Since February we've been looking at new Intel Z77 Express based motherboards and as the weeks have gone on the pile of Z77 based motherboards has grown larger and larger. It's time to finally start digging into the pile and see just what exactly is going on with them.
While we've looked at the GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H in some detail when we checked out the Intel Core i7 3570k Ivy Bridge processor, it was not the focus of the article, unlike today where the motherboard is the focus and our benchmark line up will focus on our typical motherboard line up verse the CPU benchmark line up.
The current issue I have with Z77 testing is that it seems so pointless to test on the current crop of Sandy Bridge processors. Z77 boards are designed for the most potent experience with new Ivy Bridge processors. So, we figured that we'd just continue to use our 3770k that we picked up from China last month. When we finally receive our Intel Press Kit with CPUs from Intel we'll be under NDA and we won't be able to make use of our Ivy Bridge processors again till the chips officially launch later this month, but for now we can still run with it.
The first Z77 board we're testing comes from ASRock and is the Z77 Extreme6. It's the first of not only many ASRock Z77 boards we've got to test, but just many Z77 boards period. The first thing we'll do is check out the package to see what exactly ASRock is offering us before moving onto the board itself.
Once we've looked at the board we'll get into the BIOS to see what's going on there before moving onto the overclocking side of things. Once we've done that it's all about the performance we're able to get out of the board.
The latest box design from ASRock looks great and you can see they're highlighting the new 555 XFast technology. As for inside we've got the normal driver CD and paperwork along with a few extra pieces explaining the 555 XFast technology and Lucid Virtu MVP.
Lucid Virtu MVP is a technology that is really being pushed by both Lucid and motherboard companies with the launch of the new Ivy Bridge platform. It hasn't got off to the best start in our eyes, though, and if you're interested in learning a bit more about it, I'd highly recommend you check out our Lucid Virtu MVP (HyperFormance) Tested with ASRock Z77 and Intel Ivy Bridge article.
Outside of those bits and pieces we've got four SATA cables, SLI bridge, I/O backplate and a USB 3.0 front panel connector with two USB 3.0 ports on it. This can be also installed in the back of the case via the included bracket in the bundle.