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GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 (Intel Z77) Motherboard Review

We have a look at the great looking GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 and check out the performance of the new Z77 model.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Wed, Nov 7 2012 11:18 PM CST   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Package

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I always found myself disappointed that I never got a chance to test out the GIGABYTE X79-UD7 when it launched. I always loved the black and orange color scheme that it had. Since that opportunity never arose it was time for the waiting game to see the next board that came out following the same color scheme.

Jump forward and today we're checking out the Z77X-UP7. As soon as I heard of the UP7 tag I found myself instantly hoping that it would follow that same black and orange color scheme - as you can see in our introduction photo above, it does.

Like most companies we're seeing GIGABYTE offer some updated motherboard versions of the Z77 chipset and this is of course the latest one to hit our labs. Carrying the UP7 name of course means it's a higher end offering and sits above the other Z77 boards we've looked at from GIGABYTE.

Before we take a closer look at the board itself, though, there are a few things that we need to do. We'll be starting off by checking out the box and the contents of the package, which is quite large.

Once we've gone through the package we'll move onto the board itself and cover all the main features before we move onto the BIOS side of things, cover overclocking, check out the other boards that will be included in our graphs today before we finally get into the performance.

Package

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Straight away we've got a sweet looking box which isn't too busy on the front and just instead mentions some of the main highlights that are on offer. Opening up the box we can see that the left side focus on the Ultra Durable aspect of the board which includes higher quality components throughout the board.

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Moving over to the other side of the box we get a good look at the board so we know just what we're dealing with. Turning over we've got a picture of the board and an absolute wealth of information.

You can see some of the main features like 32+3+2 Phase CPU Power Design, true all Digital PWM design, OC Touch, Thin Fin Cooling along with a run down on the I/O side of things. We won't go into too much detail, though, as we'll cover this all on the next page when we take a closer look at the board.

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Moving inside the box you can see the normal line up of paperwork along with the I/O shield and three SLI bridges ranging from two cards setups to four way ones. Also included although not pictured is an extended CrossFire bridge.

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Moving on you can see we've got six SATA cables and two antennas for the wireless card that is included in the bundle, which can also be seen above.

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Finally we finish the bundle with an eSATA header which has some cables included with it and a front panel dual port USB 3.0 header.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Motherboard

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Looking at the board straight away I'm a huge fan of the black and orange color scheme. Of course color scheme are always going to be something personal, but what's nice about the GIGABYTE setup is that it's unique and is something that we don't really see from other makers. Let's move in a bit closer, though, to see just what exactly is going on with the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7.

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Moving in a bit closer you can see we've got five PCIe x16 slots which support up to four way SLI and CrossFireX. Along with the PCIe x16 slots you can see we've got two PCIe x1 slots to round off the connectivity

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Moving across to the bottom of the board we can see the normal line up of connectors including audio, com, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Front Panel and fan headers. Along with all this you can also see the LED Debug reader towards the right side.

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Turning the corner you can see we've got a total of 10 SATA ports present. We've got two SATA II ports and four SATA III ports that all run off the Intel chipset while four more SATA III ports are present which run off the Marvell 88SE9172 controller. You can also see behind we've got an mSATA connector, a SATA power connector for extra power and down the bottom a reset button.

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Heading to the top half of the board you can see we've got a lot going on. As usual we've got our four DIMM slots and below that we've got the main 24-pin ATX power connector. Between that we've also got another USB 3.0 header. On the right side we've got a bunch of buttons that help increase both the multiplier and the BCLK while the OC Gear button does BCLK stepping.

Also present is a power button and next to that we have a switch for LN2 mode and a button that will reset the CMOS button. Finally we finish off with a bunch of little connectors which are used to get the voltage of certain areas with the help of the included voltage connectors in the bundle.

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Moving to the other end of the board you can see we've got two 8-pin CPU power connectors for people who need an extreme amount of clean power. You can also see we've got another fan header here. Moving back a little we get an idea of what's going on with the heatsink and CPU area. Like most motherboards these days it's super clean around here and looks great with the black and orange color scheme.

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Finally we finish with the I/O side of things and you can see we've got a total of six USB 3.0 ports and the combo PS2 connector. Display options are on offer via D-SUB, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort while an optical audio port is also present. We've got two Gigabit networking ports with one running off the Intel controller and the other off an Atheros controller. Finally we finish up with six auxiliary ports which run off the Realtek ALC898 codec.

BIOS

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Looking at the GIGABYTE BIOS there's nothing that you wouldn't have really seen before. If you're going to do any overclocking you'll find yourself mainly hanging out in the M.I.T. area of the board where all our overclocking options are available.

