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ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review

ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review

Moving away from the more expensive Z77 chipset, we take a look at the cheaper H77 chipset on an ASRock board today.

@ShawnBakerTW
Shawn Baker
Published Thu, Feb 21 2013 12:06 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: ASRock

Introduction and Package

ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review 02 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 36 IMAGES

Intel's H77 chipset isn't really one that we've followed too closely. So much so that I had to actually bring myself to search TweakTown to see if I had actually reviewed a board that uses the chipset. A quick search discovers that we haven't which makes this review become even more important as we take our first look at the H77 chipset.

For the most part there's not too much that separates the H77 and Z77 chipset. The major difference is the inability to split off the PCIe x16 slot. The other main difference is that "CPU Overclocking" is disabled. We don't know too much about this and we'll cover it more in the overclocking side of things in a couple of pages.

Apart from these two differences, though, the similarities between both boards are very similar with maximum SATA III ports coming in at two off the chipset, up to four USB 3.0 ports of the chipset and Intel RST and SRT technology both being offered.

The first thing we need to do is check out the box and the bundle that ASRock is offering us. Considering the $79.99 price tag associated with the board, we're not expecting anything too major when it comes to extras.

Once we've done that we'll move onto the board itself before checking out the BIOS. Following that we'll look at our testbed setup and cover the overclocking side of things where we'll cover the "No CPU Overclocking" feature that is listed as not available.

Package

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Having a look at the front of the box you can see the 555 XFast technology is heavily highlighted. Apart from that there's not a whole lot more being shown on the front of the box apart from a couple of logos across the bottom and the model number across the top.

Turning the box over you can see we go into some detail on the main features of the board including the 555 XFast technology. Below that you can see we've got a rundown on the Lucid Virtu MVP technology that is included along with a bit of information in Intel Smart Response Technology and Intel Rapid Start Technology. Finally across the bottom we go over some of the other features including DIGI Power, PCIe 3.0, UEFI BIOS, On/Off Play technology and Intel HD graphics.

ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review 05 | TweakTown.com

Considering the price point of the board and the target market, it comes as no surprise that the bundle is on the light side. We've got a bunch of paperwork including some that explains XFast 555 and Lucid Virtu MVP in more detail. Along with that we've got a driver CD, I/O back plate and two SATA cables.

ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP Motherboard

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Moving away from the bundle and onto the board you can see we've got a fairly plain setup. We've got that typical brown colored PCB which isn't very sexy and you can see a fairly bland heatsink setup. We'll look at this closer in just a moment.

ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review 07 | TweakTown.com

Moving in closer to the board we can see the expansion slot side of things. While we have two PCIe x16 slots, the H77 chipset can't split the x16 slot into an x8/x8 configuration. What this means is that this dual slot PCIe x16 setup comes in at x16 / x4. While CrossFire is on offer, if you really wanted to make use of it, I say spend the money on a more expensive Z77 board, so that you can at least get x8 / x8.

Alongside the two x16 PCIe slots you can see the far left gives us a single PCIe x1 slot and three legacy PCI slots. It's not the greatest expansion slot setup with a lot of older legacy PCI slots on offer. With less PCIe lanes to play with, though, this is about all we could expect ASRock to come up with here.

ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review 08 | TweakTown.com

Heading across the bottom of the board we continue with a fairly simple setup. We've got HD Audio, COM1 and USB 2.0 headers along with a few fan headers and the main front panel header.

ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review 09 | TweakTown.com

As we turn the corner you can see our fairly standard SATA setup with a total of six SATA ports being present. We've got four black ones which are SATA II and two grey ones which are SATA III. All six of these ports run off the Intel H77 chipset.

ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review 10 | TweakTown.com

As we head to the top half of the board you can see a further two SATA ports in a slightly unusual position. These are two more SATA III ports that operate off the ASMedia ASM1061 controller. Above you can see a USB 3.0 header while to the right you can see the main 24-pin ATX power connector. Above that we've got four DIMM slots which support up to 32GB of DDR3 with speeds ranging from 1066MHz DDR to 1600MHz DDR.

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ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review 12 | TweakTown.com

As we head around to the CPU area you can see the 8-pin CPU connector at the top of the board with a fan header next to it. As we move back a bit to look at the CPU area you can see not much at all is going on. We've got a small heatsink across the top of the board, but apart from that, nothing much else.

ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review 13 | TweakTown.com

Finally we finish off with the I/O side of things and starting from the left you can see a PS/2 port along with six USB 2.0 ports. We've got a DVI-D, VGA and HDMI connector for video out along with two USB 3.0 ports and Gigabit networking via the Realtek RTL8111E controller. Finally we finish off with five auxiliary connectors and an optical out which run off the Realtek ALC892.

