Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH review
The Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH ATX motherboard is one of the few on the market to have Thunderbolt ports, the high-speed transfer and display standard that's most commonly found on Apple Macs.
Alongside its pair of Thunderbolt ports, the motherboard has six rear USB3 ports, plus a header for another two, along with three USB headers. There's also a PS/2 port, which is rather unusual to see nowadays, plus the usual integrated graphics outputs (HDMI, DVI, RGB and DisplayPort) and both digital and analogue audio outputs at the back. There are also headers at for an optical S/PDIF input and a serial port. Audio is supplied by a Realtek ALC892 codec.
The motherboard has three PCI-E x16 slots, the lowest of which is actually a x4 slot that only works if you're using an Ivy Bridge processor and is designed for expansion cards rather than graphics. The main PCI-E x16 graphics slot runs at full speed, but this drops to x8 if the second slot is populated in dual-card SLI or CrossFireX mode, as they share bandwidth. There are also three PCI-E x1 slots, one of which will be blocked by most graphics cards, and a PCI slot.
There are two SATA3 connectors and four SATA2 connectors, one of which becomes inactive if you instead use the mSATA connector further up the motherboard. You may want to do this, as mSATA is a useful way to add a small SSD for caching to improve hard disk performance.
The motherboard's performance was very slightly above average for the Z77 chipset, producing an overall score of 102 in our benchmark tests. However, unlike rival boards, the Z77X-UP4 TH doesn't have an automatic overclock option either on the board or in its UEFI interface. The UEFI itself is fairly easy to use, although not as glossy as some of its rivals. There are plenty of options to configure and overclock your system, but no handy pull-down menus, so you'll have to enter everything manually.
At a bit over £150, the Z77X-UP4 TH is inexpensive as far as Thunderbolt motherboards go, but if you don’t need that technology, the excellent Asus Maximus Y Gene is a better choice.
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