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  • 457R4LDR34DKN07 - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    Zotac Z77 A-E is vastly superior. It is the only mITX Z77 that has a mSATA. You could even remove the wifi/bt module and put in a mpci-e tv tuner and use the antenna. Reply
  • K-thiraband-com - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    The ASRock Z77E-ITX also has mSATA.
  • RicardoNeuer - Thursday, November 08, 2012 - link

    just as Eddie implied I'm startled that some one can earn $9332 in a few weeks on the internet. have you seen this(Click on menu Home more information)
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    I have the ASrock z77 E-ITX which is a lovely mini itx board and has a MSata on the back. Admittedly only SATA2 (like all MSata sockets at moment).

    Go for the samsung green low profile memory (fantastic overclocking potential) and there is no need to worry about CPU coolers interfering with memory heat spreaders.

    What I would really like is for MB makers to put the ATX socket at right angles to the board, it would make cable management much easier, and that is always a problem in Mini ITX cases.

    The Gigabyte board is a lot cheaper than my ASrock board, but I would not change it.
  • philipma1957 - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    there are 3 itx mobos and I own 2 of them I have the truly great ASrockz77 E-ITX with a msata under the board I have a crucial 256gb in it.

    I also own an intel BoxDH77DF

    Which allows this:

    1 x PCI Express Full-/Half-Mini Card slot with support for mSATA .

    my build has a crucial msata in it also the 256gb size.

    frankly I won't buy anyboard that does not have a msata option/

    looking at this board you may be able to run a msata instead of the wifi.

    frankly if you go itx msata is a godsend for space and wire management
  • PEJUman - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    I have the asus H77 ITX, with 3770 + 2 x 2.5" SSDs + 2 x 3.5" Velociraptors with icepack. all inside a antec ISK 65, which is powered with 150W dell power brick to get around the 65 limit.
    I did have to modify the ISK removable frame brace to mount the 2 x 3.5" velociraptors, but there is enough airflow with 2 x 80mm + some clever ducting using a thin piece of flexible plastic to keep everything cool under load (prime + crystal diskmark): 85 C CPU & 45 C on raptors.

    it's it very tight, but that is half of the fun on building PCs;
    where is the challange on building mini HTPC with mSATA hehehe =P.

    The reason I picked the asus board is for the 6 SATAs, when it becomes obsolete, it would serve a a power efficient, cost efective file server.
  • Samus - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    I think most people would prefer an Asus, Gigabyte, Asrock, etc over a Zotac. The only reason to ever buy Zotac products in the past was for the nVidia ION options they provided when nobody else did. These days, Zotac is less innovative and quality/support have always been lacking, so why would you even consider them when there are higher quality, similarly priced competing products? Reply
  • rafa333 - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    you are sow dirty ass Reply
  • abrogan - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    The Zotac board uses thin steel "threads" to mount the wifi antennas. This is a very poor design. After receiving one already broken in the box, and after examining the proper way to do it (the gigabyte uses a folded plate), I won't purchase a Zotac again. Reply
  • GoodBytes - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    On the POST performance table, I don't understand whats the difference between stripped and default. Can someone please explain it to me? I can't seam to find any info on this on the review. Thanks. Reply
  • Senti - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    Default is teh default and stripped is after manually turning off unused features like network boot and various additional controllers boot roms that are needed only if you intent to boot from those devices. Reply
  • GoodBytes - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    Ah Thanks,

    To be clear, these values are still with a dedicated graphic card, right? cause I know those add time to the POST process.
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    Yes, these post times are with a GPU installed. Reply
  • dishayu - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    Hey Ian, you mention "four SATA 4 Gbps" ports for H77 chipset on the first page. I'm assuming that's a typo and Intel haven't actually implemented a non-standard 4Gbps port? Reply
  • Dug - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    All of your complaints sound like you aren't a typical mITX user. You are comparing against ATX boards? Why?

    Of course you can't put giant heatsinks on this, and why would you when you are testing an i3-3225 and its designed to go in a case that's 7". You couldn't anyway with 99% if mITX cases out there.

    Test stability and reliability, how well the wireless works, ethernet, USB, and SATA performance.

    Why do we need to see a benchmark of an i3225 against and Asus P9X79 Pro with an i7-3960X? This is a motherboard review, not a cpu review.

