Intel DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Review

by Rob Williams on September 7, 2012 in Motherboards

Intel’s CPUs currently dominate the enthusiast market, and for good reason. But has the company been able to carry the mojo that makes its Ivy Bridge processors so drool-worthy over to its motherboard line-up? With the company’s DZ77GA-70K in-hand, that’s just what we’re here to find out.

Test System and Results

On the previous page, I mentioned that we’re beginning to take steps to improve our motherboard content (and all content, for that matter), and with this one, we’re deploying one upgrade (or downgrade, depending on how you look at things).

Generally speaking, performance isn’t a major focus with motherboards, as they all perform just about the same. For that reason, we realized it was a bit foolish to dedicate 6 or 7 pages of our review to performance-related information, while much of that effort could have gone into exploring other things the board has to offer. So, we’ve chosen to do away with graphs, have moved to tabled results, and are condensing all of our performance findings to a single page.

At the same time, we also took the opportunity to modernize our tables a little bit (with huge kudos to Jamie for handling the bulk of this work), so we’d welcome feedback on what we’ve settled on. Fine-tuning won’t be much of a problem, so we’re open to critique.

In the near-future, we’ll publish an article that’ll be updated on a regular basis which encapsulates all of our testing procedures and test descriptions, since space just doesn’t allow for that here.

Our test system can be seen below. Aside from the motherboard being swapped out, all other hardware remains the same. We’ve opted to use Intel’s Core i7-3770K for all of our LGA1155 testing, along with 16GB of Kingston’s HyperX memory.

Intel LGA1155 Test System
ProcessorsIntel Core i7-3770K – Quad-Core, 3.50GHz, Default Voltage
MotherboardASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE (BIOS: ‘1401’ 07/30/2012)
GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H (BIOS: ‘F14’ 08/23/2012)
Intel DZ77GA-70K (BIOS: ‘0049’ 07/13/2012)
MSI Z77A-GD55 (BIOS: ‘1.5’ 07/17/2012)
MemoryKingston HyperX Genesis 4x4GB – DDR3-1600 8-8-8-24 @ 1.65v
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 7850 1GB (Catalyst 12.7 Driver)
AudioOn-Board Creative X-Fi Audio
StorageCorsair Force F160 160GB Solid-State Drive (OS Drive)
Kingston HyperX 240 Solid-State Drive (I/O Testing)
Power SupplyCorsair HX850W
ChassisCorsair Obsidian 700D Full-Tower
CoolingCorsair H70 Self-Contained Liquid Cooler
Et ceteraWindows 7 Professional 64-bit

Before heading into the results, there are a couple of things I need to mention. With its P67 line-up, ASUS rolled out a feature that auto-overclocks the motherboard, a feature we’re none-to-fond of as we feel it’s a cheap way to make it look like one board seriously out-performs another – in effect misleading the reader. To avoid this, we’ve tweaked the Turbo multipliers to match up to Intel spec, and so far, so good.

However, we discovered that GIGABYTE’s current crop of boards do the same thing. Here though, it’s made even worse, since it seems even if we force Turbo multipliers, the board will at times burst past them. Intel spec normally sees an i7-3770K top-out at 3.70GHz per core under a full stress, while when testing GIGABYTE’s Z77X-UD5H, we’d often see two or more cores burst to 3.8GHz. This of course changes the results to its favor.

This all said, going forward we’re opting to run a board “as-is”, because vendors have made it far too challenging for us to keep the playing field level. It’ll just be something we’ll have to preface our results with to make sure everyone understands why one board may appear 5 or 10% faster than another. As always, it’s not so much performance that matters, but whether or not one board falls behind.

That all said, let’s get on with it!

BCLK ValuesResult
Intel DZ77GA-70K99.8 MHz
MSI Z77A-GD55100.0 MHz

We wouldn’t expect too much of a sway on the BCLK side of things, and really, there isn’t one. For an enthusiast board, though, Intel sure does seem to be playing it safe.

Cold Boot to DesktopResult
ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE20.894s
Intel DZ77GA-70K27.708s
MSI Z77A-GD5522.604s
Lower results are better.

Intel’s board falls quite a bit behind here, although I’ll readily admit that anything under the 30 second mark is quite impressive. But – it’s hard to ignore the fact that ASUS, GIGABYTE and MSI all come quite a bit closer to 20 seconds than 30.

