Hardware.Info recently published a round-up of 32 motherboards with the Intel Z77 chipset. If you're not planning on overclocking and won't be using more than one graphics card, then there is a more affordable version available of the Ivy Bridge chipset called Intel H77. The chipset itself costs less, and motherboard manufacturers are also making less comprehensive boards. That means that you can buy a motherboard for your Intel Ivy Bridge processor for around £70 already. See also: Tested: 32 Best motherboards for Ivy Bridge PCs.
We put inexpensive Ivy Bridge motherboards to the test
The differences between the Z77 and the H77 are limited to just those two areas. H77 lacks the option for overclocking unlocked K processors via the multiplier. Secondly, because H77 cannot split the 16 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes of the processor into 2 x 8 lanes, it's not possible to create SLI or Crossfire configurations for multiple graphics cards. No overclocking, and not more than one video card, in other words.
The rest of the features are identical. The chipset includes 2x Serial ATA 600, 4x Serial ATA 300, 4x USB 3.0, 10x USB 2.0, RAID, SSD caching and the ability to connect three monitors. To see the features of Z77 and H77 side-by-side, you can click here.
Four manufacturers provided Hardware.Info with a total of eight motherboards containing the H77 chipset. The cheapest board costs about £72, the most expensive around £78. All of the motherboards in this test are entry-level products, but there are some differences as well. Head over to Hardware.Info for the in-depth review of all eight H77 motherboards.