intellogo Intels Extreme series Z77 motherboard specs revealed

Over the past few days we've unveiled the details of Intel's upcoming 7-series motherboards and today we'll unveil the last couple of models, namely the Extreme series. We only have two models left and Intel will be keeping at least a couple of its current 6-series boards around for now.

Over the past few days we've unveiled the details of Intel's upcoming 7-series motherboards and today we'll unveil the last couple of models, namely the Extreme series. We only have two models left and Intel will be keeping at least a couple of its current 6-series boards around for now.

The first model of the two is the DZ77GA – codename Gasper – which is a fairly competent Intel board. For starts it has a pair of x16 PCI Express 3.0 slots that operates in dual x8 mode – just like the DZ77BH – and on top of this you also get a single PCI Express x4 2.0 slot, two PCI Express x1 2.0 slots and a two PCI slots. Intel has kitted out the board with four SATA 3Gbps ports and four SATA 6Gbps ports, pin headers for four USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire port as well as four DIMM slots and a POST80 debut LED.

Around the rear of the board we find four USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, a FireWire port, an eSATA port, a pair of Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out and a single HDMI port. For some reason it seems like Intel doesn't want high-end users to be able to take advantage of the option of having multiple screens connected to the motherboard which is quite strange as the company supplies a copy of LucidLogix Virtu software with the board which would allow the signal from discrete graphics cards to be passed through the integrated graphics.

The second and final model in Intel's new Extreme series is the DZ77RE – codename Roads End – and as far as we can tell, it's identical to the DZ77GA bar one minor addition, a Thunderbolt port. We're somewhat surprised that Intel hasn't removed by x4 PCI Express slot on this board, but we have a feeling that it might not be operation when the Thunderbolt interface is being used. Sadly we don't have any details on how this works, but we're going to try and find out more details at Cebit in a couple of weeks' time. That said, this is the first motherboard that we have confirmation on that will feature a Thunderbolt interface.

So there you have it, Intel's complete line of 7-series motherboards for Ivy Bridge. There were a couple of surprises in there, but nothing really mind-blowing. Intel might be offering boards that are good enough for the average office computer and then some, but the company does clearly not understand the consumer DIY market at all, something that is clear simply by looking at its high-end consumer models. In fact, it's a bit hard to understand why Intel really bothers to create so many high-end products when most consumers rather buy from the Taiwanese motherboard makers.