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Review: Intel Z77 chipset and Gigabyte Z77-D3H motherboard

by Tarinder Sandhu on 8 April 2012, 08:04 4.0

Tags: Gigabyte (TPE:2376), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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Testing methodology - all change

Comparison systems

Motherboard Gigabyte Z77-D3H ASUS P8Z68-V PRO
Motherboard BIOS F10 3203
Chipset driver Intel Inf and IMEI 8.0.1399
Processor Intel Core i7-2700K
Memory G.Skill 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3
Memory timings 9-9-9-24-2T @ 1,600MHz
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB and Intel HD 3000 Graphics
Graphics driver ForceWare 301.10 and Intel
Disk drive Corsair V128 SSD
Optical drive Sony AD-7263S
Chassis Corsair Graphite 600T
Power supply Corsair AX750
Operating system Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

CPU and memory benchmarks

AIDA64 v2.30.1900
Benchmark that analyses memory bandwidth and latency
MediaEspresso 6.5
Encodes 720p episode (55m) into BlackBerry Bold-friendly 480x360 version in mp4
PCMark 7
An all-encompassing test to evaluate system performance
Our number-crunching benchmark stresses a single core by calculating Pi to 10m places
wPrime 2.0.8 Another number-crunching benchmark that stresses all available CPU cores/threads
CINEBENCH 11.5 Using Cinebench's multi-CPU render, this cross-platform benchmark stresses all cores

GPU benchmarks

3DMark 11 b1.1 DX11, run with the performance preset
3DMark Vantage b1.2 DX10, run at the default performance preset
Just Cause 2 DX10, 1,280x720 low/medium and 1,920x1,080 high settings
Batman: Arkham City DX11, 1,920x1,080 with very high quality settings

General benchmarks

Storage performance USB 3.0 read and write speed, SSD average read and write speed
Power consumption While idling and when running wPrime and 3DMark Vantage


All change, all change. We've built these platforms from scratch. The choice of CPU, Core i7 2700K, isn't accidental, and it may give you an inkling into which Ivy Bridge processor we have for comparative results that are due to be published soon.

We're now using a GeForce GTX 680 GPU as the discrete card. Doing so enables us to see where the graphics bottlenecks lie, plus it provides crazy-high numbers. There's a significant change in the gaming benchmarks and we'll explain all in the commentary.

The comparison here is to see how the budget Gigabyte Z77 board performs against a well-tuned Z68 from ASUS. Both boards are tested with the latest BIOS and, as far as we can determine, with the same settings. We'll be adding Intel X79 and AMD 990FX results once a certain IB chip becomes available. All tests are run with the GeForce GTX 680 in the system unless otherwise stated.