👤by David Mitchelson Comments 📅03-05-12

After seeing BIOSTAR’s early renditions of the Intel Z77 lineup I was keen to get the TZ77EX4 motherboard onto our test bench and see how it fared against rival offerings.

Aesthetically the TZ77EX4 is a delight to overlook. A matt black PCB is something that most enthusiasts strive for and the orange heatsinks set the motherboard off very well. A quick glance over the features will highlight quite an assortment of characteristics, including a generous helping of SATA storage ports – more than you would get on your typical Z77 motherboard.

Performance with our Intel Core i5-3750K was reasonable, the TZ77EX4 matched the performance of the other models we have had in for review recently. Establishing an overclock meant that we had to install different memory onto the test system (as per overclocking section) because the CPU cooler was pushing the memory out of its slot and causing instability - something we have only experienced with this motherboard.

Though I don’t wish to dampen the mood, this wasn’t the only disappointing thing to report back on. The BIOS whilst reasonably pleasing to the eye lacked finesse and compatibility with laser mice. Trying to switch off Turbo Boost and Speedstep felt like a spate of Portal (but not as fun!) – guessing the right combination allowed access to disable or enable the options and establish the ability to overclock. The overall layout is another frustrating aspect of TZ77EX4 - the top PCI-E slot is very close to the CPU socket and as a result means that the graphics card can come very close (in some causes touch) the CPU cooler. BIOSTAR should have swapped the x1 slot for the x16 to avoid this.

So overall, the TZ77EX4 is a rather good looking example of what a motherboard should be – aesthetically, but it is let down by a troublesome layout. Thankfully BIOSTAR can tweak the BIOS to allow better mouse compatibility and fluid menu navigation.

+ Aesthetically very pleasing to the eye
+ Lots of SATA storage ports
+ Energy efficient

- Top PCI-E is too close to CPU socket (Clearance issues)
- BIOS is cumbersome

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