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ASRock Z77 Pro3 (Intel Z77) Motherboard Review

We check out the ASRock Z77 Pro3, a board that carries a price tag that sits under $100.
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Published Mon, Jul 30 2012 11:55 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT
Rating: 88%Manufacturer: ASRock

Introduction and Package

ASRock Z77 Pro3 (Intel Z77) Motherboard Review 02 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 38 IMAGES

When we looked at the ASRock Z77E-ITX recently and I was over at Newegg checking out the prices on that particular board, I noticed an ASRock option that dropped below the $100 mark. It wasn't $99.99 either, it was $94.99. Looking at the model number I quickly went to find out if it was sitting in our to-do pile of Z77 motherboards.

To our delight the ASRock Z77 Pro3 was sitting proudly in the pile and I instantly found myself intrigued. I wondered how a board that carried the latest Z77 chipset from Intel could perform when it sits at under $100. Well, that's exactly what we intend to find out today.

This really is one of my favorite points when it comes to ASRock motherboards. We see the company take a true top to bottom approach. You can see we've got budget conscious options like the board we're looking at today, Mini ITX options like the Z77E-ITX we looked at recently while we've also got people who are looking for a bit more in the form of the ASRock Z77 Extreme6 and ASRock Fatal1ty Z77 Professional.

Today is all about the budget friendly Z77 Pro3, though, and the first thing we're going to do is take a look at the package before we move into the motherboard itself. Once we've done that we'll head into the BIOS before looking at some of the other motherboards that we'll be including in our graphs followed up with the overclocking potential. Then it's time to get into the performance side of things before we finally wrap everything up.

Package

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Looking at the box you can see even the cheaper Z77 Pro3 carries with it the same 555 XFast technology we've seen on other ASRock Z77 options recently. You can see Virtu MVP is offered alongside ASRock exclusive technologies like ASRock OMG, Internet Flash and On/Off Play technology.

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Moving inside the box it comes as little surprise there's not a whole lot going on due to the price of this product. We've got the normal manuals included along with some information on the 555 XFast technology and Lucid Virtu MVP. We've also got the typical driver CD, two SATA cables and rear I/O plate.

ASRock Z77 Pro3 Motherboard

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Moving onto the board you can see straight away it's probably not going to be winning any beauty contests. We've got that very typical brown PCB that we see on cheaper options and black connectors throughout the motherboard. Let's move in a little closer, though, and see just exactly what we're dealing with here.

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Moving closer to the connectivity side of things you can see we've got two Legacy PCI slots, a single PCIe x1 and two PCIe x16 slots with the second one running only at PCIe 4x making it probably not the best option if you're looking at going down the SLI / CrossFire path.

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Moving to the bottom of the board you can see we lose any color coding to no doubt keep costs down and starting from the left we've got a HD Audio header followed by a COM 1, two USB 2.0 headers, fan header, our main front panel header and on the right a separate header for your computer speaker.

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Turning the corner you can see we've got four SATA connectors. These are all SATA II; fortunately we've got a couple of extra SATA connectors a little further up which we'll look at just below.

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Heading up north we can see on the far right we've got two grey SATA ports which are fortunately SATA III. Next to that you can see the USB 3.0 header, main 24-pin ATX power connector and a fan header. On the RAM side of things you can see we've got four slots present supporting up to 32GB of DDR3 ranging from 1066MHz DDR to 2800MHz DDR via overclocking.

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Across the top of the board you can see the main 8-pin CPU connector and a pair of fan headers while moving back a bit we get a better look at the CPU area which is pretty clean like most these days. We've got a heatsink that sits towards the top and we lack the fancy gold capacitors of the higher end ASRock options, but everything looks fairly clean and standard.

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Moving to the I/O department we can see we start with two USB connectors along with a PS2 connector. Moving across we've got a VGA and HDMI port followed up with two USB 3.0 connectors, two more USB 2.0 connectors, Gigabit networking via the Realtek RTL8111E controller and six auxiliary ports that run off the Realtek ALC892 codec.

BIOS

While a cheap board, the Z77 Pro3 carries with it the same attractive UEFI BIOS we've become used to seeing out of the company.

As always, though, if you're in the BIOS the chances are you want to do some overclocking and you'll find the same OC Tweaker option here with a huge line up of options that we see on the higher end ASRock offerings.

We'll have to find out in just a moment, though, if we can really make use of them today.

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Moving our way through the rest of the BIOS we're greeted with all the normal options and going over the pictures you shouldn't see anything out of the ordinary. Just because the Z77 Pro3 might carry a smaller price tag, it doesn't mean that the BIOS has been cut back.

