found that Gigabyte mobos were incorrectly reporting its VTT voltage as the vCore, which resulted in "vcore" readings in CPU-Z and other programs reporting the same, or very similar, 1.0xx voltages regardless of what the CPU OC'd to.

    I hope to be able to get some clarification on this.

    Only other suggestion I have is to really test more of the features of each motherboard. (mSATA, firewire, audio, etc; how do they compare with other chipsets, how are their drivers, etc..)
    Thank you, and keep up the good work!
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Hi DarkRogue,

    I have the Deluxe on my test bed right now, so keep your eyes peeled for when I finish the review.

    Regarding the voltage reading charts, it merely reads the OS reported voltage. This is loosely a smoothing of what ripple actually happens on board. After consideration, it only serves to show LLC on board, and how the board reacts to requested load by the processor. It's fairly easy for a manufacturer to override this to make sure only a straight line is reported. But, if it is a messy line, then there could be a problem (e.g. check my 990FX review a little while ago).

    I'd love the kit to test more features on the boards (mSATA etc), if you've got any kit spare! :) Though keep in mind that each test can't take 2 hrs, or we would end up with 1 board a month reviewed (as we do this part time)! I'm open to suggestions regarding tests if anyone has a good one with a simple output I can report and analyse.

    Ian
    Reply
  • DarkRogue - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Thank you for your response, Ian!

    I wish I had the funds to send in spare items, though. Unfortunately, I'm not quite rich enough, haha. We'll have to be bound by the generosity of the various vendors to this site.

    As far as tests go, I imagine some people would be interested in a quick RMAA test of the various audio chipsets. It's of no concern to me, since I insist onboard solutions are never going to be as good as a dedicated external DAC+amp, but it should be good for a lot of people.

    I'd also be interested in how the eSATA and Firewire performs, as I'm of the camp that says anything firewire related that isn't Texas Instruments is not worthwhile. The eSATA, mainly it's to see if there are any quirks with the drivers from each manufacturer allowing hotswap properly or not, and whether it causes DPC latency issues. My friend's ASUS board was plagued with problems related to eSATA not allowing him to eject drives, BSOD'ing on resuming from sleep, causing massive DPC latency when a drive was connected, etc. It's these little things that really make or break the experience of a board.

    I'd also like to see how well the fan controls are on each motherboard. ASUS' Fan Xpert 2 really drew me in, as it seems no one else can match the level of customization for fans. I dug a bit and found out that Gigabyte's boards not only cannot do this, but it even struggles to stay consistent between its various headers. (One header runs straight +12v no matter what, while the others make the fans spin at different speeds with the same settings.)

    ANYWAY, back to the issue at hand - Gigabyte's voltage readings.
    As I found in my thread linked above, Gigabyte appears to be reporting the wrong voltage, for some unknown reason. This to me seems to invalidate the test result for the Gigabyte board, because it's incomparable to the others.

    I know that the purpose of the test is to test for variation in the voltage to the CPU, not necessarily the exact ripples, but the VTT supplies voltage to a completely different segment than the vcore, unless I'm mistaken. I wouldn't think that the voltage supplied toward the IMC would vary as much when the CPU ramps up and down.

    Is there a way to force that program to probe a specific/different voltage reading, or have you already done this and the chart actually does represent Gigabyte's handling of vcore voltage? I wasn't able to figure that out from the article.

    Thank you again!
    Reply
  • UltraWide - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Thank you so much for covering the fan control features on each board! I truly appreciate this as it is often left out in other reviews.

    Keep up the great work!
    Reply
  • AeroRob - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    I don't know about anyone else, but I'm really sick of seeing VGA and PS/2 ports wasting space on new motherboads.

    I know some gamers might think that PS/2 does the job better than USB, and I can appreciate that, but VGA? Who even uses VGA connections anymore? They should be avoided like the plague.

