Closer Look at Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH mainboard ships in a similarly designed box, as the one of the previous model, although this box is a little bit smaller in size.
However, the list of included accessories is significantly more modest:
- Four SATA cables with metal connector locks, half with L-shaped locks and another half with straight ones;
- A flexible bridge for Nvidia 2-Way SLI graphics configurations;
- I/O Shield for the back panel;
- User manual;
- Brief installation guide in different languages;
- DVD disk with software and drivers;
- “Gigabyte” logo sticker for the system case.
Just like the higher-end model, this board also uses Ultra Durable 5 technology, which among other things implies the use of high-quality IR3550 PowIRstage chips for the processor voltage regulator circuitry. The heating parts of the voltage regulator are covered with two heatsinks, and there are two additional protective heat0-dissipating plates on the back of the PCB. The heatsinks have special holes for the heatpipes, but there are no heatpipes there. This isn’t an issue at all, they do not warm up too much anyway. All heatsinks, including the third one on the mainboard chipset, are fastened using reliable screws.
The mainboard also has four color-coded DDR3 DIMM slots that can take up to 32 GB of RAM working in dual-channel mode. The set of expansion card slots and their operational modes also haven’t changed. Just like on the top model, there is one PCI slot, three PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots and three PCI Express x16 slots for the graphics cards. The third slot will only work with Ivy Bridge processors, which is mentioned on the sticker right next to it. There is also an mSATA slot that allows taking advantage of such technologies as Intel Smart Response or Intel Rapid Start. The Intel Z77 Express chipset delivers support for two SATA 6 Gbps ports and four SATA 3 Gbps ports. One of the four SATA 3 Gbps prots will be unavailable if you are using the mSATA connector, which is stated on the corresponding sticker next to it.
Overall, we find the following ports and connectors in the back:
- Universal PS/2 connector for keyboard or mouse;
- Six USB 3.0 ports (blue connectors) implemented via Intel Z77 Express and four-port VIA VL800 controller. Another internal pin-connector provides support for additional two USB 3.0 ports, and three internal USB 2.0 connectors can be transformed into six USB 2.0 ports;
- D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI and two mini DisplayPort (Thunderbolt)video Outs;
- One eSATA 6 Gbps port implemented via Marvell 88SE9172 controller providing one internal SATA 6 Gbps connector;
- One local network port (network adapter is built on Realtek RTL8111F Gigabit network controller);
- Two Thunderbolt ports implemented via Intel DSL3510L controller;
- Optical S/PDIF and five analogue audio-jacks provided by eight-channel Realtek ALC892 codec.
Just like in the previous case, we wish they used the backpanel space more efficiently. The two rarely utilized Thunderbolt ports could have been placed one on top of the other (just as the sticker shows), saving a lot of precious space.
The board also has five four-pin fan connectors, ha an additional PLX PEX 8605 hub providing the missing PCI Express lanes, and two BIOS chips. However, there is no BIOS switch on this mainboard, no buttons, no POST-code indicator, no voltage control points, no additional SATA or IEEE1394 (FireWire) controllers. Instead, we have a COM-port.