GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UP4 TH - Thunderbolt Technology Bonus

11/5/2012 9:08:44 AM

Last month, we checked out GIGA-BYTE’s GA-Z77X-UP5 TH; you’ll find that the GA-Z77X-UP4 TH is almost identical. The primary difference is that the GA-Z77X-UP4 TH skips the wireless card that supports both Bluetooth (4.0) and dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n). The big bonus is the “TH” at the end of the product name, which denotes support for Intel’s Thunderbolt technology.

Description: GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UP4 TH


This Z77-based motherboard offers two Thunderbolt ports, which give you the capability to daisy chain up to 12 devices via Thunderbolt cables, as well as two digital displays via DisplayPort cables. Support for 12 devices across two ports is pretty impressive, but what should really impress you is the bidirectional transfer speed of up to 10Gbps twice as fast as the theoretical maximum of USB 3.0. GIGABYTE indicates that a Thunderbolt connection can transfer 1TB of data in only five minutes.

The GA-Z77X-UP4 TH also provides a number of overclocking features. You’ll find GIGABYTE’s 3D Power Utility, which lets you control the motherboard’s overvoltage protection, load-line calibration, and PWM frequency to ensure stable overclocks. Meanwhile, the board’s All Digital PWM controller digitally monitors the power sent to your system’s processor, memory, and VTT. In the BIOS, you’ll find an Advanced Mode that combines the controls found in the 3D Power Utility with traditional overclocking settings.

As you may expect from a Z77 motherboard, the GA-Z77X-UP4 TH supports a variety of the newest standards and technologies. For example, the three PCI-E x16 slots support the new PCI-E 3.0 standard for high-bandwidth GPUs. GIGABYTE has also included Lucid’s Virtu MVP that allows for your discrete and integrated GPUs to work together for improved video processing and media playback. The rear I/O panel offers six USB 3.0 ports and two Thunderbolt ports. On the board itself, GIGABYTE includes an mSATA port that makes it easy to utilize Intel’s Smart Response and Rapid Start Technologies with an appropriate mSATA SSD.

The GA-Z77X-UP4 TH performed well in our benchmark tests when paired with an Intel Core i7-3770K and two ZOTAC GeForce GTX 580s in SLI. In 3DMark 11, we saw an overall score of X4049 and a Graphics score of 3732. Totals of 7.49 points in Cinebench 11.5 and 1335.57 pixels per second were consistent with the rest of the Z77 chipset motherboards we’ve tested. We ran 16GB of Patriot Memory Viper Xtreme DDR3-1600 through SiSoftware Sandra 2012’s Memory Bandwidth benchmark and saw a bandwidth 18.4GBps.

Overclockers should enjoy playing around with all of the sophisticated BIOS options, while gamers will like support for triple SLI and CrossFire configurations. GIGABYTE’s smart additions to the chipset add features and convenience that make the motherboard a good value.


Price: $184.99


Specs: Max memory: 32GB (DDR3-1600); Slots: 3 PCI-E x16, 3 PCI-E x1, 1 PCI; Storage; 2 6Gbps SATA, 4 3Gbps SATA, 1 mSATA; Rear I/O: VGA, DVI-D, HDMI, 2 Thunderbolt, 6 USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, audio I/O

Test system specs: Processor: Intel Core i7-3770K; GPU: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 580 (2x, SLI);

RAM: 16GB Patriot Memory Viper Xtreme DDR3-1600; Storage: 128GB Crucial RealSSD C300;

OS: Windows 7 Enterprise (64-bit)


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