We’ve recently presented you with three different motherboard models based on the latest Intel Z77 Express chipset, however, we weren’t able to perform thorough testing as usual, as we didn’t have any Ivy Bridge CPUs (for which this chipset was created) at disposal at the time; we had to settle for a Sandy Bridge one. This time around, we’ve finally got our hands on an Ivy Bridge representative, as well as four new motherboards with the Z77 chipset from ASUS and Gigabyte, so read on to find out how well this chipset handles its native environment.

As a short reminder, the differences between the new Z77 and the old Z68 chipset are mostly of a “cosmetic” nature, with one of the key features being the integration of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 into the chipset itself, while earlier LGA1155 motherboards enabled this functionality through additional, external controllers. Another feature is the support for PCI Express 3.0, again, native this time, instead of the usual earlier support through separate components. If you want to run three graphics cards at the same time, Z77 is limited to the 8x/8x/4x configuration, but that won’t be an issue, since the 4x on the third generation of PCI Express designated the same speed as the 8x on the second generation, as long as the cards are PCI-E 3.0 compatible too. Finally, the motherboard supports DDR3-1600 RAM, concluding the list of differences, so let’s have a look at how well all that works in ASUS and Gigabyte renditions.

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H

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This motherboard is one out of a total of twelve models carrying the Z77 chipset Gigabyte has announced; it’s envisioned as a mid-range product offering many high-end capabilities, but at a relatively accessible price. It’s equipped with numerous Gigabyte technologies, such as 3D Power, 3D BIOS and of course the fourth-generation Ultra Durable technology, which includes a separate production process.

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Allegedly, the “Glass Fabric” PCB technology brings forth denser threads in the materials the PCB is composed of, thereby reducing the possibility of humidity-induced damage (i.e. shorted circuits). Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H looks very attractive, mostly due to the matte black coating and elements, which is a design frequently applied by Gigabyte to their more expensive models since the Z68 chipset first appeared. Cooling is unimpressive, consisting of two blue aluminium profiles, one on the chipset and the other on the power unit. The power unit itself has a 6+2+1-phase design, while the digital PWM controller logic manages precise voltage dosing to the vital components (CPU, VTT and RAM). Of course, all this is sprinkled by quality solid capacitors and ferrite-core coils.

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The motherboard has a total of four memory slots, supporting up to 32 GB DDR3 RAM in dual-channel mode, while the top corner has buttons for BIOS reset, system reset and the big red power button. There are a total of six SATA ports, four of which are black-coloured SATA 3 Gbps, while the two white ones are SATA 6 Gbps-compliant. Further below, at the very bottom of the motherboard, there’s a POST diagnostic display, informing the user of the particular booting issue should any arise. There are also two PCI-E 3.0 16x slots, one PCI-E 2.0 16x, three PCI-E 1x and one PCI slot, and there’s even a nice extra in the form of mini PCI-E slot for mSATA SSD devices. In the case of plugging in two graphics cards, the two PCI-E 3.0 slots will work in 8x mode, while the bottom PCI-E 2.0 will work in 4x mode.

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The back I/O panel has a decent number of available connectors, comprised of a dual PS/2 (keyboard and mouse) connectors, six USB 3.0 ports, VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, eSATA 6 Gbps, gigabit Ethernet and of course audio connectors with the optical output. As with many other newer-generation Gigabyte motherboards, 3D BIOS is present here as well, using intuitive graphics to present all basic settings, making the BIOS user-friendly even to total beginners. If you want to access the BIOS the usual way, you can always turn 3D BIOS off and switch to the usual graphics environment by pressing F11 or clicking the appropriate icon.

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Gigabyte GA-Z77MX-D3H

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Unlike the previous Gigabyte model, GA-Z77MX-D3H is a micro-ATX motherboard, but despite its much smaller size, it’s managed to retain SLI/CrossFire capabilities. The motherboard’s price tag clearly places it in the cheaper segment, targeting all those highly cost-conscious buyers who want the essentials of the new technology while saving a few pennies by renouncing some extension slots.

