During Computex, Biostar announced a new series of motherboards that would be called "Hi-Fi". This new line is supposed to distinguish itself with exceptional audio quality and extra features for the integrated audio. Hardware.Info tested the Hi-Fi Z77X to find out if the motherboard lives up to its name. See all technology buying advice.
In July Hardware.Info published a round-up of 32 Z77 motherboards so there’s plenty to compare the Biostar Hi-Fi Z77X to. With an average price of £111 it's at the lower end of the boards reviewed back then, but there are more affordable options as well.
The motherboard is built around a Socket 1155 processor socket and is compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors. The board has four DDR3 memory slots, three PCI-Express x16 slots (max 20 lanes) and three PCI-Express x1. Biostar did not add extra SATA controllers, you only get the two SATA600 and four SATA300 ports from the Z77 chipset. The USB ports are also limited to those of the Z77 chipset, 4x USB 3.0 and 8x USB 2.0.
The board has a single Gigabit-LAN port, provided by a Realtek RTL8111F chip. The monitor connectors consist of VGA, DVI and HDMI.
Extra features are limited, you don't get any WLAN, Bluetooth, Thunderbolt or Firewire here. The number of fans is pretty limited at three, and only one is PWM. There are some overclocking features, including onboard power and reset buttons, and a HEX display with BIOS POST codes. The EFI-BIOS is graphical, but not very extensive as you can see in the screen shots below.
The selling point of this motherboard has to do with audio, however. Biostar has invested more in the audio part of the motherboard than what you traditionally see. The codec is one that we've seen on many a Z77 board, the Realtek ALC898, but Biostar has implemented it a bit differently.
The audio part of the PCB is separate from the other components on the motherboard. The audio chip and the onboard amplifier have their own power supply, which according to Biostar prevents interference.
To learn about the other unique audio features on this motherboard, read the full review on Hardware.Info.