    And even if you do insist on using a VGA connection, what's the point of putting a DVI-D connector and a VGA together? Chances are you won't be using both, so just make it a DVI-I connector and throw in one of the cheap DVI>VGA adapters, and use the newly freed up space for a connector that isn't an ancient piece of garbage. Let's see HDMI or DP up there. Move things around so you can perhaps throw an eSATA connector on the back, or more USB ports--you can never have too many USB ports!
    Reply
  • Paapaa125 - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    PS/2 has one single thing that makes it superior to USB: you can turn your computer on by clicking space bar on a PS/2 keyboard or clicking mouse button on a PS/2 mouse. USB does not have this feature which is a big problem if your computer case is not easily reachable.

    Agree about VGA ports. Nobody uses them anymore. Nobody.
    Reply
  • AeroRob - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    As I understand it, gamers feel there's an issue with USB's polling rate, and prefer PS/2 for that reason.

    As for turning on your computer, I never heard about that. I rarely shut my computer completely off, and my wireless USB keyboard can wake it up from sleep just fine. Hell, my computer's so sensitive to any change, just flipping my monitor back on wakes it up (probably due to the built-in USB hub).
    Reply
  • mcquade181 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    I know whole organizations that still use VGA, and there are tons of KVM switch boxes in development and testing centres everywhere that only support VGA. Yes I know you can get HDMI and DVI KVM's but most places won't have them yet.
    I still use VGA occasionally and would be annoyed if it wasn't there.
    Reply
  • Paapaa125 - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    And how many of those organizations are switching to Z77 boards and still keeping their VGA? Reply
  • Ramon Zarat - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    The latest AXTU version does not include XFastRAM anymore. XFastRAM is a stand alone utility now. Also, XFastRAM is much more than a 32bit 4GB RAM limitation extender. It's in fact a RAM disk on steroid, valid for both 32 and 64bit system. It can do the following:

    1- "Recycle" unused memory beyond 4GB on a 32bit OS into a RAM disk. A RAM disk of up to 32GB can be created on a 32bit OS.

    2- RAM disk of up to 8GB on a 64bit OS. Asrock is working on extending that limit on 64bit OS.

    3- Can choose any available driver letter to assign to your RAM disk

    4- Use part of the RAM disk as a Readyboost drive to accelerate your magnetic boot drive!

    5- Easy transfer of either or both the "user" and "system" temp file to RAM disk. No fooling around with Windows configuration.

    6- Easy transfer of IE and Firefox cache to RAM disk. XFastRAM take care of everything straight from its interface.

    7- Easy transfer of the page file to RAM disk. Again, directly from XFastRAM interface.

    8- Possibility to save the RAM disk to hard drive before shutting the PC down.

    It's fast (10 000MB/s with CrystalDiskMark on a 2500K @ 4.7 and 8GB of 1866 RAM) , it's free, it's amazingly flexible and can both accelerate your PC and prevent premature wear on your SSD by redirecting a lots of small writes to the temp folders and web cache! You can apparently gain 5X performance in some Photoshop operations when you configure it so use the RAM disk as the temp folder!
    Reply
  • bji - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Don't intelligently designed modern operating systems use as much unused RAM as is available as filesystem cache? I know Linux does, I would expect Windows 7 does as well. In which case, I have to wonder what the value of a RAM disk except to make your persisted data completely volatile and lost on a power outage.

    Turning the unusable RAM beyond 4 GB into a RAM disk when a 32 bit operating system is in use is the only marginally useful feature that you mentioned, but you have to be stuck with a 32 bit OS for that to be of any value.

    Using a RAM disk comes at the cost of vastly increased complexity for managing persisted files (having to copy things from RAM disk to persistent storage before shutting down) and vastly increased risk of loss of data on unexpected power outage. All of the RAM disk useability features in the world won't help with those issues.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    Temp, cache or scratch files would be good uses of a ramdisk. Other than that, there's really no point. Reply
  • kstan12 - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    i would *love* to read a review of ivy bridge that doesn't include an engineering sample. my i7-3770k seems to want a lot more voltage @ 4.7 than what i see in reviews online. i know one might clock higher than another but it seems these ES samples use less voltage. am i wrong here?

    and where did you get the updated bios for the asus p8z77-v pro? i can only download 0906. :-)
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Hi Kstan12,

    My ES is stepping 9, which is identical to retail. It's all about the luck of the silicon at the end of the day.

