BIOSTAR Outs Hi-Fi Z77X Motherboard
BIOSTAR released its first Hi-Fi series motherboard, the socket LGA1155 Hi-Fi Z77X. Shown first to crowds at Computex, the Hi-Fi series is characterized by an onboard audio design that focuses on amplification and getting rid of EMI.
BIOSTAR released its first Hi-Fi series motherboard, the socket LGA1155 Hi-Fi Z77X. Shown first to crowds at Computex, the Hi-Fi series is characterized by an onboard audio design called "Puro Hi-Fi" that focuses on amplification and getting rid of EMI.
BIOSTAR's new Hi-Fi audio solution consists of a common high-SNR 8-channel HD audio CODEC, the Realtek ALC898, with EMI dampening and amplifier circuitry. BIOSTAR's approach to EMI dampening bears a stark resemblence to that of ASUS. The entire audio portion of the motherboard has its own ground-layer that's physically isolated from the rest of the motherboard (by an insulation trace). This ensures other high-power components such as the CPU VRM don't interfere with the analog audio outputs, producing faint buzzing noises in the output channels, at high volumes. The audio CODEC is topped off with a metallic EMI shield.
The second major component of BIOSTAR's Hi-Fi audio is its amplifier. The company does not mention any known amplifier chip in its data-sheets, leading us to believe that the company is using a passive amp design, in which it is using "Hi-Fi grade" resistors and capacitors (electrolytic). The company mentions that the amp can drive high-end headphones with "100 dB loads and offer wide band-width, low noise, and high slew rate." The CODEC itself has 110 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the front audio channels.
The revamped audio design is the only defining feature of the new motherboard, which is otherwise similar, feature-wise, to the T-Series TZ77XE4. The LGA1155 socket is powered by a 13-phase VRM. The CPU is wired to four DDR3-DIMM slots supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3-2400+ memory, and three PCI-Express 3.0 slots (x16/NC/NC; x8/x8/NC; x8/x4/x4, depending on the way they're populated). Three PCI-Express 2.0 x1, wired to the Z77 PCH, are the expansion slots in its all-PCIe layout.
The Z77 PCH gives out six SATA ports, from which two are 6 Gb/s and four 3 Gb/s, all of which are internal ports on the Hi-Fi Z77X. Other connectivity features include four USB 3.0 ports (two on the rear panel, two via header, all of which are driven by the PCH), gigabit Ethernet, and display outputs that include one each of D-Sub, DVI, and HDMI. BIOSTAR exclusives include THX TruStudio Pro support, Lucid Virtu MVP (graphics virtualization) and SmartSpeedLAN (network prioritization).
BIOSTAR did not release pricing information.