PCMark 7Test 1Test 2Test 3Test 4Test 5Test 6Test 7
ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE23.078.4995.6612.3419.9821.955.43
GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H23.068.77496.5412.3618.6122.675.41
Intel DZ77GA-70K23.088.15489.8911.7120.2221.515.4
MSI Z77A-GD5523.118.31397.6312.6420.2122.675.44
(1) Video Playback (2) Video Transcoding (3) Gaming (Graphics) (4) Image Manipulation
(5) Importing Pictures (6) Web Browsing (7) Windows Defender

MSI manages to dominate this test, though all of the results are rather close to one another across the board (no pun). Let’s see how things stand up overall:

PCMark 7 Suite ScoresResult
Intel DZ77GA-70K5323
MSI Z77A-GD555506
Higher results are better.

Like the previous set of results, MSI leads the pack here, while Intel’s board falls just a bit behind.

Autodesk 3ds Max 2011Result
Intel DZ77GA-70K1403s
MSI Z77A-GD551325s
Results in seconds; lower is better.

As I mentioned near the top of this page, GIGABYTE’s board tends to reach out past the hard Turbo limits I set, and it’s with this particular test where I saw it the most. So, it’s of little surprise that it’s found itself in the lead here.

Cinebench R11.5CPUOpenGL
ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE83.297.45
GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H86.207.85
Intel DZ77GA-70K77.387.07
MSI Z77A-GD5580.747.49
Higher results are better.

Much like the 3ds Max test, GIGABYTE has successfully trolled all of its competitors with Cinebench.

HD Tune Pro 5MinimumAverageMaximumLatency
ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE353.4379.6412.40.043ms
GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H371.9375.7384.00.046ms
Intel DZ77GA-70K350.6358.3366.40.045ms
MSI Z77A-GD55381.3384.7397.50.043ms
Min/Avg/Max results in MB/s; higher is better. Latency results in ms; lower is better.

ASUS manages the best “Maximum” here, while it along with MSI share the best access time. Intel again lags a bit behind, though there are no major anomolies to speak of.

DatabaseWorkstationFile Server
Iometer 1.1.0ReadWriteReadWriteReadWrite
ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE4451.182191.305995.341501.516060.141515.90
GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H4188.3872062.595702.641427.5895753.7381436.302
Intel DZ77GA-70K4272.092103.736056.631513.945772.781441.31
MSI Z77A-GD554439.992186.035937.081482.605947.931485.10
Results in IOPS; higher is better.

While Intel didn’t dominate our HD Tune test, it does manage to take home the Iometer Workstation crown. ASUS cleans up both Database and File Server, causing GIGABYTE and MSI to do little but weep.

Ethernet (iperf)50 Jobs (64KB)50 Jobs (1518KB)
ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE (Intel 82579V)939941
GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H (Intel 82579V)936918
Intel DZ77GA-70K (Intel 82579V)930920
MSI Z77A-GD55 (Intel 82579V)932942
Results in Mbit/s; higher is better.

Iperf is one of those tests where best values shouldn’t be highlighted, because the end result can be rather random. Much like our performance tests in general, the goal here isn’t to see which board performs the best, but which lags behind (if any). Each board happens to offer the same Intel on-board NIC, so that’s what we tested with across the board. Results will be a bit lower with pretty-well any other on-board solution.

Adobe Lightroom 4.1Result
ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE522.352s
GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H522.981s
Intel DZ77GA-70K548.780s
MSI Z77A-GD55526.887
Results in seconds; lower is better.

It’s been a recurring theme that won’t end here. Intel places last, while the others could almost be considered equal (with the slight exception of MSI).

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5Result
Intel DZ77GA-70K716
MSI Z77A-GD55679
Results in seconds; lower is better.

MSI rendered our video quicker than any other, with ASUS coming painstakingly close. Both GIGABYTE and Intel settle in the back, but GIGABYTE still manages to come quite a bit ahead of Intel.

Sandra 2012 SP4IntegerFloatCacheMem Latency
ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE20.9020.90123.0522.20
GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H20.7920.79123.3922.8
Intel DZ77GA-70K21.3421.33120.16324.4
MSI Z77A-GD5521.1721.11123.7224.70
Int/Float/Cache results in GB/s; higher is better. Latency results in ns; lower is better.

Given what we’ve seen so far, it’s a little ironic to see Intel pull ahead here, but it’s indeed happened. On the latency side, both ASUS and GIGABYTE come out about even, while both Intel and MSI trail behind, but just a smidgen.

Gaming3DMark 11Left 4 Dead
ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE5629228.93
GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H5567221.39
Intel DZ77GA-70K5599223.42
MSI Z77A-GD555562224.01
3DMark results in points; higher is better. Left 4 Dead results in FPS; higher is better.

ASUS cleans house, but Intel proves its no slouch where gaming is concerned. Overall, most of the results are on par with one another, which is what we’d expect to see.

Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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