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GA-Z77MX-D3H therefore has a weaker, six-phase power unit (4+2), and the cooling bodies are also much smaller than on the previously presented motherboard. There’s also the limit on the number of fan connectors – there are only three of them – and the number of USB 3.0 ports on the back panel has been reduced to two. The layout of the board is very neat and tidy, leaving enough room around the CPU socket, which enables mounting larger CPU coolers. In spite of its micro-ATX format, standard-issue Gigabyte features haven’t been left out, consisting of dual BIOS, 3D Power and Ultra Durable 4. The four DDR3 DIMM slots support up to 32 GB RAM in dual-channel, while the four PCI-E slots, two of which are PCI-E 3.0 16x and one PCI-E 2.0 16x can house up to two graphics cards simultaneously. In this case, the first two ports will work in 8x/8x mode, the third one in 4x, and the fourth PCI-E 1x slot is there for extension cards. The motherboard only has the chipset-supplied SATA ports, i.e. six of them: two SATA 6 Gbps and four SATA 3 Gbps.

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The back I/O panel is somewhat richer than one would expect, with a combined PS/2 port, six USB 2.0 connectors, D-Sub, DVI, two blue USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, gigabit Ethernet and the standard set of audio jacks with S/PDIF output. Of course, Gigabyte’s 3D UEFI BIOS with all its advantages is as present as ever.

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Since we’ve already got acquainted with the upper-class model from the Sabertooth motherboard family a few weeks ago, ASUS has prepared a mid-range model for us this time, in the form of P8Z77-V motherboard, which doesn’t fall much behind the aforementioned one, though. ASUS P8Z77-V should provide users with all of Z77 chipset’s capabilities, with an excellent production quality and sufficient extension options, and all that at a more accessible price. Since ASUS has decided to transfer a lot of its previously ROG-exclusive elite features down to mid-range and high-end models, we’ll find Smart Digi+, but also the additional “WiFi GO!” module together with the antenna in this model’s bundle. Both are nice additions that extend the functionality of the device.

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Visually, the motherboard appears attractive, with its black PCB coating and slots, as well as cooling system painted in two shades of blue. The top right corner contains four RAM slots, together with the 24-pin ATX connector and the internal USB 3.0 plug, and there’s also the “MemOK!” button for changing profiles or setting the best memory timings. ASUS has used solid capacitors all-around, which guarantee longevity and better performance, particularly when overclocking. We salute the presence of two CPU fan connectors, which is a most useful feature if you have a CPU cooler with two fans.

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P8Z77-V has a total of five PCI-E slots, three of which are in the 16x physical size and two 1x. Only two support PCI-E 3.0 (the first and third 16x slots), which work as 8x in dual-GPU mode. An interesting thing is that ASUS has decided to leave as many as two PCI 2.1 slots, which will suit everyone with an existing extension card they don’t want to kiss goodbye just yet. The motherboard gives a total of eight SATA connectors, four of which are SATA 3 Gbps and come from the chipset, while the other four are SATA 6 Gbps (two from the PCH, two from the additional ASM1061 SATA 6 Gbps controller). The back panel is expectedly replete with connectors, with the exception of USB 2.0 ports (only two of them are present and are marked as keyboard/mouse connectors).

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ASMedia and Intel’s USB 3.0 ports both make a presence, video outputs are numerous, and the gigabit LAN and audio jacks are already standard-fare. ASUS didn’t save up on new technologies and their exclusive additions, throwing Smart Digi+ voltage control and Network iControl into the mix. The UEFI BIOS offers a load of options for setting various parameters, especially those related to overclocking and voltage control, and all that with the familiar user-friendly graphical interface.

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ASUS P8Z77-M Pro

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The last motherboard in this test also comes from ASUS, and like Gigabyte’s GA-Z77MX-D3H, it’s a step down from the previous model in size, features and price. ASUS P8Z77-M Pro is a micro-ATX motherboard that comes with most features seen on the larger P8Z77-V model, which means an excellent Digi+ power unit, USB BIOS Flashback, iControl, and finally USB 3.0 Boost.

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The layout of this motherboard seems packed, but individual components are in fact quite neatly placed, providing optimal use of the scant available space. We love the fact that the visual design concept remained the same as the elder model’s, meaning black PCB in contrast with the blue slots, except for the aluminium cooling bodies, which are understandably somewhat smaller. The upper section of the motherboard houses the ATX connector, USB 3.0 interface, the “MemOK!” button, and all four DDR3 RAM slots that support up to 32 GB RAM in dual-channel mode.