    Ian
    Reply
  • kstan12 - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    oh ok, so you would just compare the stepping, thanks! maybe i'm not so good at overclocking too.

    love reading your articles...you explain things quite well, good work!
    Reply
  • vegemeister - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Unless you bought it retail, they could have easily given you a cherry-picked chip. There is a lot of variation in semiconductor manufacturing, even on the same stepping. Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    If that's the results from a cherry picked chip, there would be a very compelling reason to choose SB over IVB for overclockers. Reply
  • JSt0rm01 - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    But I feel like the release schedule has slowed way way way down. We need amd to step back up to the plate. We need more competition. I have been waiting on the new xeon parts for what seems like forever.

    -------------
    Also, after being a member of the anandtech forums for 10 years I was permanently banned by the moderators there because they wanted to censor a website (ffdt.info) that had conversation that was critical of their moderation. I find that the free flow of all information on the internet is critical. For a tech website such as this to limit the flow of information is offensive the core of these beliefs and its all because certain people in positions of illusory power deem that information detrimental to their positions.
    Reply
  • bji - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    To your first point, x86 development HAS slowed way down and the trend will continue. With consumer computer usage turning more to cell phones and tablets, the market for faster x86 parts can no longer sustain the billions of dollars of R&D necessary to advance x86 state of the art. Intel is probably in the process of reducing their x86 R&D budgets in anticipation of this.

    This will not change, even if AMD makes a comeback. I have predicted in the past that the fastest x86 part ever to be produced will be no faster than 50% faster than the current fastest Ivy Bridge. I stand by that prediction.

    Sadly, the heady days of rapid advances in x86 tech are over, as anyone who witnessed the early/mid 2000's and can compare them to now will testify to.
    Reply
  • JSt0rm01 - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Its unfortunate for power users. I will probably end up with a 2010 6-core mac pro to replace my aging 2006 macpro (please no anti-apple I use certain software and my industry is almost 100% apple I also have been building my own pcs since 1998) but what comes after that? I've already held this macpro for longer then I've had any computer. I guess what comes next? Will arm processors in 15 years be monsters of computational power?

    -------------
    Also, after being a member of the anandtech forums for 10 years I was permanently banned by the moderators there because they wanted to censor a website (ffdt.info) that had conversation that was critical of their moderation. I find that the free flow of all information on the internet is critical. For a tech website such as this to limit the flow of information is offensive the core of these beliefs and its all because certain people in positions of illusory power deem that information detrimental to their positions.
    Reply
  • ggathagan - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Yeah, we got your rant the 1st time around and didn't care about it then, either. Reply
  • JSt0rm01 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    If you don't have anything to add to the conversation then maybe you should stfu. Its a perfectly fine place to discuss the slowing release schedules of desktop hardware and I don't think you, as a random internet name, are in any position to say what others care or don't care about. You aren't special.

    -------------
    Also, after being a member of the anandtech forums for 10 years I was permanently banned by the moderators there because they wanted to censor a website (ffdt.info) that had conversation that was critical of their moderation. I find that the free flow of all information on the internet is critical. For a tech website such as this to limit the flow of information is offensive the core of these beliefs and its all because certain people in positions of illusory power deem that information detrimental to their positions.
    Reply
  • bji - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    I think he was referring to the 'signature' that you are putting after every post. You know, the stuff after the dashes. With all respect, if you are going to put that in every post you're going to have to expect some flak from people who don't like when others try to make a statement. Not saying that I have a problem with it, but there are people who get pissed off about every little thing ... Reply
  • JSt0rm01 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    well then let him be pissed. Thats my sig and if he wants to see it less then he shouldnt be responding to me.

    -------------
    Also, after being a member of the anandtech forums for 10 years I was permanently banned by the moderators there because they wanted to censor a website (ffdt.info) that had conversation that was critical of their moderation. I find that the free flow of all information on the internet is critical. For a tech website such as this to limit the flow of information is offensive the core of these beliefs and its all because certain people in positions of illusory power deem that information detrimental to their positions.
    Reply
  • Paapaa125 - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    I don't understand why this site even accepts such a long sig. Stupid. Reply
  • smalM - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Black connectors on black boards - I really hate it.
    Where are the boards for grown-ups?
    Reply
  • TGressus - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Not black enough if you ask me. Caps could be all Hi-c, silk screening ever single component should just stop, the branding could be black and UV reactive.

