A lot of Z77 motherboards will start in the say 200 EUR range, this 125 EUR this Z77MX-D3H TH motherboard seems to offer really great value. The overall baseline performance was a little lower at default settings compared to the Intel reference board. What manufacturers do these days is to increase the Turbo's on the processors a little with the more High-end products and leave things at default for the products like shown today. However the overall baseline performance is as expected and with a little tweak in the BIOS this cute little product performs as well as any other Z77 motherboard available on the market.
The price of roughly 125 EUR is attractive, however it could have been an even cheaper motherboard if Gigabyte would have dropped the Thunderbolt controller, perhaps the price would even be in the 100 EUR bracket. Truth is, Thunderbolt is lovely .. but on the PC there just isn't any need for it. People are just very savvy with the much more common USB 3.0 and the devices available for it.
With the baseline offset aside, we are admittedly impressed with this motherboard. The overall looks are definitely okay enough considering the price range this motherboard is operating in. My suggestion to Gigabyte however would be to drop the baby blue color design. It's dated and doesn't for well in the current mind-set of the hardware market. PCB's should be black.
The tweaking performance of this mATX motherboard surprised me. We got the 3770K processor rocking stable at 4800 MHz with the meory (XMP enabled) at 2666 MHz and that's not bad at all, no Sir. I do wish the board would have had a slightly improved power circuitry though with a 8-pin CPU power header instead of a 4-pin.
Ivy bridge processors run hotter when overclocked opposed to Sandy Bridge, reaching 4500~4800 MHz is fairly easy to accomplish with the motherboard but you'll find yourself needing juice in the 1.4 Volts range of the processor. So be prepared for processor heat, and proper liquid cooling definitely deserves a recommendation alright.
As shown we quickly popped in G.Skill's new Trident X 2666 MHz memory as well, and in the BIOS we simply flicked the XMP profile to on and boom, the memory was running at a rather amazing clock frequency of 2666 MHz. Astonishing really, though that alone will not bring you heaps of extra performance -- the reality remains that a set of way more affordable 1600 MHz DIMMs balance things out really well.
Currently the price point of the Gigabyte Z77MX-D3H TH motherboard is set at give or take 125 EU. For that amount of money you'll receive a complete motherboard with a wide variety in terms of connectivity, design and features. And sure it does miss out on sport features like on board buttons, pre-overclock modes and diagnostic LEDs etc. But the reality is that it offers plenty enough for the money. Looking at components, it all good as well. The mobo has quality capacitors, good mosfets and solid core chokes so yeah, overall this is a good build.
What was incredibly fun to see is that the processor was very easy to overclock with. Fiddling around with the multiplier and voltages alone is enough to reach 4.8 0GHz on heatpipe based cooling. Due to the power design of the motherboard that probably will be your upper limit though.
So if you do not want too spend too much money, get all the new features including multi-GPU gaming option and really would like to be on a small form factor. For 125 EUR the Z77MX-D3H TH motherboard is your new best friend. Honestly size does not matter as it will achieve everything the more mainstream and enthusiast boards do including up-tp 2-way multi-GPU functionality. We can definitely recommend it. However if you want to overclock a little more to the extreme, topping that 5 GHz, then you probably want to look into a slightly more expensive offering. But for what it is, we just love it.
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