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The lower section contains a total of three PCI-E 16x slots and a single PCI-E 1x slot between them, but with no additional PCI slots, which is a logical limitation of the micro-ATX format. As usual, only the first PCI-E 16x slot works at full speed (being PCI-E 3.0), while the other two can only go up to 8x. The back panel wasn’t left uncared for, so ASUS P8Z77-M Pro has a PS/2 connector together with two USB 2.0 ports, video outputs such as DVI, VGA and HDMI (version 1.4, meaning that it supports full HD displays), as well as the already standard gigabit LAN and USB 3.0 ports.

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The ninth generation of the Digi+ voltage control is implemented, and it can be fine-tuned within ASUS’ AI Suite software, which tweaks the entire system as you desire with a single click. Furthermore, the USB BIOS Flashback technology enables very simple and fast BIOS flashing, making the entire process simple even for less experienced users.

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Core i5-3570K

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As Intel has spoilt us in a way and got us used to expecting something new every year, whether it’s a new architecture (“tock”) or a derivative of the existing one in a smaller production process (“tick”); this year, it’s Ivy Bridge CPUs that we’re expecting impatiently. Sandy Bridge brought a truly big performance jump and a significant architecture redesign compared to the first generation of Core CPUs, while Ivy Bridge represents a mild improvement with minor changes to the key elements of the chip and focus on somewhat better performance with a noticeably lower consumption. Alongside the new, 22 nm production process and the so-called 3D tri-gate transistors, which have enabled higher nominal clocks, higher overclock margins, but also higher energy efficiency, the most significant improvements can be seen in the IGP (integrated graphics processor) segment, something we’ve already explained in more detail. Although Ivy Bridge chips have been postponed on several occasions since the beginning of the year, we’re finally just a step away from their mass presence on the market, and we’ve been able to snatch a sample and quantify the extent of improvements made compared to the previous generation of the largely successful Intel CPUs.

Our own Ivy Bridge sample belongs to the Core i5 line, carries the name 3570K, has remarkably similar specs to the Sandy Bridge model Core i5-2500K and replaces it on the market, making the latter the obvious choice for drawing direct comparisons. Of course, there are differences, in the form of a redesigned and more powerful IGP, as well as the 22 nm production process itself, a higher nominal clock of 3.4 GHz and a TDP declared to 77 W. Core i5-3570K’s main selling point is the new IGP, Intel HD Graphics 4000, which won’t be placed in all Ivy Bridge CPUs, however, its place taken by HD Graphics 2500 in weaker CPUs (which has eight execution units, versus Sandy Bridge’s six). The latest and greatest HD 4000 chip which we tested has sixteen execution units, while its competitor from the previous generation, the HD 3000 inside Core i5-2500K, has twelve. Besides greater numbers, the new execution units are also better-optimised and better-performing than the old ones. Alongside all this, HD 4000 has support for DirectX 11, OpenCL 1.1, OpenGL 3.1, as well as three display outputs. We didn’t force DirectX 11 content through tests, simple because Core i5-2700K doesn’t support it, so results wouldn’t have been consequential.

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Core i5-3570K has really shown major improvements with the HD 4000 graphics, with the performance jump over HD 3000 being visible in all tests. The difference varied from 15% to 20% in most cases, but went over 50% in the most graphics-intensive of tests, which is an excellent result. For instance, the very popular 3D rendering benchmark Cinebench showed a difference of about 40% in the OpenGL test, while True Crypt’s encryption test, relying on sheer CPU power, marks a difference of about 15% in favour of the new chip. It’s clear that Ivy Bridge will show itself much better in tests that include or force graphics content, with both synthetic tests and real-world game tests giving significant advantage to Core i5-3570K. PCMark 7, and especially 3DMark Vantage and Heaven are all tests where HD 4000 shines with an increase in performance of about 50%. Just a few years ago, no-one even considered playing games on integrated graphics, yet last year, Sandy Bridge enabled gaming at low settings, while Ivy Bridge surpasses even that – 10 fps more in Resident Evil 5, and more importantly, an average of 33 fps in Full HD resolution, which can definitely be deemed “playable”. As for Quick Sync performance, we’ve unfortunately been unable to measure the speed of hardware-acceleration video transcoding on Core i5-2500K (due to driver and MediaEspresso software issues), so we can’t talk about concrete values, but the improvement is still very tangible and reaching some 40%. Now as far as overclocking goes, the upper margins are even higher, so more experienced users with quality hardware should be able to squeeze out much higher values than with a Sandy Bridge predecessor. We’ve toyed around a bit just to briefly put these claims to test; with a slight voltage increase and average air cooling system, we’ve been able to reach very stable 4.7 GHz easily – enough said.