    Worst is all that silver metal that connects the chips/sockets. Black that!
    Reply
  • embeddedbill - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Thunderbolt is curiously missing, more than a year after the apple intro. Some compelling features if price and vendor support don't drive you mad. Time can solve both those problems, I'm just not sure how flexible the implementation will be in a Windows environment, i.e. hot plug of performance hardware, and discrete video card integration of its display port out with the TB pcie lanes.

    Scarce details exist which makes me wonder if this tech will eventually wind up as overpriced fringe apple only, read FireWire!
    Reply
  • kenyee - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Probably something a bit too bleeding edge for you guys, but Gigabyte has apparently figured out how to make it painless for setting up a Hackintosh w/ their UEFI BIOS:
    http://teksyndicate.com/news/2012/04/24/best-mothe...
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    Hmm, that might be the reason for their weird phy choices. Reply
  • hasseb64 - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    My last build was with a Z68 ATX MB, such a build will never happen again in my house. Next update will have Micro-ATX or maybe even a Mini-ATX.

    During my 15 years of computer building I have never used more than 1 GPU
    In next computer I will probably not use any more expansion, today I have a old SB card installed.
    And 2 slots for memory will do too (2x8 GB)
    All HDDs are in separate WHS2011 box

    ATX feels more and more like a thing of the past, these Taiwan makers are holding on as it seems but the future for them are to deliver smaller packages = less money.
    Reply
  • ggathagan - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    For the vast majority of folks, you are correct, and the board manufacturers are also catering to that market.
    There are, however, plenty of people that *do* have multi-GPU systems.
    Further, there are more uses for PCIe than just GPU's; RAID controllers, 10GbE NIC's, and high end sound cards, to name a few.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    To be honest, with GPUs these days, 7 slots seem to be not enough. 2 slots are needed for the GPU, 3 for semi-decent cooling, particularly for these darn open air coolers manufacturers like to use for some reason. Reply
  • Sysiphus - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    Is it possible to control 3pin fans on this boards? I didnt see a option and the asus board has only 4pins. Chassisfans are normally 3pinned. Reply
  • kstan12 - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    i own the asus p8z77-v pro. i have plugged my rear chassis & side panel fans into the 4 pin connectors on the mobo and i can control them with fan expert 2.

    i bought a few of these:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    Can they be controlled via speedfan? Reply
  • mcquade181 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    You can plug 3 pin fans into 4 pin MB connectors. Reply
  • ggathagan - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Under the "ASRock Z77 Extreme4 - Overview" section you mention XFast USB twice.
    The second time should be XFast RAM

    Under the "Visual Inspection" section for the MSI Z77A-GD65:
    "Underneath this are the eight SATA ports - two SATA 6 Gbps from the PCH, four SATA 6 Gbps also from the PCH, and another two SATA 6 Gbps from an ASMedia controller."
    I believe it should be "four SATA 3 Gbps also from the PCH...".

    Under "Updates to our Testing Methodology"
    "Also with experience allows us to pick tests ..."
    Should be "Also, experience allows us to pick tests ..."

    Under the conclusion section for the ASRock Z77 Exteme4:
    "The XFast LAN software also shows superior performance in incompressible transfers or real-world transfers compared to standard USB throughput."
    Should be "XFast USB software..."

    All that aside, great review.
    I appreciate the effort you and the rest of the Anandtech staff put in to improving your test processes.
    I especially appreciate this multi-board approach that highlights the key differences across a series of boards that use the same chipset.
    It certainly helps when making purchasing decisions.
    Reply
  • Nickel020 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    You say in the conclusion that you gain voltage read points by going withe MSI over the Gigabyte - the Gigabyte though does in fact also have voltage read points, just a less convenient implementation

    As for the review: I realize that there are time constraints and you can't do one of the in-depth reviews that we sometimes got in the past, but I would like to see a more convenient user oriented layout, e.g. tables comparing the features of the boards, a table comparing the OC results etc. The way the review is structures i have to take a look at every board seperately, take notes and then compare them. Also some more comments on how the tested models compare to other models of the same manufacturers would be nice. Doesn't take much time, but greatly helps someone shopping around for a board.

