👤by David Mitchelson Comments 📅03-05-12
Closer Look (Continued)

The Intel Z77 chip has been given a small heatsink with metallic orange cover to correspond to the other heatsinks on the TZ77XE4.

The Intel Z77 heatsink

The PCI-E slots are numerous and offer varied support. There are 2x PCI legacy slots for older devices and 2x PCI-E 3.0 slots that operate at x16 (top) x8 (middle) and a PCI-E 3.0 x4 (bottom). This paves the way for multi-GPU support with NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossfireX. Those going for a single graphics card should use the top slot for best performance whilst using multi-GPU the speed will drop to x8 and x4 respectively. Beneath the top PCI-E 3.0 slot is a PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot. Typically this is at the top of the motherboard, as you can see from the picture that top PCI-E 3.0 slot is rather high up and there is a large gap between the two slots. A little later we will see how the installation goes and if having that top PCI-E so high, causes any incompatibility issues. To avoid clearance problems BIOSTAR should really have swapped the x1 and x16 around as most will be using that top slot for the graphics card.

Additional to this section there is a native USB 3.0 port right next to the bottom PCI-E 2.0 slot.

The PCI-E slots on TZ77XE4

Realtek deliver the audio functionality on TZ77XE4. The Realtek ALC898 chip sits under a metal cover and when powered up has a red LED to give the BIOSTAR text illumination.

Realtek ALC898 with EMI shield

Finally we come to the rear IO ports. From left to right there is:

PS2 keyboard port
2x USB 2.0 ports
Display port/HDMI
VGA/DVI ports
2x USB 3.0 ports
Gigabit LAN (RJ45) port
2x USB 2.0 ports
8 Channel Audio via Realtek ALC898

Realtek ALC898 with EMI shield

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