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A piece of trivia – Intel calls this particular “beat” of their rhythm “tick+”, with the suffix referring to the fact that the IGP is the component that’s received the most upgrades. While the CPU performance jump falls in between 5% and 15%, the GPU performance has been improved by 20% to 50%, which makes it a combination of “tick” and “tock” to a certain extent, resulting in a “tick+”. The new HD Graphics 4000 is a huge step forward compared to its predecessor, and makes many more games playable than was previously the case. Ivy Bridge CPUs with this particular IGP will be quite sufficient for playing less demanding games, and are a very reasonable alternative to a cheap discreet graphics card. Most older games will work flawlessly, while newer, more taxing games will require some compromise to be made in terms of resolution and particularly quality levels, while remaining fluid nevertheless. All this creates massive hype for the next generation’s graphics subsystem (Haswell architecture), expected next year according to schedule.



Ivy Bridge novelties


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Intel has been successfully sticking to their tick-tock cycle in the past few years, defined as the period of exactly one year, during which a new architecture needs to be presented and perfected. While “tick” represents the smaller manufacturing process, “tock” is the presentation of an entirely new product with the existing manufacturing process. After the very successful “tock” last year, which brought us the Sandy Bridge architecture, 2012 is reserved for the long-awaited Ivy Bridge “tick”.

Ivy Bridge brings numerous advancements other than a smaller lithography; not only will it have 22 nm transistors, but the mobile versions of the chip will be the first to have cores declared to a TDP of 35 W. Having in mind the trend of integrating the graphics chip inside the CPU itself, something Intel has had experience with ever since the Westmere architecture, it was all but logical to expect significant improvements in this segment too. Intel has announced a noticeable increase of the total number of transistors, 1.4 billion (compared to Sandy Bridge’s 1.16 billion), an increase of 20.7%.

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As far as chipsets are concerned, the new Ivy Bridge CPUs will remain compatible with the existing LGA-1155 motherboards, but entirely new chipsets will be made available too, providing new features such as PCI-Express 3.0 and native USB 3.0 support. The new family of 7x chipsets will be made up of Z77, Z75, H77, Q77, Q75 and B75 chips, all of which will hit the market during the year, and out of a total of 14 USB ports provided by these, four will match the USB 3.0 standard. Z77 and H77 chipsets will also support Intel’s Smart Response technology, used for SSD caching, first seen on the Z68 chipset, and in fact still exclusive to it. Unlike the previous chipset generation, the entire 7x series will support Intel’s integrated HD graphics, while overclocking will remain reserved for Z-prefix chipsets.

Speaking of internal cache, there are virtually no changes, which means that cores and GPU still access the L3 cache via the ring bus. Quad-core CPUs will continue to have up to 8 MB L3 cache, while L1 and L2 remain just as unchanged compared to Sandy Bridge. The memory controller will be slightly more flexible, so mobile versions of the Ivy Bridge CPU will support DDR3L and 1.35 V modules. The maximum supported DDR3 clock on Sandy Bridge was 2133 MHz, a limit which has been increased to 2800 MHz.

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The energy efficiency of the new chips owes most to the 22 nm tri-gate transistors, for which Intel claims they can bring up to 18% increase in performance per watt compared to the 32 nm process. Besides, the operating voltage of System Agent has been reduced, which positively affects the total consumption. Intel has defined three different voltage rates for each Sandy Bridge (LFM, nominal and turbo), so that the voltage remains lowest when the CPU is in idle mode, increases to nominal when the CPU is under load, and finally peaks at turbo when, you’ve guessed it, the CPU goes into turbo mode. However, Ivy Bridge brings many more intermediate values, which tend to balance out voltage much more often; as the new CPUs will have a much more fine-tuned voltage, scalable with the CPU’s current frequency, energy efficiency is at an all-time high.