    And what is with the game benchmarks? What video card did you use? Don't tell me you used a video card that's 3 times longer than the motherboard.

    Sorry but this doesn't seem like a review for the intended audience of mITX.
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    After all the notes about the odd component positioning and theories about how it might complicate the installation, he doesn't even try installing it in a real mITX case... Reply
  • Armourcore9brker - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    I agree with this.

    About the complaints about component placement. That's dictated by the Intel socket pinout. See here:
    Starting on page 94.
    Essentially the entire pinout shows where components would be placed. There isn't the room like on ATX boards to route the traces to other parts and have it be all neat.
    What Asus and EVGA had to do was to add more layers to the board to get the traces to not interfere with the PCIe signals. That in turn will increase cost.
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    Then the option becomes to just do it, or do it right. Different motherboard manufacturers have different mandates when it comes to this, and it shows in the cost.

    Regarding benchmarks, I have these numbers in the database, and thus it is interesting to see the difference between the two. I'd rather have an excess of data points than a limited field of view. As for using a high end video card, the whole point of a motherboard review is to test the limits - make the motherboard be the limiting factor in all testing as much as possible. There are now plenty of cases that deal with long discrete GPUs so that is not an argument against using one, and when going around a large LAN event it is interesting to see a double digit percentage of mITX builds around a powerful GPU. Similarly these users are also using cases that can accommodate larger heatsinks.

    "Sorry but this doesn't seem like a review for the intended audience of mITX." - I feel the market for mITX is larger than you think. This Gigabyte board was built at the request of a system integrator in Asia, who bought 10000+ units for a specific need. The result of spending the time and effort made Gigabyte release the product to the general market. What may have been the plan for that system integrator may not be the plan for users - particularly when it comes to that 4-pin CPU power placement.
  • EnzoFX - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    I agree that mITX is flexible and can accommodate powerful gaming rigs. However I'd say that is the minority. My concern with my mITX builds is always a balance of feature set. Stability. mITX to me is taking the, as Anand calls it "device-ification" of computers into my own hands. They go in smaller cases, whose components won't be changed all that often, so stability and build quality is actually even more important to me. The other thing is heat, while this is characteristic of cases and component selection, I think it would help us greatly if we got these mITX boards tested in practical use cases as well.

    My personal annoyance is seeing 500W+ PSU's with mITX builds that don't go anywhere near even half that wattage.

    The mITX reviewing can use a boost here. Usually I find myself looking for reviews of what do become widely recommended boards. Test the top contenders, I'm always hearing about that ASRock ITX board, that's the #1 recommended board I see recommended in forums. Gigabyte is a brand I rely on, so I welcome their reviews, so thanks.
  • Termie - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    Ian - thanks for this review. I built up a system using AsRock's z77 ITX board, and was also puzzled by the socket placement, but ultimately not everything will be as neat as on a bigger board because there just isn't as much board edge space available. No matter what, at least one power cable will be stretched inelegantly across the board.

    A few comments:
    (1) your OCCT load numbers with the 7970 appear to be incorrect - perhaps this was actually running on the internal HD4000, judging by the wattage.

    (2) testing power consumption on a platinum PSU is a bit unrealistic, as there are no SFX platinum PSUs available, as far as I know, and while some ITX builds go into cases, like the Prodigy, that can hold an ATX PSU, the use of Platinum PSUs even in these builds is unlikely due to cost.
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    (1) The 15 W difference between OCCT load on IGP vs. 7970 seems alright to me. As the power goes up, the efficiency should rise, so for a 55W CPU having OCCT go on full and have a system load of 65W could be a little odd, depending on how OCCT is actually loading up the pipeline.

    (2) My main reason for testing with a 500W Platinum is that it is the lowest wattage PSU I have in, and I plan on putting a mITX board with that PSU into a Prodigy for my own usage. There are enough users out there willing to consider a SFF build for transportation but have enough horsepower to cart to events. Stick in a 3770K + 680 GPU (or 7970, 7870), and 500W doesn't seem too far fetched. Perhaps the platinum part does a little, but it does make our power readings a little closer to the true value, especially as I run on 240V which gives a higher efficiency.

    Thanks for your comments :)
  • Termie - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    Thank YOU for your review.

