Intel Desktop Board DZ77GA-70K Review (Page 13 of 13)

Page 13 - Overclocking and Conclusion

Before Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge, overclocking your CPU involved changing half a dozen settings to try to obtain the highest clock speed. This was because there were so many different ways to obtain your maximum frequency; things were a bit complicated even if you are an experienced computer enthusiast. Since Intel locked down the base clock on their latest products, tuning your processor now only involves changing the multiplier with K-series CPUs -- making this process intrinsically simple. On my Intel DZ77GA-70K, I was able to attain 4.7GHz at reasonable voltages. This involved bumping the core voltage to 1.305V with Load Line Calibration maxed out. 4.8GHz was bootable, but it was not Prime95 stable. For practical purposes, I left my Core i7-3770K on the DZ77GA-70K running at 4.6GHz with a +60mV offset -- putting it at 1.280V according to AIDA64 Extreme Engineer under full load. This is the exact same result I got with a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H.

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There is a lot to like about the Intel Desktop Board DZ77GA-70K. Really, there is. In fact, I am using it in my main computer right now. The company's Visual BIOS is simply a delight to use; it is unlike anything else in the market today -- modern design, smooth operation, very user friendly, and loaded with features. The board layout is also pretty much spot on for what you get -- it is hard to complain about anything, and as a hardware design engineer at a large consumer electronics company, you really have to give the guys at Intel a lot of credit for doing what they did here. I also really appreciate the simple yet practical bundle included out of the box. In the big picture, the Intel DZ77GA-70K is an incredible combination of excellent hardware with brilliant software. Heck, it even overclocks well! But there are two outstanding issues I have, and these are the stuff that people like me will look for in our purchases. Firstly, the fan control system does not work as well as it should. It is extremely advanced... if it works accordingly. At the very least, Intel should get the chassis fan ramp up trigger fixed; it just does not work properly for me. Secondly, the front panel USB 3.0 headers are finicky at best. One does not work at all, while the other only enables one for some reason (And when it does work, it keeps report a power surge when anything is connected, including self-powered devices. I searched around, and this seems to be a widespread problem reported on Intel forums, and most probably a BIOS issue. The first one is somewhat understandable, but I have never owned a board from a Tier 1 manufacturer with issues even closely resembling the second. If Intel can get these nitty gritty details worked out in future BIOS updates, I would recommend the DZ77GA-70K in a heartbeat. But for now, you are probably better off getting an ASUS or Gigabyte product if you don't want to deal with these issues at the moment.

Intel provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.

Since April 30, 2007, Number Ratings have been dropped for all CPUs, motherboards, RAM, SSD/HDDs, and graphics cards. This is to ensure the most appropriate ratings reflected without the inherent limits of using numbers. Everything else will continue using the Number Rating System.
More information in our Review Focus.

The Intel Desktop Board DZ77GA-70K is an incredible combination of awesome hardware with a very well designed BIOS, but it has a few bugs they will need to iron out for perfection.

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Page Index
1. Introduction, Features, and Specifications
2. Bundle, Chipset, BIOS
3. A Closer Look, Board Layout, Test System
4. Benchmark: AIDA64 CPU
5. Benchmark: AIDA64 FPU
6. Benchmark: AIDA64 Memory
7. Benchmark: BAPCo SYSMark 2012
8. Benchmark: PCMark 7
9. Benchmark: 3DMark 11
10. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 7.0
11. Benchmark: SuperPI 1M, Cinebench R11.5
12. Onboard Sound Frequency Analysis
13. Overclocking and Conclusion