EVGA Z77 FTW Review
Being an American-based comapany, EVGA's marketing and product take on a different vibe compared to Taiwanese companies. The differences in marketing schematics become apparent right off the bat with the box; no stupid marketing stickers, no dumb logos about USB speeds, etc. etc., just facts.
The next tip off to show that this came from an American company was the packaging of the board and accessories. Every single accessory, even the SLI bridge and SATA cables came in their own separate anti-static bags. I had a lot of trash left over, however, minor details such as these help to build consumer confidence in high-end products–hence, the correlation to EVGA's strong user base. Just like how Apple has a sleek box and packaging, EVGA is going after that same approach and is successful to some extent.
- Visual Guide
- I/O Shield
- 2-Port SATA Power Cables
- 4-Port USB 2.0 Bracket
- 2-Port USB 3.0 Bracket
- 1394A Firewire Bracket
- SATA II/3G Data Cables
- SATA III/6G Data Cables
- 3-way SLI Bridge
- 2-way SLI Bridge
- Installation CD
- User Manual
Instead of an anti-static bag, EVGA is using an anti-ESD plastic container which seems to do the job well.
The backpanel is very interesting, unlike every other Z77 board, EVGA has done away with all but one iGPU output and a mini DisplayPort.
- 6x USB 2.0
- 4x USB 3.0
- PS/2 Keyboard
- 2x RJ-45 NICs
- 2x eSATA II
The board is extremely well laid out. We have two big heatsinks, one is for the VRM and the other for the PCH and the PLX bridge. There are a lot of PCI-E 16x slots, however, only some of them are electrically 16x. The board is capable of 4-way SLI/CF. We have 7 fan headers, one of which is already occupied by the fan on the PCH heatsink.
A straight VRM, using very high quality parts (we will cover later), is cooled by a medium sized heatsink which is mounted with 4 screws. That mounting was very impressive, but considering that EVGA auto sets the PWM frequency to 800KHz when you pick to OC, good cooling is something else that needs to be considered.
Here we have the memory slots which uses the single sided entry method, and needless to say, these DIMMs seem to get the job done just fine. What I really like is that there are three buttons; power, reset, and clear CMOS. What I really like, however, is that this is the second clear CMOS button (seen in image above) on the board (the other one is on the back panel). I hate reaching to the back panel to hit the clear CMOS button, especially if OC recovery isn't friendly.
We also have the angled 24-pin ATX connector, and hidden on the top of the board (and under the top of the memory slots) is an angled connector for an EVBot. This way, you'll be able to read voltages in real-time (something I really dislike). Why should you have to buy something extra to read the real voltages? I guess this board is meant for EVGA enthusiasts, as only they would have a tool like that.
Here we have the SATA ports, the triple BIOS, and the PCI-E disable switches. The red ports are SATAIII, the ones closest to the black are from Intel, and the other two are from a Marvell SE9182, which is actually one of the best 3rd party SATA III controllers.
There are two USB 3.0 headers, one is located on the bottom, which goes really well with the provided back panel. There is also a bunch of USB 2.0 headers and a 1394A header. EVGA includes a switch for changing the BIOSes, and even an integrated speaker for beep codes. There are also extra PCI-E power plugs, which are required for higher end multi-GPU configurations.