Before you put together your Intel Ivy Bridge PC or laptop, it's important to pick out the best motherboard
When it comes to upgrading to a new Ivy Bridge configuration, you obviously need a motherboard as a starting point. There are a lot of choices out there, it's sometimes difficult to figure out what you need and how much to spend. So if you're planning to build a new computer this summer, but have been holding off to see what's the latest and greatest in the world of motherboards, then the new round-up on Hardware.Info of 32 Z77 motherboards should prove to be the perfect guide for finding the right Ivy Bridge motherboard for your new system.
The Z77 chipset is the most high-end chipset for Intel processors, so there are a number of very comprehensive and deluxe motherboards available based on that chipset. However, if you're not willing or able to spend a considerable sum on a motherboard alone, you can also go for more affordable and stripped down boards. If you're planning to overclock your Ivy Bridge processor, then Z77 is the only real option.
The Z77 chipset is the first chipset to support USB 3.0. Four USB 3.0 and 10 USB 2.0 ports are standard on Z77, which means that motherboard manufacturers no longer are forced to rely on third-party USB 3.0 controllers, which generally weren't very good. In the SATA department nothing has changed compared to the previous generation. There are still only two SATA 600 ports and four SATA 300 ports. The Z77 chipset also has an extra PCI-Express 2.0 controller with eight lanes, which can connect PCI-Express x1 or x4 slots on the motherboard. You can also choose to use these lanes for connecting extra SATA, USB, or other controllers.
Like Intel's Z68 chipset, the Z77 chipset supports SSD caching, which Intel likes to call Intel Smart Response Technology. CPUs with integrated graphics cards will also still work. What's new is the possibility to connect three monitors at the same time, provided an Ivy Bridge processor is used. The round-up by the guys at Hardware.Info describes in-depth what the new features are, and how they differ on the various motherboards.
Hardware.Info tested and reviewed boards by all the big players, including ASRock, ASUS, EVGA, Foxconn, Gigabyte, Intel and MSI. Head over to the Hardware.Info round up of 32 Z77 motherboards tested with Ivy Bridge processors to find out which board you should buy for your new Ivy Bridge PC.
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