BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X Motherboard
Having a look at the board we've got to say straight away that the Hi-Fi Z77X is a really good looking motherboard with its matte black PCB and blue highlights throughout the heatsinks.
We've got three PCIe x1 slots along with three PCIe x16 slots. As for the configuration of those three PCIe x16 slots we've got an x16 / x8 setup or x8 / x8 setup if you're making use of CrossFire / SLI. The bottom most slot comes in at just x4.
As you may have figured out from the front of the box, a large focus on this board surrounds the Hi-Fi naming scheme which carries with it a number of features that are focused on improved audio performance. We can see an audio inspired setup with audio-orientated style capacitors and resistors. We've also got an insolation wrap around this area that goes through all layers of the PCB to prevent outside noise getting into this area.
Continuing to move around the board you can see a fairly standard setup with a number of headers being present including two USB 2.0 headers and the main front panel header. You can also see that BIOSTAR has included a power and reset button on the PCB.
If we turn the corner we can see the LED debug reader and heading north you can see a total of six SATA ports that run off the Intel Z77 chipset. The bottom four ports are SATA II, while the top two are both SATA III. With no color separating them and the ports simply being named SATA1, SATA2 and SATA3, we initially had our SSD plugged into "SATA3", which is only SATA II. Instead the "SATA1" labeled ports are SATA III. If you look closer there's a border going around the ports and we have SATA 3GB/s and 6GB/s branding at each end. But if you just quickly wanted to build the system, you'd probably feel safe to assume that the "SATA3" labeled ports are probably SATA III. We would have much rather seen color coding.
Heading towards the top of the motherboard you can see we've got a fairly standard setup here with the main 24-pin ATX power connector present and above that we've got four DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR3 RAM in speeds ranging from 1066MHz DDR to 2600MHz DDR via overclocking.
Heading towards the top of the motherboard you can see the main 8-pin CPU power connector and we also get a better look at the socket area. Really like most motherboards these days, it's fairly clean with little to write about. We can see the heatsink setup along with a couple of fan headers, one towards the bottom left and the other towards the top right.
Finishing off with the I/O side of things you can see we've got a PS/2 port along with four USB 2.0 connectors. Video output support comes from HDMI, DVI and a VGA connector. We've got two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit networking via the Realtek RTL8111F chipset and six auxiliary audio connectors that run off the Realtek ALC898.