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BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X Motherboard with perfect Audio subsystem: Complete Review & Performance

Today we brought you review of one of the affordable motherboard which is promising standard features and specs, in this case we are talking about the new series of motherboards from company BIOSTAR. Company has put special emphasis on the possibilities of an integrated audio subsystem; here we are talking about BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X motherboard.

BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X
Printed circuit board, and all connectors and sockets on PCB in BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X are painted black, giving the overall visual background. Bright metallic blue markers on the cooling system contrast well with the color of the environment, making the appearance of the card more appealing and attractive look. Matte finishes PCB – one of the options that motherboard manufacturers are increasingly using to differentiate their models. And every time this trick works smoothly, the device a pleasure to hold in your hands.

Evaluating PCB layout of BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X, placement of the similarity of many elements of SMT can be said that the development of this model was based on the PCB, used for BIOSTAR TZ77XE4, also based on chipset Intel Z77. However, the differences are also quite a lot.
BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X board has inherited the power subsystem from TZ77ZE4, which is quite powerful 13-phase VRM. For cooling the inverter components used aluminium coolers similar profile, but in this case the heat pipe for connection is included. To remove heat from the chipset as the aluminium radiator which will be effective enough with the low power chip.
On the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X motherboard, three full-length slots PCI-Expess x16 are present. First – Full Speed (x16), but using two graphics cards in CrossFireX mode, or SLI, it shares bandwidth with the second slot (mode x8 + x8). If your computer has an Intel Core third generation (Ivy Bridge), these two are ready to go on a fast track specification PCI-E 3.0. Third overall priori connector PCI-E 2.0, while its needs play four lines, and the capacity is limited to 1 GB / s. For additional expansion cards are three PCI-E x1. PCI slots on the board are missing.
A tool for enthusiasts on BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X has the Power button and Reset. But CMOS-memory, if necessary cleaned in the old way – using a separate jumper on the PCB. Note also the presence of indicator POST-codes, which displays the values of possible errors during initial boot. If those are not found on the LED-panel in real time displays the current temperature of the CPU. It is very convenient and easy way to control the CPU temperature in the experiments on the open bench.
Given the direction of the board, somewhat frustrating having all three connectors for fans. However, one of them (four-contact) is activated for the original CPU cooler, while for fans mounted inside the case, there are only two three-pin connector.

In terms of overall functionality of the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X motherboard implements the chipset Intel Z77, limited to a minimal set of additional controllers.
The disk subsystem can have up to 6 drives with interface SATA. In this case, the two devices can be connected using SATA 6 Gb / s, for up to four SATA 3 Gb assumed / s. All available connectors visually identical, a detailed study of the board can be found indication which of them are more speed, but for a quick visual identification would be nice to use connectors of different color or size / profile connector housing.
As for the actual interface USB 3.0, card allows you to connect 4 devices with it. Two ports are available on the rear panel of BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X, the internal connector allows you to view a couple of the connectors on the front panel of the case. Additional controller USB 3.0, perhaps, for a fee of this level would not be superfluous.
The new lineup BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X has made a bet on the possibility of audio subsystem, offering a whole range of different options and features that are combined under one name BIOSTAR Hi-Fi.
In this case, the audio path is selected on the circuit board in a separate segment. The circuit used non-polarized electrolytic capacitors and special metal oxide film resistors with high dimensional stability. At the same time to reduce the noise using a separate channel with a dedicated power supply regulator. The scheme also includes an additional preamplifier that would better to pump high-impedance headphones.
BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X using Realtek ALC898 codec. For additional screening chip is covered with a metal casing. Such an idea is not new. For example, a similar approach is used by the company for some of its ASUS motherboards, for example, ASUS Maximus Formula V and the ASUS Rampage IV Formula. If, however, in these cases we are talking about high-end expensive models, the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X belongs to more mid-range.
Subjectively, Audio in BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X sounds better than most boards with integrated codec. First is by reducing the noise level. Of course, a discrete sound card Puro Hi-Fi to be fully replaced but very concrete steps in this direction in the whole commendable.
BIOSTAR offers use the Multi Chanel Calibration (MCC), which should help to set up the best sound quality with the volume and characteristics of the room. Associated utilities, as well as the calibration of mic, there are included.
Interface panel of BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X is not surprised a special scale, there has only the necessary ports. Three video outputs (DVI, HDMI and VGA), PS / 2, four-port USB 2.0, a pair of high-speed USB 3.0, Ethernet socket and six audio jacks. Given the positioning of the board, no harm would have been seen here and a digital optical audio output.
Inbox of BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X:

Manual, CD with drivers and utility programs, a cap on the rear wall of the housing, bridges SLI and CrossFire graphics cards to combine two, four SATA-cable with metal clamps. Also in the package includes additional setup microphone that can be used to adjust the speaker.

 
Inside

UEFI shell allows the necessary settings with the mouse, but it is possible to change the settings and use the keypad. Here it will be more comfortable as anyone. As for the overall design UEFI, here, of course, there is still work to do. No more than would be mode for beginners who are just taking their first steps in the development of PC. These options offer other vendors.
All settings for overclocking in BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X are gathered in the “ONE”. On the one hand, this solution is convenient – all at once at hand, on the other – piling on one page long list of different parameters can take a long scrolling when searching for the desired item. However, if a lot of them, so there is plenty to choose from, and it is not always bad.

 

To control the main parameters of the card, operating system utility designed Toverclocker. In addition to information about the system, it also can adjust the FSB frequency, CPU multiplier and a number of stresses on the key elements. It is possible to monitor the temperature, voltage, and fan speed of BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X. In general, the functionality of the utility is not too large, there are more opportunities for the basic software of its kind.

 

Practical testing of the motherboard for overclocking, showed that BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X has a decent potential for forcing processors. In this study, the frequency of the system bus was increased to 108 MHz.
When overclocked Core i7-3770K by a factor after the increase of the supply voltage to 1.25 V, the processor running stably under high load at 4.8 GHz. However, recall that this mode requires an efficient cooling system CPU.

Results

BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X looks interesting solution for those users who are used to experiment and willing to try something new, expanding horizons and add to your own range of “trusted devices”. Those who are bored to be in a comfort zone where everything is clear, expected and predictable.

BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X has its own style and is trying very hard not to be fake. In most cases, it succeeds, but developers still have work to do. The price of this motherboard is $ 150.
Pros:

+ Good overclocking potential
+ Enhanced 13-phase power VRM
+ Enhanced Sound System
+ Original design and layout

Cons:

– Not very convenient UEFI
-Three fan connectors
– No digital audio output to the interface panel

This was all about the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X motherboard review.