Motherboard makers are increasingly targeting hard-core overclockers with their high-end offerings. Gigabyte's Z77X-UP7 is the latest example, and it's already earned what's claimed to be a world record for Ivy Bridge overclocking. HiCookie, Gigabyte's resident liquid nitrogen expert, used the UP7 to push a Core i7-3770K up to 7.102GHz. The feat is documented here.
In addition to its apparent overclocking prowess, the UP7 is quite a looker. The bright orange accents remind me of DFI's old LANParty boards—in a good way.
Of course, the Z77X-UP7 is loaded with extra 6Gbps SATA and USB 3.0 ports. There's an mSATA slot meant for a caching SSD, plus a whole collection of onboard switches and buttons to control everything from the CPU multiplier to the motherboard firmware.
The slot stack includes five PCI Express x16 slots and two x1s. Four-way CrossFire and SLI configurations are supported using the orange slots, which are linked to a PLX bridge chip that splits the PCIe lanes coming from the CPU. If you'd rather have all 16 of Ivy's gen-three PCIe lanes dedicated to a single graphics card, the PLX chip can be bypassed using the black x16 slot.
Gigabyte is eager to tout the all-digital circuitry used to power the CPU. 32 power phases are dedicated to the processor alone. Like other members of the Ultra Durable 5 family, the UP7's utilizes IR3550 MOSFETs made by International Rectifier. According to Gigabyte, these pricey components can lower the temperature of the power circuitry by up to 40°C versus the old Ultra Durable MOSFETs. Premium electrical parts can be found throughout the board, of course.
There's no mention of the UP7's price tag in Gigabyte's press release or on its promo page for the board. If you have to ask, you probably can't afford one. Your case may not be big enough, anyway. At 10.4" wide, the Z77X-UP7 extends beyond standard ATX dimensions and into E-ATX territory. More images of the board can be viewed in the gallery below.
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