20 Intel Z77 motherboards reviewed and compared

Which board should you choose for your Ivy Bridge system?

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Introduction

We will have to wait another couple days for Intel's third generation Ivy Bridge processors, but the related Z77 motherboards are officially available since last weekend. So, what's new and what's different about this new 7 series? A lot of information was already out there about these new motherboards, in part due to the CeBIT fair in March. Intel had so little control over the introduction this time around that several of the mainboards have been available for a while now, even though last sunday should have been the first official day of release. Still, there remains plenty to be told about the new generation motherboards. In particular, how well do they actually perform? Hardware.Info tested no less than 20 Z77 motherboards to find out. If you're looking for affordable or relatively high-end (but not extreme) Z77 motherboards, then you should be able to find what you need in our review.


For the new generation Ivy Bridge processors Intel designed a new line of motherboard chipsets, the 7 series. The most high-end of the different chipsets, and therefore the most interesting for hardware fans, is the Intel Z77. This chipset, which can be seen as the successor to the Intel Z68, offers the widest array of features and the best overclocking potential in the 7-series chipsets.

The new Ivy Bridge processors will use the same Socket 1155 processor socket as the current Sandy Bridge processors. The Intel Z77 and the other 7-series chipsets are therefore intended for Socket 1155 motherboards. Additionally, the new platform is both forward and backward compatible. This entails that existing Sandy Bridge processors will work fine in the new 7-series chipset motherboards (providing the correct BIOS is created) and also that Ivy Bridge processors will work in existing 6-series chipset motherboards.

This backward compatibility means that we are able to extensively test the new Z77 boards now already, with a currect generation Sandy Bridge processor. Equipped with an Intel Core i5 2500K, we put no less than 20 Z77 mainboards through their paces:


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