Gigabyte's latest mid range Z77 entrant is endowed with an excellent VRM implementation (IR3550 PowIRstage from International Rectifier) and two onboard Thunderbolt ports provided by a Intel Cactus Ridge 4C controller. Does the Z77X-UP5 TH impress the Ivy Bridge system builder?
Back during the initial Ivy Bridge platform launch some months ago, Gigabyte rolled out their initial wave of Z77X and Sniper3 motherboards, with very aggressive pricing coupled with comprehensive feature sets earning them considerable market share among DIY system builders and enthusiasts. Gigabyte then followed up at Computex with a new UP range of boards featuring their upgraded "Ultra Durable 5" set of technologies and (belated) native Thunderbolt support. Today we look at the Z77X-UP5 TH, which is a middle of the road offering positioned just below the 32-phase UP7 monstrousity that we saw during Computex.
The box of the motherboard is adorned with logos and marketing messages with the objective of informing buyers of what they will be getting. One of the exciting new features on Ultra Durable 5 boards is the use of Glass Fabric PCB, purportedly to offer some measure of humidity protection which should please subzero users facing the bane of condensation.
Here we have the usual set of documentation and accessories. Only 1 SLI bridge was included as Nvidia does not allow the use of x4 slots for SLI without an additional lane multiplexer (Ivy Bridge can do x8+x8 or x8+x4+x4 multi-GPU).
A PCIe x1 expansion card consisting of a dual antenna Atheros 802.11 abgn + BT 4.0 Module is provided in the package for modern wireless connectivity.