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Intel first coupled a graphics chip with a CPU with the Westmere architecture, yet the different production processes turned out to be a huge problem (the GPU was made in 45 nm, while the CPU was in 32 nm). Sandy Bridge levelled the two out to 32 nm, but also brought a radical graphics redesign, and accordingly a rise in performance. Ivy Bridge continues the story in the same direction, showing that Intel is very serious about this segment, so the GPU now has 16 execution units, four more than the previous generation. Ivy Bridge GPU supports OpenCL 1.1, DirectX 11 and OpenGL 3.1, which finally puts it on the same ground as AMD and NVIDIA, at least theoretically. Besides, Ivy graphics supports three display outputs, unlike Sandy Bridge’s two. Besides the sheer number of execution units, their individual performance has seen an increase too, so a single Ivy Bridge EU is almost twice as good as the corresponding Sandy Bridge EU, which totals to a serious increase in performance. On top of all this, Intel has added a separate L3 cache for GPU use exclusively, so that frequently used data is stored and made readily available. Other than performance increases, Intel has also lowered the clock a bit, so that the graphics chip works at a maximum of 95% of Sandy Bridge’s GPU, but at a lower voltage, yielding twice the performance-per-watt compared to Sandy Bridge. In accordance with this, Intel’s Quick Sync, the remarkable hardware video transcoding engine, has got some additional wind to its sails, working up to twice as fast, depending on the desired image quality. By the way, two versions of the integrated graphics will be available, with HD 4000 having at least a third more execution units than the weaker HD 2500.

All new CPUs will be known as the series 3000, which means that we’ll have the likes of Core i3-3200, Core i5-3330 or Core i7-3770 models (in regular, K, S and T editions).

As for the mobile versions of these CPUs, it seems that Intel has abandoned their Low Voltage or LV line, declared to a TDP of 25 W, but definitely kept Ultra Low Voltage ones declared to 17 W, with the name of U-series. Standard-voltage CPUs will now belong to the M-series, and will have a TDP of 35, 45 and 55 W. The strongest model will be Core i7-3920XM, 200 MHz faster than the currently strongest Core i7-2960XM, with the addition of HD 4000 graphics. Two quad-core CPUs follow suit, namely the 2.7 GHz Core i7-3820QM and the 2.6 GHz Core i7-3710QM, both of which bring significant clock increases compared to the Sandy Bridge quad-core generation. There’s also the replacement of the current dual-core Core i5 models with 3360M and 3320M clocked at 2.8 GHz and 2.6 GHz, respectively, while the only two CPUs from the U-series will be the 2 GHz Core i7-3667U and the 1.8 GHz Core i5-3427U.

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Clock for clock, the performance growth will be insignificant, no more than 4-6% according to Intel, so with the slightly higher clocks, we’re expecting overall performance to be improved by some 10%. Of course, the total consumption, i.e. greater energy efficiency, as well as the tangibly higher integrated graphics performance, will constitute a major plus.


Specifications & Results





SPEC. Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H Gigabyte GA-Z77MX-D3H ASUS P8Z77-V ASUS P8Z77-M PRO
CPU Socket LGA1155 Socket LGA1155 Socket LGA1155 Socket LGA1155
Intel Z77 Intel Z77 Intel Z77 Intel Z77
4 max. 32GB DDR3 2666MHz (OC) 4 max. 32GB DDR3 2400MHz (OC) 4 max. 32GB DDR3 2400MHz (OC) 4 max. 32GB DDR3 2400MHz (OC)
CrossFireX, SLI CrossFireX, SLI Quad-GPU CrossFireX, Quad-GPU SLI Quad-GPU CrossFireX, Quad-GPU SLI
2x PCI-Express 3.0 x16, 1x PCI-Express 2.0 x16, 3x PCI-Express x1, 1x PCI 2x PCI-Express 3.0 x16, 1x PCI-Express 2.0 x16, 1x PCI-Express x1 2x PCI-Express 3.0 x16, 1x PCI-E 2.0 x16, 2x PCI-Express 2.0 x1, 2x PCI 2x PCI-Express 3.0 x16, 1x PCI-E 2.0 x16, 2x PCI-Express 2.0 x1
2x SATA 6Gbps, 4x SATA 3Gbps, 2x eSATA 6Gbps, 1x mSATA 2x SATA 6Gbps, 4x SATA 3Gbps 4x SATA 6Gbps, 4x SATA 3Gbps 4x SATA 6Gbps, 4x SATA 3Gbps
VIA VT2021 High Definition Audio codec VIA VT2021 High Definition Audio codec Realtek ALC892 8-channel high definition audio CODEC  Realtek ALC892 8-channel high definition audio CODEC 
Atheros GbE LAN Atheros GbE LAN Intel 82579V Gigabit LAN, WiFi b/g/n Realtek 8111F Gigabit LAN controller
USB 8x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0 4x USB 3.0, 10x USB 2.0 6x USB 3.0, 10x USB 2.0 6x USB 3.0, 8x USB 2.0
3x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 5x Fan (CPU, Chasis...), 1x 24pin power, ATX 12V power, Audio (Front panel) 2x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 3x Fan (CPU, Chasis), 1x 24pin power, ATX 12V power, Audio (Front panel) 4x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 5x Fan, 1x 24pin power, ATX 12V power, Audio (Front panel) 3x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 4x Fan, 1x 24pin power, ATX 12V power, Audio (Front panel)
1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 1x D-Sub, 1x DVI-D, 2x eSATA 6Gb/s, 1x LAN, 6x USB 3.0/2.0, 1x Optical S/PDIF, 6x Audio, 1x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port 1x PS/2, 1x VGA, 1x DVI, 1x HDMI, 2x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0, 1x LAN, 1x S/PDIF, 5x audio 1x PS/2, 1x VGA, 1x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x LAN, 1x S/PDIF, 8-channel Audio 1x PS/2, 1x VGA, 1x DVI, 1x HDMI, 2x eSATA 6Gb/s, 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x LAN, 1x S/PDIF, 8-channel Audio
160 € 115 € 187 € 170 €
CONTACT www.gigabyte.com www.gigabyte.com www.asus.com www.asus.com

