evga z77 ftw 2 EVGA announced the Z77 FTW

When it comes to making big consumer motherboards, there are few companies that have anything to put up against EVGA and the company has announced its EATX Z77 FTW motherboard which packs a lot of features, but also a high price tag. As per usual when it comes to EVGA we're looking at a board with a fair few unusual features, but we're not sure if that's enough this time around.

When it comes to making big consumer motherboards, there are few companies that have anything to put up against EVGA and the company has announced its EATX Z77 FTW motherboard which packs a lot of features, but also a high price tag. As per usual when it comes to EVGA we're looking at a board with a fair few unusual features, but we're not sure if that's enough this time around.

Let's start with the bad; the chipset cooler has a fan. That said, it doesn't just cool the Z77 chipset, as underneath that heatsink is also a PLX PEX8747 PCI Express bridge which enables the rather unusual slot layout. The board has five x16 PCI Express 3.0 slots as well as a single x1 PCI Express 2.0 slot, but when you have a chipset that only offer 16 lanes of PCI Express 3.0 bandwidth, you have to do a bit of a workaround to have this many slots. As such, the 16 lanes are being split and multiplied into four x8 lanes. It's not entirely clear as to how the various slots can be configured, but the board supports 4-way SLI and CrossFireX.

evga z77 ftw 1 EVGA announced the Z77 FTW

Moving on we find eight SATA ports, of which two are via a Marvell 9182 SATA 6Gbps controller, pin headers for two front USB 3.0 ports via an ASMedia ASM1042 controller, four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, Voltage readout pins, a POST80 debug LED, power, reset and clear CMOS buttons, PCI Express disable switches and no less than three BIOS chips, of which one is in a removable socket, just in case. The board also sports dual 8-pin 12V power connectors for the CPU as well as a pair of 6-pin 12V power connectors for extra power to the PCI Express slots. We should also point out that the board has no less than seven 4-pin fan headers, although one of them is being used by the chipset fan.

The rear port layout is quite different from what we're used to seeing, with a PS/2 port, six USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, a pair of Marvell powered Gigabit Ethernet ports, two eSATA ports, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out, a mini DisplayPort connector and what should be a rear clear CMOS button. EVGA is apparently also providing brackets for a FireWire port, four USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports, although we're not entirely sure where all the brackets are meant to go considering that this board is targeting users that want to cram the board full of graphics cards.

evga z77 ftw 2 EVGA announced the Z77 FTW

Overall not a bad show by EVGA, but the EATX form factor means that you need a rather roomy chassis for this board. EATX is deeper, but not taller than standard ATX motherboards, so the board should fit in most larger chassis, unlike some of EVGA's other motherboards. The only real drawback as we can see it is the MSRP of US$329.99 (S$417) which is a bit steep, despite all the features and accessories included. That makes the Z77 FTW the most expensive Z77 motherboard to date, although we're expecting the models with Thunderbolt to cost more and we have as yet to see Gigabyte's and Asus' high-end gaming boards in retail.

Source: EVGA