    You know, I think I was confused by the power consumption graphs because you switched the order of OCCT and Metro2033 in the IGP and HD7970 tests. Now that you explained it, I see that it makes sense.
  • HappyCracker - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    I own the Z77 version of this board and it slid into my ISK nicely and seems to be the same basic layout as the Intel DH57JG it replaced.

    Here's what's confusing about this review. It's a review of the board, but in the computation and gaming benchmarks, is the only instance of a Core i3. I would probably like to see the same processor in each of those boards to show how they'd stack up for a potential buyer. Otherwise, what I see here, is a comparison of an i3 against i5s and i7s, which should belong in a CPU review and not a board review.

    Or did I miss the methodology altogether?
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    Our future Z77 mITX testing will be on the i3, but the main comparison point here in the CPU tests is the A10 which is at a similar price point. Stay tuned for the other mITX reviews :)

  • Scotttnz - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    I bought this board for my home esxi server. I chose this one due to it's reasonable price and for the dual on board NICs to give me internal and external connectivity for my firewall/ UTM vm. Esxi 5.1 installed fine to a micro USB key, and everything works well without any fiddling around injecting drivers etc. this leaves the pic-e slot free to add a RAID card or what ever. Reply
  • capeconsultant - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    I am interested in building a mac mini type computer. Small, quiet and fast. Any ideas? Thanks! Reply
  • Gigaplex - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    You're not going to get as small as a Mac Mini using mini-ITX. The Mini uses laptop grade parts with a custom motherboard designed around the case. If you want something Mini-like, just put Windows on the Mac Mini, or you're going to have to settle for the larger, more powerful mini-ITX systems - something like the Antec ISK 110 VESA is a good starting point if you're aiming for as small as you can get.
  • capeconsultant - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    Thank you! I am this close to Windows on a mini, just exploring last minute ideas. Thanks for the advice. I am going to Google that case now just to learn. I have researched heavily the mac mini and think that will be prefect for me. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    The Z77 version is only $10 more on Newegg, so I don't see a reason not to get the Z77. At the very least it gives higher memory speed options which can help with the CPU integrated graphics. Reply
  • EnzoFX - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    This has been intel's standard for like 3 years. People should stop pointing it out as strange, and cases/heatsinks can easily take it into account. Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    Seems like it would be more appropriate than using a 7970 or 580 Reply
  • desiredusername145 - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    C'mon Anandtech whats the point testing this with an i3???

    Now I wasted time even opening this article, shame on you
  • cjs150 - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    "C'mon Anandtech whats the point testing this with an i3???"

    That is a bit harsh. I suspect lots of people will pair an i3 with a mini-itx board.

    Personally I have an i7-3770T in my mini z77 board but lots of people would regard that as overkill (also runs a bit hot - I suspect the culprit is intel using cheap thermal paste on the IHS as widely reported).
  • HappyCracker - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    Agreed. Even a Clarkdale i3 will happily push 1080p content to a 1080p display with its integrated graphics and I think this is where a lot of users will position their ITX boxes. As long as you're not in a huge hurry, you can also encode video. It's all about positioning the right computer in the right spot. Reply
  • hasseb64 - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    mITX boards are more and more intresting, but I want you as a reviewer to focus more on power consumption. Reply
  • Th-z - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    Is there going to be a review on APU (FM2) with mITX? I'm also looking for a prebuilder that sells APU mITX system using small chassis with external power supply. Puget has them using Antec ISK 110 and 310 cases, but you can only customize them for Intel parts.

    Last question, isn't it illogical to say "UEFI BIOS"? As UEFI is to replace BIOS, not an extension of BIOS, as "UEFI BIOS" would imply. The F in UEFI already stands for Firmware, so conceptually, it's like saying "Firmware BIOS". If wheel is to replace feet, we just need to call it wheel, not wheel feet.
  • Urbanos - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    you didn't cover wireless! its a main feature of this mobo.
    missing all networking bench's, also does it allow for teaming? and how well?

    did you test the raid setup? will each controller see each other's array in the config utility?

    chassis options? temperatures?
    dual HDMI tests and examples? image quality?

    don't mean to be a dick here, but anandtech has a much higher standard than this.
  • klmccaughey - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    We need you to spot the flaws before we buy it Ian, so I see no problem with you being critical as you are always constructive.