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RESULTS GA-Z77X-UD3H  (Ivy Bridge Core i5-3570K) GA-Z77X-UD3H (Sandy Bridge Core i5-2500K) GA-Z77MX-D3H (Ivy Bridge Core i5-3570K) GA-Z77MX-D3H (Sandy Bridge Core i5-2500K) ASUS-P8Z77-V (Ivy Bridge Core i5-3570K) ASUS-P8Z77-V (Sandy Bridge Core i5-2500K) ASUS-P8Z77-M PRO (Ivy Bridge Core i5-3570K) ASUS-P8Z77-M PRO (Sandy Bridge Core i5-2500K)
7-Zip 9.20 x64 comp./decomp. [KB/s] 13.985 / 162.937 11.284 / 146.844  13.319 / 158.864 11.692 / 151.241  13.667 / 159.732 11.267 / 141.722  13.668 / 157.537 11.234 / 139.668
WinRAR 4.0  [KB/s] 3.088 3.136 3.279 3.197 3.198 3.145 3.166 3.139
True Crypt  Serpent/Twofish/AES [MB/s] 297 / 477 / 2.800 230 / 413 / 2.400  295 / 467 / 2.800 235 / 403 / 2.600  297 / 477 / 2.800 230 / 413 / 2.600  295  /  471  /  2.800 232 / 418 / 2.600
AIDA 64 1.85 memory read / write / copy [MB/s] 16.255 / 18.485 / 18.405 16.269 / 18.037 / 18.419  16.029 / 18.428 / 18.279  16.016 / 18.244 / 18.196  16.130 / 18.446 / 18.327 16.247 / 18.237 / 18.519  16.114  /  18.478  /  18.226 16.233 / 18.302 / 18.417
AIDA 64 1.85 memory latency [ns]** 50,3 54,4 50,3 54,5 50,2 54,4 50,2 54,3
PCMark 7 5.261 3.808 5.256 3.835 5.259 3.817 5.246 3.799
CyberLink MediaEspresso (hardware acceleration disabled/enabled) [s] 74 / 13 84 / N/A  74 / 13 83 / N/A  76 / 13 85 / N/A  77 / 13 84 / N/A
Cinebench R11.5 x64  OpenGL/CPU [pts] 21,09 / 5,89 13,15 / 5,27  21,49 / 6 13,41 / 5,4  21,18 / 5,78 13,18 / 5,13  21,13 / 5,56 13,11 / 5,2
3DMark Vantage performance settings  1280x720(final/gpu/cpu) 4.058 / 3.211 / 19.455 1.867 / 1.438 / 17.704  4.083 / 3.229 / 19.834 1.884 / 1.452 / 17.591  4.074 / 3.202 / 19.736 1.856 / 1.446 / 17.633  4.066 / 3.199 / 19.698 1.819 / 1.418 / 17.576
Blender 2.59 x64 [sec]** 225 252 226,23 249 227,13 223,8 226,08 222,7
Heaven DX11 3.0 (DX10 1920x1080) fps/score 10,9 / 276 5,5 / 138  10,8 / 272 5,5 / 138  10,6 / 269 5,4 / 136  10,2  /  262 5,4 / 135
Resident Evil 5 medium settings DX10 1920x1080 [fps] 33,3 24,1 33,3 24,1 33,1 24 33 24,1
Dirt3 low settings 1920x1080 [fps] 23,52 20,94 23,49 20,98 23,22 20,18 23,01 20,48
**less is better
Test machine: Intel Core i5 3570K, 4x 2 GB Kingston HyperX 1866 MHz CL9, Verbatim SSD 120 GB, Cooler Master SilentPro  850W, Win7 x64 SP1


