Just yesterday, we wrote about yet another overclocking record for the Intel Core i7 3770K processor, which was reached using Gigabyte's latest Z77X-UP7 motherboard. This new board has officially launched this week and is the manufacturer's new top model. The Z77X-UP7 has a heavy-duty power design with 32+2+2 phases and IR3550 PowIRstages chips, capable of delivering up to 60 Amps. In theory, this means that the motherboard is capable of providing the processor with up to 2000 watts. While a CPU will never even come near such a value, the big margin seemingly allows Gigabyte's creation to run a Core i7 processor at 7 GHz without any problems.
The motherboard is built around Gigabyte's Ultra Durable 5 principle, which features a fully digital power design, several physical buttons for overclockers, an an OC BIOS. Four PCI-Express 3.0 slots are available on the board, allowing users to run Quad-SLI or Quad-CrossFireX configurations as well. The use of a PLX switch chip provides each slot with eight lanes at 3.0 speed, although the underlying bandwidth is limited to the sixteen lanes of the processor's PCI-Express controller. Single-GPU overclockers prefer not to have such switch chips on their boards, because it may result in a marginal signal processing delay. For those consumers, Gigabyte has designed a bypass system. By placing a graphics card in the black PCI-Express slot, it communicates with the processor directly, omitting the PLX chip.
The motherboard's new UEFI BIOS is also designed explicitly with overclockers in mind. A backup EFI can be enabled when the regular EFI doesn't function properly anymore, for instance after a system crash or failed flashing. The Z77X-UP7 board features four DDR3 memory slots, a variety of USB 3.0 ports, capable of outputting 3x as much power as normally, dual Gigabit LAN, four different video outputs, a PS/2 combi connector, onboard mSATA connector for caching SSDs or WiFi modules and 10 SATA connectors. The motherboard has yet to receive an official pricetag.
Gigabyte launches new motherboard flag ship; the Z77X-UP7