    Keep up the great reviews! I'm still waiting for my ITX HTPC killer board - they are all far to expensive.
  • rwpritchett - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    Good review Ian. I've been running with this motherboard for about a month now in an ISK 310-150. It's good to see someone review the H77 version rather than the Z77.

    I'd like to add another gripe about the layout- the 24-pin power header. It's right on the top edge of the board. My case has fans on that side and the fan blades hit the clip on the power connector. If it was moved away from the edge just 2mm it would be in the clear (or better yet, it should be on the memory side of the motherboard like the Asus H77 ITX) . I had to forego a fan in that position for now, but I plan to add washers to slightly space a fan away from the 24-pin connector.

    Another slight annoyance is that the BIOS refuses to see my SSD if the SATA is set to RAID. I don't know if it is specific to my model of SSD, a Crucial M4, or there is a bug that needs to be fixed.
  • cjs150 - Thursday, November 08, 2012 - link

    Would the 24 pin position work for you ?

    I prefer the 24 pin to be at the edge of the board but at right angles to current position (ie not pointing straight up). Would be nice if someone would prefer a 90 degree 24 pin adapter
  • Geraldo8022 - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    I like the placement of the 24 pin power header. My E350 case has the external power button right where it interferes with the power header toward inside of front panel. Also I like testing with i3. I go for lowest power consumption. I use a picoPSU and would like to see these tested with that psu. For me it is a USB world. all I care about is HDTV, low power and USB3. If you want to overclock perhaps you should go with a bigger board. Reply
  • Pcosx - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    Why don't anybody makes a z77/h77 board with dual link dvi output? Is it so much more to make one? Reply
  • Dug - Friday, November 09, 2012 - link

    Good question, and it would be nice to know the limitations of video output on these motherboards with different connections. Reply
  • Znarkus - Thursday, November 08, 2012 - link

    Why present POST time with two decimal points, if there is a 1 second error margin? Reply
  • IanCutress - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Results from my stop watch. Error margin is a large overestimate of what it might be from human error, not hardware error. For each reading I take 3 measurements, and more often than not I get all three in the same 0.10 seconds.

  • lwatcdr - Thursday, November 08, 2012 - link

    I would love to know how well this is supported under Linux? No real need for Benchmarks just put Ubuntu, Mint, or Fedora on it and see if the Network, WiFi, Video, Sata, and USB all work.
    Also Hackintosh compatibility would be nice but maybe too out their to be worth your time but would be very cool.
  • mrgreenfur - Friday, November 09, 2012 - link

    The spec table shows z77 chipset, should be h77? Reply
  • dingetje - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - link

    please include the EVGA Z77 Stinger Mini-ITX Motherboard in the upcoming article.
  • lemmo - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the detailed review. Could you give an idea of what the audio benchmark actually means? Do those results indicate that the audio quality is good or bad?

    A review of the Gigabyte B75 ITX board shows that the audio quality is poor, and the Gigabyte Z77 board not much better. They also use Rightmark Audio Analyser, but represent the results differently so there is no way to compare. Please can you give your audio test results in dB(A) so we can compare?

    It would also be good to have a wider comparison of the power draw, say with the Z77 ITX boards you reviewed.
  • raavan19raavan - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    have problems with the graphics card!! Works fine with the graphics BIOS settings at auto but does not work with BIOS settings with graphics set to PEG and changed the miscellaneous settings from Auto to Gen1,Gen3 but still didnt work. Tested it on different systems and it seems to work fine but does not work only on this mobo, the mobo itself is fine again. The graphics card is a HD6670 1GB DDR5. Reply
  • raavan19raavan - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    The system runs fine when the display cable is connected to IGP but when it is connected to graphics card with the above settings, the display is just black with the LED blinking and switches from ANALOG to HDMI continuously without displaying anything. Disabled the IGP too and still doesn't work. Booted the system with the IGP and tried to see if the Device Manager shows something but it only shows IGP but doesn't display anything saying that a driver is missing or any new hardware has been detected. Reply
  • raavan19raavan - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    Even exchanged the graphics card assuming it was DOA but it apparently wasn't and would work fine on other system except on this motherboard. Reply

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