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BIOSTAR TZ77XE4 (Intel Z77) Motherboard Review

Not the first name that comes to mind when buying a motherboard, we see what BIOSTAR is doing with the Intel Z77 chipset.
@TweakTown
Published Tue, Jun 19 2012 12:46 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: BIOSTAR

Introduction and Package

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I can't remember the last time I tested a BIOSTAR product, so much so I'm not sure I've ever tested one. Saying that, over nine years in the game, I have trouble believing that I've never had my hands on a BIOSTAR product. Really, though, that doesn't matter as we get our hands on one of the most recently released BIOSTAR products.

BIOSTAR's TZ77XE4 is as you may have guessed based off the name is an Intel Z77 based motherboard which is what our Taiwan lab is mainly full of at the moment. It will be interesting to see how BIOSTAR sit when compared to some of the other Z77 boards we've looked at since launch.

Outside of just the features, how's the board look? How's the BIOS? And what's the price like? These are just some of the questions we're asking and intend to answer today. As usual there are a number of things we've got to do before we get into the performance side of things.

The first thing we'll be starting off with is the package to see just what's on offer from BIOSTAR. Once we've done that we'll move onto the board itself and cover some of the main features that are on offer before heading into the BIOS.

Once we've been through the BIOS we'll cover the overclocking side of things and get into the testing side as we see how the board performs at both stock and overclocked levels. There's not much more that needs to be said so let's get into the package and see what the BIOSTAR TZ77XE4 can bring to the table.

Package

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Looking at the box we can see a lot of the main features that are on offer with the "T-Overclocker" feature being one of the main features being pushed. We can see other things like HDMI, SATA 6G, VirtuMVP, DisplayPort and 13-Phase Power being mentioned to name just a few. The back shows us much the same, but goes into a bit more detail on everything with a brief description.

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Inside the box there's not present with the typical manual and driver CD being present. Alongside that we've got four SATA cables, CrossFire and SLI connectors and the rear I/O panel to round everything off.

BIOSTAR TZ77XE4 Motherboard

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Pulling the motherboard out of the box I have to say that the BIOSTAR TZ77XE4 looks pretty good. We've got an all-black PCB along with a mainly black theme throughout the board with a few orange highlights being present.

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Having a look at the expansion slots we can see three PCIe x16 slots present with the bottom most one running at x4. If the top two are used in SLI or CrossFire, they'll run at x8. Along with these we've got a single PCIe x1 slot and two older legacy PCI slots.

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Across the bottom there is the normal line up of fan headers and USB 2.0 headers alongside a power, reset and clear CMOS button. We've also got the main front panel header connector on the far right and sitting above the bottom most PCIe x16 slot you can see we've got a USB 3.0 header.

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Turning the corner you can see we've got a total of eight SATA ports with four SATA II ports running off the Intel Z77 chipset and two SATA III ports running off the same chipset. The additional two ports are also SATA III and they run off the ASMedia ASM1061 chip. Also here below the SATA ports you can see a LED debug reader that makes troubleshooting any issues easier.

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Heading up to the north end of the board we've got a fairly standard setup here with the main 24-pin ATX power connector. Above that you can see we've got four DIMM slots which support up to 32GB of DDR3 at speeds ranging from 1066MHz to 2600MHz DDR via overclocking.

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Having a look around the CPU area you can see we've got an 8-pin CPU power connector located a little deeper back in the motherboard while we also get a chance to have a look at the heatsink setup around the CPU area. The orange and black scheme looks really good and like most motherboards these days the CPU area is really clean meaning most heatsinks shouldn't be an issue.

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Finally we finish up with the I/O side of things and we start off with a PS2 port and two USB 2.0 headers. Next to that we've got a bunch of video connections in the form of DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA and DVI. Moving across we've got two USB 3.0 ports, eSATA, two more USB 2.0 ports and a Gigabit networking via the Realtek RTL8111E controller. Finally we finish off with six auxiliary ports that run off the Realtek ALC898 HD Audio codec.

BIOS

Heading into the BIOS we've got a setup that we haven't seen before which is of course due to the fact that we haven't seen a BIOSTAR board with a UEFI BIOS since it was introduced.

If you're heading into the BIOS, though, the chances are you'll want to go over to the overclocking section which is dubbed "O.N.E.".

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Making our way over to the overclocking section you can see there's nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to BIOS options. The ability to turn features on and off or select the boot priority is all present and fairly self-explanatory.

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The overclocking section is pretty large as you'd expect and moving through it you can see we've got all the typical options like RAM speed, voltage adjust, BCLK adjustment and of course CPU multiplier options to name just the main ones. We'll cover using it all, though, when we cover the overclocking side of things on the next page.

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Finally we finish off with the "Save & Exit" section which is very typical so let's get into the test system setup and overclocking side of things before we cover the performance of the BIOSTAR TZ77EX4.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Overclocking

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital, MemoRight and Corsair.

Before we get into the overclocking side of things let's cover the boards that will be in our graphs today. Apart from the BIOSTAR TZ77XE4 at both stock speeds and overclocked we've also got Z77 offerings from ASRock in the Z77 Extreme6 and ASUS in the Maximus V GENE.

Along with that we've also got the older Z68 based ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z and the ASRock X79 Extreme4 to round out our collection of boards here today. With that said let's get into the overclocking side of things to see just what we can get out of our Intel 3770k CPU and the BIOSTAR TZ77XE4.