    Lastly, I'm highly skeptical of the software voltage readings but I know that many people do take such software readings as absolute truth, not realizing their potential flaws. You seem reasonably skeptical as well, and this is something I think should be mentioned in the review to prevent misunderstandings.
    Reply
  • FozzyofAus - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Hi guys,

    Any change you could review the:
    AsRock z77 Professional-M

    In addition to the previously requested:
    AsRock z77 Extreme4-m

    Thanks in advance,
    Michael.
    Reply
  • drbuzbee - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    The Lan read and write sequential speeds are labeled MBytes ps but undoubtedly are reported in Mbits ps. Reply
  • millisec - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    The Gigabyte UD3 is a nice board but it's a little annoying that's the board GB keeps sending out for reviews because of the $160 price mark. For $29 more you get so much more in the UD5 with Realtek audio, dual lan with Intel/Atheros, PCI 3.0 X4 slot, more sata 3 ports and second Marvell raid controller. The extra $29 buys a lot vs. the UD3 and in IMO is a much better value. Just hoping the UD5 arriving today does not have the same problems with the G.Skill Ripjaws X 2400 kit Anand had. Won't be a happy camper... Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    $29 for extra sata ports = pass. ;) Reply
  • embeddedbill - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Hi Ian, any chance you will have an update on this board? Reply
  • embeddedbill - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    What... Did that take about 3 minutes from this question to Anands article? Reply
  • smalM - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Black connectors, video ports, PS/2 - the first manufacturer who omits all that nonsense will get my money. Reply
  • KivBlue - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Gigabyte has gone cheap for sure, I have compared the specs for both on-board audio chips and Realtek clearly has more feature sets. Plus VIA interface looks hideous. My current system's motherboard is Gigabyte and while they have improved things with UEFI, the feature set they have in it is pretty much the same as the old BIOS, ASUS clearly has a more comprehensive UEFI in that regard, I would go with ASUS motherboard in the future as I'm no longer a novice and someone who wants to take full control of a system. Reply
  • bobster1 - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    I've been debugging crashes at stock and overclock for a few days and finally seem to have found the cause, and thought it was worth mentioning here as I didn't see anything about it in the article.

    I was finding my 7970 crossfire/UD3h/3770k setup was locking up frequently in games like the Witcher 2 - the system would freeze and had to be turned off and on again. I discovered by accident that the games became stable if I had prime95 running in the background, and eventually concluded that it must have something to do with the voltages at lighter loads. When I bumped up the voltage to 1.25v in the BIOS (using the static setting, rather than dynamic voltage), it seems to have solved the problem. I'm guessing this is due to Ivy Bridge taking responsibility for pci-e; it's rather unfortunate as it means I can't let the cpu use a lower voltage in an idle state without it rendering the system unstable when rendering 3d.
    Reply
  • mikeyd55 - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    Hi,

    First, thank you for addressing this important benchmark!

    Your article notes that POST times can be improved by disabling non essential controllers.

    It would be helpful to know, with the minimum controllers enabled to support a system built on either the PRO or DELUXE (Asus) boards, with: one NIC enabled in OS (only?), boot from one SSD and/or one optical drive connected to Z77 chipset ports (no third party storage controller needed), USB disabled on boot, but enabled in OS (if possible as with certain Intel boards?), and any Wireless option disabled, what could be expected.

    Reply
  • Conditioned - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    So how was dpc measured? If you disable intel-c state and all other powersaving features it makes an absolutely huge difference in dpc. Reply
  • bojaka - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Hi,

    On Gigabyte's homepage it says:

    4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory

    regarding supported/recommended memory for this mainboard...

    How come 1.65V memory is used and what are the (possible) consequences?

    Should 1.5 or 1.65V memory be used?