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Outside of the M.I.T. section everything is fairly self-explanatory and like we've seen since GIGABYTE went for the graphical UEFI design you can jump over to "3D Mode". For the most part, though, you'll probably more than likely find yourself sticking with the more traditional BIOS design which most people will find easier to use.

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.

On the testbed side of things you're not going to find anything new going on with the typical motherboard test line up present. Before we go into the overclocking side of things, though, we'll just quickly cover the other motherboards that will be seen in our graphs today.

Outside of the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 we've also got Z77 representation coming from the ASRock Z77 OC Formula and MSI Z77 MPOWER which are both the latest offerings from each company. Also included are the ASUS Maximus V GENE and the ASRock X79 Extreme4 to round things off.

Moving onto the overclocking side of things we headed into the BIOS and started to adjust the CPU multiplier after we increased voltages. The first thing we do is move the multiplier up to 47x as this tends to be a good starting point for us. We booted up into Windows no problem and started running MediaEspresso.

Unfortunately when we hit 21% of that test it froze up. So we headed back to the BIOS and adjusted the voltage a little bit with no more luck. We then moved down to a 46x multiplier where everything was running fine in Windows. With that working fine we headed back into the BIOS and adjusted the BCLK.

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We ended up with a BCLK of 100.7 as you can see above and combined with the 46x multiplier we've got a clock speed of 4631MHz or 4.63GHz as illustrated in our graphs today. This is a good overclock for us as we see most of the time our i7 CPU sits only around the 4.6 - 4.7GHz mark.

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 Hyper Pi we can see that our out of the box performance is strong coming out a little stronger than our other Z77 options. AIDA64 numbers are also slightly up. When we get into the overclocking side of things we see a nice boost in performance with a decent reduction in the HyperPi time.

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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PCMark performance is also strong out the box sitting between the other Z77 offerings while MediaEspresso is strong like we saw on the MSI Z77 MPOWER which was roughly 50 seconds quicker.

Again when we ramp up the CPU speed we get strong improvements in both areas. The MediaEspresso test is always a nice one as we see real-world improvements from the overclock.

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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Looking at USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 performance we don't have any real surprises with numbers that line up as you'd expect.

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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Looking at SSD performance under AIDA64 we've got some very strong numbers for our SSD here. HD Tune Pro also shows good numbers overall, but not quite as strong as we saw under AIDA64. Overall, though, SSD performance is just very strong on the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7.

mSATA Benchmarks

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

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mSATA numbers really don't show any real surprise with them lining up like you'd expect.

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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RAM performance out of the box lines up with the other Z77 motherboards for the most part while the overclocking side of things of course sees a boost thanks to the extra memory bandwidth offered by the increased CPU speed.

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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As usual when we look at the gaming side of things we don't see any real surprise. We see a little bit of movement when we overclock, but really for the most part very little separates each system.

Temperature and Power

Power Consumption

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Looking at power draw numbers we can see that the idle is slightly elevated on this GIGABYTE offering and load is also up slightly. Overall, though, the number still look good and you can see overclocked we remain under 400 watt at load.

Core Temperature

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Looking at temperature numbers the GIGABYTE sits a little lower out of the box. Overclocked idle also looks great. It's only when we are under load that we see it skyrocket to the mid 90c mark. This isn't the biggest surprise, though, as over 90c is quite common for the 3770k.

Final Thoughts

GIGABYTE has put together a really nice motherboard in the Z77X-UP7 and the first thing we have to mention is that the color design looks great. It's nice to see something a little different than the black on black or black on red which are probably the two most common color schemes when it comes to higher end motherboards. Instead we've seen GIGABYTE go for the black and orange going on here, and we saw ASRock go for a black and yellow color scheme.

Looking at the price side of things the $399.99 price tag that is associated with the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 brings it in as the second most expensive Z77 motherboard on offer over at Newegg with the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium being $50 more expensive. Justifying the price isn't too hard, though. You only have to look at the package that's on offer.

Along with all the normal stuff we're used to seeing the addition of the USB 3.0 front panel header and the wireless card with multiple antennas help the bundle stand out. Then you've got the board features which really stand out - everything from the onboard overclocking, voltage monitoring feature and extra SATA ports. Finally the other big feature for performance users is the ability to go down the four-way video card path for massive performance.

While for some users the board will be overkill, the feature set and bundle is really strong that even if you're not a big overclocker or power user that will make use of every feature that's available, there's enough extras that still make the board worthwhile at the price.

At $399.99 the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 is just going to be out of budget for some people. However, if you have the money, and if you're after a high-end, high quality motherboard that carries a large feature set and runs extremely well, this is a fantastic option.

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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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