Heading into the BIOS to do some overclocking it took a little bit of time to get our head around it since this is a new BIOS design for us. Fortunately everything is pretty clear and it didn't take us too long to get into it.

One of the features that I liked the most, though, is that as we move up in voltage levels the color changes as we get to higher and higher levels. As we increase our voltages we move from white to orange and then orange to red. This is a really handy feature for people who want to do a bit of overclocking, they can move to levels that they feel safe and make sure they don't cause any damage.

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After setting the voltages and everything you can see above we ended up in Windows at 4702MHz or 4.7GHz as listed in our graphs here today. This was done by leaving the BCLK at 100 and moving our multiplier to 47x.

We ended up getting into Windows at 4.8GHz, but due to heat, we could see the CPU bouncing between 4.4GHz and 4.8GHz, as it overheated. We dropped the voltage a little and moved out multiplier back 1x and you can see where we ended up.

Let's get started!

CPU Benchmarks

HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99

Developer Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Product Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Download It Here

HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

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AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Starting off with HyperPi we can see strong performance out of the BIOSTAR motherboard with the out of the box numbers looking really good compared to our other setups and when overclocked we see those numbers improve even more.

Looking at AIDA64 we see the numbers line up as we'd expect as stock with the overclocked numbers of course being an improvement on top of that.

System Benchmarks

PCMark 7

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04

Developer Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Buy It Here

PCMark 7 includes a range of tests that give different views of your system's performance. In the Advanced Edition you can choose which tests to run. The common use and hardware component tests are unavailable in the Basic Edition.

Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark test. This is the only test that returns an official PCMark score. The Lightweight test measures the system capabilities of entry-level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the PCMark test, but it does not generate a PCMark score. Common use performance is measured by the scenario tests " Entertainment, Creativity and Production " each of which results in a scenario score. Hardware component performance is measured by the hardware tests " Computation and Storage " each of which results in a hardware score.

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MediaEspresso

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/products/mediaespresso/overview_en_AU.html?fileName=overview&r=1

Buy It Here

MediaEspresso is a blazingly fast media universal converter that can transcode your videos, photos and music files and out put them to a huge range of portable devices including mobile phones, portable media players and even game consoles. With technologies like Smart Detect, Direct Sync and CyberLink's TrueTheaterâ„¢ video enhancements, you can not only forget about complicated format, resolution and output settings, but your converted file will come out the other side looking better than when it went in!

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At stock we can see that performance under PCMark 7 is pretty standard and under MediaEspresso we see that the encode time is a little longer than the ASUS Z77 offering and lines up more with our ASRock Z77 board.

Overclocked, though, we see a nice boost in both scores with a nice real-world difference being seen under MediaEspresso.

USB 2.0 and 3.0 Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Like most motherboards that don't use any added software to boost USB performance, we see our numbers line up just as we'd expect with nothing too out of the ordinary being present.

SSD Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.61

Developer Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Buy It Here

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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SSD performance sits lower than a lot of the other motherboards. While we always use the native SATA III controller offered by Intel, there's still a large fluctuation between SSD performance from company to company.

You can see here on the BIOSTAR board, we've fallen a bit back when it comes to the numbers we're seeing.

Memory Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Looking at the RAM performance we can see it lines up as we'd expect at stock while overclocking helps give us a boost in all of our numbers.

Gaming Benchmarks

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com//

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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The results when it comes to gaming are very typical, we see most our setups sit very close to each other and the overclocking doing little for extra performance with the only change really being seen in the Performance preset under 3DMark 11.

Temperature and Power

Power Consumption

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Looking at power numbers they line up at stock with the other Z77 offerings. If anything the BIOSTAR sits a little lower, which is nice. Overclocked, though, we of course see the numbers increase in both idle and load, but there not at a level we'd be worried about.

Core Temperature

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At stock our numbers aren't bad with the idle number looking really good and the load sitting between the other Z77 offerings.

Overclocked, though, we see the load number skyrocket to a massive 99c. When we were testing at 4.8GHz, we saw our CPU hit over 105c and that was causing the CPU to slow down. Unfortunately these 90c+ numbers aren't all that uncommon on latest Z77 platform with the current crop of Ivy Bridge processors.

Final Thoughts

I found myself quite surprised with this BIOSTAR offering. So often when we've moved outside the realm of brands like ASUS, ASRock, MSI and GIGABYTE to name the big four, we run into problems. Most the time we see boards from other companies that run fine at stock, but as soon as we start to overclock them, we run into issues. Of course, there's even times when we try to run a board at stock and run into problems.

This wasn't an issue with the BIOSTAR TZ77EX4. We got everything installed, updated to the latest BIOS and started our testing. We didn't run into a single problem, at stock or overclock. What makes us more surprised, though, is the fact there's a $149.99 price tag attached to this motherboard.

This is a cheap board and sure it might lack the bundle of more expensive options, but the black and orange color theme is great and while the feature set is on the basic side of things, it offers most of us what we need from a motherboard in this price bracket.

Outside of the stock performance, though, the board does a good job of shining when it comes to the overclocking side of things. I'm not sure how much overclocking you're going to want to do on a $149.99 board, but you can see today that the BIOSTAR TZ77EX4 has no issue dealing with our 3770k offering us a strong overclock.

If you're looking for a Z77 motherboard that looks good, comes in at a really strong price point and offers some great performance, the BIOSTAR TZ77XE4 is a really good option. We look forward to seeing more boards out of BIOSTAR in future and hope they can follow the same trend that we've seen today.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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