Articles: Mainboards

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When we got our hands in as many as three Intel mainboards based on the Intel Z77 Express chipset, we immediately decided to proceed with the review of Intel DZ77GA-70K and Intel DZ77RE-75K for obvious reasons. First of all, these two mainboards belong to the “Extreme” series, i.e. they are designed for overclockers and boast a maximally extended set of features. Moreover, and this is probably the most important reason, we were very anxious to check out the new Visual BIOS, which is implemented in these boards. As for the Intel DZ77BH-55K, we decided to put it aside for the time being, thinking that some common “Media” board could certainly wait, especially since it would most likely have some awkward design, limited functionality and old BIOS. However, it turned out we were totally wrong to think this way and could easily review the new Intel DZ77BH-55K multimedia mainboard together with its “extreme” sisters. Even the description of this mainboard on the official Intel web-site is very similar to that of the “Extreme” series products, because the board is optimized for the K series processors with an unlocked clock frequency multiplier. According to the web-site, Intel claims the following: “With hardware optimized to handle overclocking and performance tuning of the core, graphics, and memory, we have provided great flexibility for every performance enthusiast out there“. Besides, this board also has the new Visual BIOS.

I have to admit that it isn’t surprising that we underestimated the potential of the Intel DZ77BH-55K mainboard in the beginning. In fact, it is not only the way Intel categorize their mainboards that is confusing. Even the way they name their mainboard models is far from obvious, compared with the model naming by other mainboard makers. The first letter in the model name of a desktop Intel mainboard will always be “D” for “desktop”, while for server boards all model names will always start with a letter “S” for “server”. Then we see the chipset name and the abbreviation for the mainboard codename. For Intel DZ77RE-75K it is “Roads End”, for Intel DZ77GA-70K – “Gasper”, and the codename of the Intel DZ77BH-55K is “Blue Hills”. However, all these codenames and abbreviations do not mean anything for the end-users. Which board is a higher-end model, which one has richer functionality? All this remains unknown. We can only assume that the last letter “K” in the model name indicates that the board is optimized for the K-series processors. And in this case it means that at least one more board from the “Media” series should be quite decent - the Intel DZ77SL-50K, though this one could be a little simpler than the three models mentioned above, because it has a “50” before the “K”, which is a lower number than in any of the other model names. Following this logic we can understand the hierarchy of the Intel DZ77RE-75K, Intel DZ77GA-70K, Intel DZ77BH-55K and Intel DZ77SL-50K. However, it is still impossible to determine the differences between Intel DH77KC, Intel DH77EB or Intel DH77DF judging by their model names alone.

However, Intel mainboards have significantly improved almost in all aspects lately. So, there is hope that their model naming system will eventually be revised to something more descriptive and intuitive. But while we are waiting for that to happen, let’s take a closer look at our today’s main hero - Intel DZ77BH-55K mainboard.

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