Z77 Motherboards for Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs

August 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Along with the new Ivy Bridge line of CPUs, Intel also released a new chipset architecture. The Panther Point codename means a new basis for all of Intel’s 7 series chipsets and adds a new layer of high performance features like the onboard PCI Express 3 and the USB 3.0 port implementation.

The Z77 chipset brings new features that high-end enthusiasts will surely love. Ever since the chipset was released, every major manufacturer has built models based on z77 chipset that compete both in price and performance.

The new Ivy Bridge is a lot faster than its Sandy Bridge predecessor and you’ll want to get the maximum performance out to the last bit. This means getting the best motherboard that’s right for the price and brings a wide set of features which you can actually use.

The last chipset, the Z68, was a small upgrade to the P67. In the case of Z77, there is certainly a leap forward since this new technology unlocks Intel’s HD graphics chip for use and adds the Intel Ready Boost technology.

The Z77 is also compatible with the Sandy Bridge processors like the Core i5-2500K or the Core i7-2600K, but certain newer features might not work in such a configuration.

Z77 Raises the Bar: PCI-E3 and USB 3.0

The most important step forward would be the implementation of PCI-E 3 support. This is the first major evolution for the PCI-E in the last seven years and it uses an identical slot design, making it backwards compatible with older PCI-E 2 cards. The actual improvement is in the bandwidth which has been raised from the PCI-E 2 to 32GB/s. This means each of the 16x slot’s lanes offers a full 1GB/sec in each direction.

Another great addition is the USB 3.0 support. it has been available on other motherboards for some time now, but the new Z77 guarantees up to four native USB 3.0 ports.

IGP Advancements

An awesome improvement is the ability to summon the Intel HD4000 Graphics component from the CPU and output to three different screens without the need of a discrete graphics card. This ability isn’t a new concept, since AMDs Eyefinity or NVIDIA Surround have already tackled this issue, but this does come in handy where a multi-screen output is needed but the circumstances won’t allow for a discrete GPU.

DDR3 Goes even Higher

The Z77 has the same dual-channel DDR3 layout as previous P67 and Z68 boards, but with the new Ivy Bridge chip addition, higher memory frequencies can be achieved.

The 1,600MHz DDR3 modules are now supported, but there are a lot more possible memory frequencies reaching heights of up to 2,667MHz.

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