All impressions and test results summed up, all four models are fairly close in terms of performance, with no significant aberrations. It’s clear that the time of major performance differences between models from different manufacturers is behind us, and that the essential differences are always in the additional functionality and equipment, such as extra slots, better audio codecs, more powerful power units of higher quality etc. From the four motherboards in this test, two ATX models belong to the mid-range, offering much more than the bare Z77 chipset. ASUS P8Z77-V has a Wi-Fi module in the bundle, but it’s more expensive than Gigabyte’s GA-Z77MX-D3H by about the price of a standalone module, making it the most expensive of all tested models, while other differences are minor. The other two, micro-ATX models are separated by a substantial price gap, while both being derivatives of their elder brethren. ASUS P8Z77-M Pro is very close to the stronger P8Z77-V in features, while Gigabyte GA-Z77MX-D3H is an excellent entry-level solution offering a decent balance between quality, functionality, and most of all, price.


Core i5-3570K



RESULTS Intel Core i5-2500K default (3,3 - 3,7 GHz) Intel Core i5 3570K default (3,4 - 3,7 GHz) Intel Core i5 3570K @ 4,7 GHz
7-Zip 9.20 x64 comp./decomp. [KB/s] 11.284 / 146.844 13.985 / 162.937 15.249 / 205.306
WinRAR 4.0  [KB/s] 3,136 3.088 3.294
True Crypt  Serpent/Twofish/AES [MB/s] 230 / 413 / 2.400 297 / 477 / 2.800 383 / 606 / 3.400
AIDA 64 1.85 memory read / write / copy [MB/s] 16.269 / 18.037 / 18.419 16.255 / 18.485 / 18.405 16.539 / 20.047 / 18.613
AIDA 64 1.85 memory latency [ns]** 54,4 50,3 49
PCMark 7 3.808 5.261 5.715
CyberLink MediaEspresso on/off GPU  [s] 84 / - 74 / 13 59 / 12
Cinebench R11.5 x64  OpenGL [fps]/CPU 13,15 / 5,27 21,09 / 5,89 21,25 / 7,58
3DMark Vantage performance (Final/GPU/CPU) 1.867 / 1.438 / 17.704 4.058 / 3.211 / 19.455 4.232 / 3.315 / 24.892
Blender 2.59 x64 [sec]** 252 225 182
1920x1080 0xAA 0xAF
Heaven DX11 3.0 (DX10) [fps] 5,5 10,9 11
Resident Evil 5 DX10 medium [fps] 24,1 33,3 33,2
Dirt3 low [fps] 20,94 23,52 23,82
**less is better
Test machine: Gigbyte GA-Z77X-UD3H, 4x 2 GB Kingston HyperX 1866 MHz CL9, Verbatim 120 GB SSD, Cooler Master SilentPro  850W, Win7 x64 SP1


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Intel’s Core i5-3570K is a CPU which has no trouble beating its opponent in every single aspect, which makes it a great buy. Core i5-2500K don’t have enough reasons to actually make the upgrade, especially if they already have a discreet graphics card, but if this isn’t the case, Ivy Bridge Core i5-3570K is the best choice for the heart of your new system.



Architecture Ivy Bridge
Socket LGA 1155
Fabrication process [nm] 22
Frequency/Turbo [GHz] 3,4 / 3,8
Number of cores/thread 4 / 4
Memory type
DDR3 1333/1600
L1  / L2  / L3 cache [Kb] 256 / 1024 / 6144
IGPU Intel HD 4000
IGPU frequency/Turbo [MHz] 650 / 1150
TDP [W] 77
Price Sample
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Ivy Bridge novelties