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.

Looking above you can see a run down on our testbed so we won't go into any more detail on that. Instead we'll quickly cover the boards that we'll be using in our graphs today before moving onto the overclocking side of things which is then of course followed up with the performance tests.

Outside of the ASRock Z77 Pro3 running at both stock and overclocked speeds, we've got the more expensive Z77 Extreme6 from ASRock, X79 Extreme4 and two options from ASUS which include the Maximus IV Extreme-Z and Maximus V GENE.

When it came to the overclocking side of things I wasn't too sure what to expect from such a cheap board, so we adjusted our voltages and started at a 45x multiplier which gave us an even 4.5GHz. We got into Windows and did some testing and didn't run in to any problems, so we headed back into the BIOS to try out the 46x Multiplier.

That also looked good so we moved it up to the 47x one which results in a 4.7GHz clock speed. We got into Windows no problem, but during our MediaEspresso encode, the program crashed out at 22%, meaning it was time to head back into the BIOS and take it back slightly.

ASRock Z77 Pro3 (Intel Z77) Motherboard Review 01 | TweakTown.com

We messed around with the 46x multiplier and BCLK a little, but we found the best place for our CPU on this board was simply at 46 x 100 which results in a 4.6GHz clock speed on our Intel i7 3770k CPU.

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.

ASRock Z77 Pro3 (Intel Z77) Motherboard Review 30 | TweakTown.com

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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ASRock Z77 Pro3 (Intel Z77) Motherboard Review 32 | TweakTown.com

Looking at stock performance we can see out of the box the Z77 Pro3 carries nearly identical performance as the more expensive Z77 Extreme6. Thanks to a nice overclock as well we see a strong boost in overall performance with a decent amount of time shaved off our HyperPi time and a nice boost in CPU performance.

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 TrueTheater™ 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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We again see that out of the box the cheap Z77 Pro3 offers us again performance that lines up with the Z77 Extreme6 while again we see the overclock gives us a strong boost with over 2 and 1/2 minutes being shaved off our MediaEspresso encode time helping show us the real-world benefits of overclocking.

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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XFast technology as always proves itself when it comes to USB 2.0 performance with strong numbers while as usual we don't see any major change when it comes to the USB 3.0 side of things.

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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SATA III performance is fairly typical in all our tests although we do see under HD Tune Pro our minimum is slightly down compared to our other setups. We saw this the other day when we tested the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe motherboard.

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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Memory performance lines up just as you'd expect out of the box while overclocking sees a nice booth with the best gains being seen in the write department.

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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Looking at gaming performance we don't see anything out of the ordinary. 3DMark 11 sees a slight boost to the performance preset when overclocked.

Metro 2033 manages to see an extra couple of FPS, but really for the most part we see very little change between the setups.

Temperature and Power

Power Consumption

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Power draw numbers line up with the other Z77 boards which are very strong while overclocking brings with it a bit more power draw, but nothing too major.

Core Temperature

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Temperature numbers look good with our idle numbers lining up with the Z77 Extreme6 at both stock and overclocked. Of course as always due to the extra voltage we do see a bump in load temps with our 3770k sitting in the mid-80s here.

Final Thoughts

The first thing that has to be brought up about the Z77 Pro3 is the look of the board. It's not a good looking board when it comes to the color combination; it follows that typical color scheme we're used to seeing when it comes to cheaper motherboards. Avoiding the fancy colors and such, though, are what helps keep the price of this board down so low.

At the $94.99 price point, there's so little that we can complain about when it comes to this board. Sure it lacks in a lot of areas - no mSATA, the second PCIe x16 slot is wired at x4 only, total of six SATA ports, less connectivity options in the I/O department and an overall fairly small bundle.

At the same time a lot of what the board offers is more than enough for people as we've got a single PCIe x16 slot, two USB 3.0, two SATA III ports and Gigabit networking to name just a few of the main features. If you want to get a motherboard for under $100, then you're certainly going to lose some features, the good news is they might be features that you didn't even need in the first place.

Out of the box performance is also very strong and you see it lines up with the more expensive Z77 Extreme6 and while overclocking performance isn't as strong, 4.6GHz out of a motherboard at this price point continues to be very impressive and goes to show the overall quality of what ASRock offers us even when on a budget.

If you're happy to spend more or need some more features ASRock can no doubt help you with that via some of their other models. On the other hand if you're just looking for a solid performing board that comes in at a really strong price point and works extremely well, the Z77 Pro3 and its $94.99 price tag could well be the board that you've been wanting that won't hurt your bank account balance too much.

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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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