BIOS

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Having a look at the BIOS you can see we've got a typical UEFI design.

The scheme is the blue version which we haven't seen for a while. Most the time we see the black one that is on the higher end boards. As for the options most of them are there, but under the OC Tweaker section, you can see we're missing any BCLK adjustment options.

We'll talk about this more when we cover the overclocking side of things on the next page. Apart from that the rest of the BIOS is fairly standard.

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.

As always we won't go into any real detail on the testbed side of things as everything is covered above.

Quickly, though, we'll cover the boards that will be included in our graphs today which of course include the ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP. Alongside that we've got some Z77 boards including the ASRock Z77 OC Formula, ASRock Z77 Extreme11, ASUS Maximums IV GENE and finally an X79 based ASRock X79 Extreme4 to round off the collection.

As always before we get into the benchmarking side of things we cover the overclocking side. When we looked at the differences between the H77 and Z77, one of the options that is listed as not available on the H77 is "CPU Performance Tuning". We didn't pay too much attention to that as we saw the ability to adjust the multiplier in the BIOS. We just couldn't see an option to adjust the BCLK. Since most of our overclocking is done via the multiplier anyway, we didn't think it was that big a deal.

Heading into the BIOS to adjust the multiplier we hit the + button a few times and hit a wall at 39x or 3.9GHz - the Turbo speed of the 3770K. There's really no ability to go any higher. Because of that we simply left it at that and decided to just bench at the normal out of the box settings.

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 H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) 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.

ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review 31 | TweakTown.com
ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review 32 | TweakTown.com

Starting off with our CPU orientated benchmarks you can see that performance from the H77 based chipset is just as strong as it's more expensive big brother (the Z77) in both benchmarks.

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 7 performance is really strong sitting between the Z77 boards and under MediaEspresso you can see the encode time is quite strong, but lags slightly behind the Z77 boards with almost 50 seconds separating the H77 board against the fastest Z77 product.

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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ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review 36 | TweakTown.com

Looking at our USB performance numbers you can see that USB 2.0 stands out thanks to the XFast technology when compared to boards that don't offer it. USB 3.0 performance on the other hand doesn't really change among all boards.

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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Under AIDA64 we see some fantastic SSD performance that goes against the much more expensive Z77 Extreme11 we recently looked at. HD Tune Pro doesn't show quite the same stand out performance, but across the board we still see strong numbers that line up with the other boards.

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.

ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP (Intel H77) Motherboard Review 39 | TweakTown.com

With the RAM running at 1600MHz DDR CL8, the numbers pretty much line up just as you'd expect when compared to the Z77 dual-channel based boards.

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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3D performance really holds no surprises at all with the numbers on all our setups being quite similar to each other.

Temperature and Power

Power Consumption

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Power draw numbers are fairly standard. You can see at idle we've got the lowest number here by a few watts and at load we're sitting in the low 300 watt area like the Z77 boards.

Core Temperature

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Looking at the temperature numbers you can see idle is in the middle of the pack, while load sits a little lower than everything else.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

At $79.99 you can only expect so much from a motherboard. Thinking about it we've probably got a board that's better than we thought. Really you're getting a fair bit of board for just $79.99. The elephant in the room, though, is of course the lack of overclocking ability.

The main thing to remember here is that it's not due to a lack of anything from ASRock, instead it's the lack of ability to adjust these settings due to the chipset and decision to do so by Intel. If you throw in the ability to overclock like Z77-based boards, the only difference separating the two boards would be the PCIe x16 setup. Instead of the x16 / x4 setup that you see with this motherboard, you instead have the ability to have an x8 / x8 configuration. If you're only using one video card, then there are no issues.

Of course with the ability to overclock on the Z77, there's reason to buy boards based on that chipset over this one, even if you're only using one video card. Many people don't overclock, though, because they simply don't need the extra power or find themselves scared of shortening the lifespan of their expensive CPU.

At this price point the ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP is really a strong motherboard for people who are looking for something basic. Move away from the overclocking side of things and for a lot of people this is a motherboard that offers many of the features they want at a great price.

You've got a single PCIe x16 slot for a single video card setup. You've also get a second slot for a PCIe x4 card alongside a spot for a PCIe x1 card. We've got decent audio options and Gigabit networking is on offer. ASRock have thrown in a second SATA III controller to give us a total of eight SATA ports and four of them are SATA III.

The board isn't exactly what we'd call good looking, but it's hardly the ugliest thing we've seen before. Again we have to place a large amount of consideration into the price point. You're only going to get so much motherboard for $79.99 and having a look at everything that's on offer here, we get a good deal. Overclocking would of course be nice, but that's a limitation from Intel and not ASRock. If you're looking for something cheap and you don't want to overclock, this is an attractive looking option that offers a fair amount for the price.

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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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