Over the ads, we have had the opportunity to speak to you in the last days of the new Z77 Express motherboards from ASRock , ASUS , Gigabyte and MSI will be officially available from 9 April. Remember, the Z77 Express chipset and H77 Express succeed the Z68 Express and H67 Express respectively (P67 Express has no successor has literally).
The main change from the current chip is the native support for USB 3.0 - so it is far from a revolution. Note the existence of an intermediate version, the Z75 Express, which does not support the Intel SSD caching SRT technology but retains the ability to have access to overclocking processor like the Z77, which provides interim management at the flexibility of PCI-Express lines. Again it comes to clamping software for segmenting the range, and it seems that motherboard manufacturers are boycotting the Z75 for the exclusive benefit of the Z77. These motherboards will be compatible with the 32nm LGA 1155 processors (Sandy Bridge) and 22nm (Ivy Bridge generation), and natively while the cards with Intel Series 6 chipsets will require an updated bios. Finally all these cards will support PCI Express 3.0 natively provided by the Ivy Bridge interface, which is not systematic on older models.
We have now in the hands of most data sheets, which allows us to present our usual table comparing their main characteristics. It gathers this time not less than 34 motherboards!
As you can see, as usual on the high end there is a race on the number of phases with up to 16 phases at ASUS and ASRock phases and 12 Gigabyte and MSI for those that support the VCC, either within the CPU cores and the cache. Knowing that stage, although their quality is variable from one model to another, can provide a good yield 20A to 25A, some models appear largely oversized.
HD Audio management is usually devoted to an HD codec Realtek more or less evolved. Maximus V GENE on ASUS uses under the name SupremeFX III HD Audio Analog Digital codec integration has been careful to avoid the maximum interference, and it is coupled to the software following Creative X-Fi MB2. Gigabyte uses the same software on the GA-Z77X-UD5H but with a Realtek ALC898, while the rest of the range uses either a Creative Sound Core 3D chip (the G1.Sniper 3 and M3) a VIA VT2021 codec.
Network side choices are multiple cards with some offering two Gigabit ports such as ASUS P8Z77-V Workstation and P8Z77 Deluxe and Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3 and GA-Z77X-UD5H. ASRock tends to use a Broadcom controller, while for ASUS is Intel for high-end and Realtek for the medium and the entry level. Gigabyte uses Intel or Atheros chips, either a conventional chip or chip Killer E2200 supposed improved latencies, while MSI include the Intel or Realtek depending on the range.
On USB 3 is the splits. MSI has chosen to do in simplicity and there are only 4 ports managed by the Z77 Express, which should be sufficient for 99% of users, while others add 2, 4, 6 or 8 additional ports! In this matter the record is held by the Z77 Extreme 9 that uses two chips manager Etron each 4 additional ports. For his cards 10 3 USB ports (G1.Sniper 3 and GA-Z77X-UD5H), Gigabyte, for its part did a pretty poor choice because from two ports managed by the VIA hubs allow the Z77 to have 8.
In addition to the 6 SATA ports natively supported by the Z77 Express (two SATA 6G), manufacturers integrate up to 4 SATA additional 6G ports that are managed by fleas ASMedia ASM1061 on ASRock Z77 Professional and Z77 Extreme 9 or Marvell 9172 on the Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3. Note also that MSI has completely abandoned the eSATA while its implementation remains almost systematic at ASRock. From ASUS and Gigabyte, it is variable. Firewire has also tended to disappear, like PCI ports.
The high-end cards from some manufacturers integrate management of 802.11n wireless network, so the ASRock Z77 Extreme 9 via a card manager mPCIE also Bluetooth. The management of these two standards is native on the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe, P8Z77-V Pro, P8Z77-V P8Z77-I Deluxe and optional, a PCI-E x1 card, the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H and GA -Z77X-UD3H.
In the special connectors, note the ASUS ROG Maximus V Gene presence of a port for connecting a mPCIe-Combo card can accommodate both an mSATA SSD and a mPCIE card. ASRock Z77 Extreme 6 is satisfied with a mPCIE harbor while all Gigabyte ATX range is equipped with a mSATA port. Finally MSI is the only one to implement the Thunderbolt Z77A-GD80 on his card.
The rates of these motherboards are not yet really fixed, but the first information lead us to believe that similar characteristics there will be an extra cost of around 10 € compared to the Z68, even knowing that they are about € 10 more expensive than the P67 level characteristics (excluding management PGI) close.
Given this plethora of references it will of course be difficult, except specific need to make a choice. We will try to help you there via the publication of a comparative motherboards Z77 Express in April!