    Best regards // BoJaKa
    Reply
  • Neoprimal - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Builders with more than a keyboard and mouse may have some issues with the UD3H. I recently got one because of some good reviews I read and the price/value of the board and I was on the cusp of exchanging it for something else because the board was just so unfriendly re: the VIA USB 3 ports.

    You need to populate the Intel ones before the VIA ones - not an issue. But the second you start populating the VIA ones you stand to get pretty frustrated. Each BIOS revision seems to fix the problem little by little (the saving grace thus far).

    The board also doesn't seem to like Sandforce. I am hearing Everest 2 is giving some folks problems as well. After the long term, I had a Solid 3 that kept causing issues. Granted, most folks would say that this is because the Solid 3 is simply a 'crappy SSD', but it did work on other systems so crappy or not there's something to be said about the pairing of it and the UD3H.

    The VIA audio didn't play well with my G930 headset. It would literally keep dropping out whenever I reboot and what this in turn did was set the G930 as default...that got annoying fast as I'd have to set the VIA back to default every, single, time. My fix was to unplug the USB key for the G930, a less than elegant response.

    Before unscrewing and repackaging the board for return to Newegg since everyone was telling me it was defective, I decided to try one more thing (based on how well things seemed to work when my G19 was on the front USB 2 port); I purchased a USB 2 bracket (4 port) and attached it to the 2 USB headers I had left. I then plugged my 2 hubs (housing my printer, gamepad, flash drives, etc) on the USB 2 ports, put my G19 keyboard on a VIA USB 3 port (as these are the only ports that work 100% pre-boot) and put my 2 USB 3 hard drives on the Intel USB 3 ports where I pretty much leave them. This is the only way I have been able to run the board stable.

    It was a lot to go through but things now work. If this were my first board I'd have been in trouble. Initially you don't experience the issues. It's when you move beyond a keyboard and mouse that you start seeing problems.
    I wish reviewers did more than just stuck a keyboard and mouse on these boards. I get that the review process can be grueling but most people nowadays have more than a KB and Mouse and a review should put a board through more paces than just overclocking. These manufacturers put so much into 'tweaking' the boards for OCing they are getting lazy with the rest of stuff. It seems a lot of boards experience USB problems, despite the various chips they use.
    I don't know if I'll ever use all of the onboard ports, I know that I don't DARE change anything, lest I go back to the reboots and crashes that occurred before I found my fix.
    Reply
  • xs7v3n - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    So i see almost everyone here is dealing with the slow post time.
    Most of the time my post time is around 8 seconds (sometimes its around 4 seconds), while Dr. Debug lcd on mobo is showing a "99" post then it loads up the windows 7 loading screen (but sometimes after the post a blank screen with that "_" [underscore] appearance like when u open cmd which takes like at least 8 seconds also).. I have a Corsair Force GT 240gb and i want to get the most speed out of this system on boot up.
    Reply
  • xs7v3n - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    Actually it wasn't 8sec it was more like 24seconds LOL and so sometimes its 8 seconds... Why is that taking that post so long to disappear? Reply
  • Raikku - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    Why I don't have that auto-oc option in my Ext4's bios/oc-tweaker screen? Reply
  • Nanology - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    Great review, it's cleared up a lot for me.
    It's been around 5yrs since I have updated my gaming rig.
    I would like to be able to run a variety of games at med. settings and also stream games!
    Also use a lot of Adobe products, video editing etc, and some 3d level design, but nothing to crazy!

    Budget upgrade:
    Intel i5-3570k
    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB DDR3 2133

    Can't decide on one of these motherboards...
    I currently have a CM Gemini II LGA 775 heat sink, which the ASRock board supports = saves money!
    Do all these boards support a LGA 775 heat sink?
    I was looking at the ASRock z77 pro4 for around $109, but really like the ASRock ex4
    The 555 is nice and I would actually use it.

    Can someone please help me sway my decision?!?!??!?!?!?
    Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Saturday, November 17, 2012 - link

    im seriously thinking about thie asrock extreme4 but the 2 PCI slots bother me. PCI-e came out in 2004. its 2012 time to ditch the PCI slots. if your getting a Z77 board and still use a PCI card its either time to upgrade that card or since you insist on using a 10 year old card stick with your old board. Reply

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