Sapphire Z77 motherboard at CES
Ryan Martin / 6 years ago
While Sapphire is certainly recognised as a primarily AMD partner it still has a go at Intel products from time to time, especially given the huge popularity of the LGA 1155 platform. By the looks of things the ‘PT-CI7Z77’ motherboard will carry the Pure Black branding. As you can see the VRM and Chipset heat sinks are currently non-existent as the designs have yet to been finalised. The board gets out-of-the-box Ivy Bridge support alongside a 10 Phase CPU VRM which should allow for decent overclocking to the average home user. This VRM uses ferrite-core chokes, Driver-MOSFETs, and a secondary NEC-TOKIN multi-phase capacitor to condition power. Three other phases handle memory and miscellaneous power domains on the board.
The processor is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting dual-channel DDR3 memory. It is also wired to two PCI Express 3.0 long slots, which are auto-configured as x16/NC or x8/x8, depending on the second slot being populated. Other slots include a PCI Express 2.0 x1, and a PCI Express 2.0 long slot (gray), which is electrically PCIe 2.0 x4, and wired to the Z77 PCH. There are two legacy PCI slots, driven by an ASMedia-made bridge chip.
Storage connectivity includes two SATA 6 Gb/s, four SATA 3 Gb/s, wired to the PCH. There are no eSATA ports. There are plenty of USB 3.0 ports, since the PCH is also contributing a few ports. It appears as if all USB 3.0 ports from the PCH are wired to two USB 3.0 front-panel headers (4 ports), while ASMedia-made controllers are driving the USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel. Other connectivity includes Bluetooth, gigabit Ethernet, 8+2 channel HD audio. The display I/O includes D-Sub, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort. Expect this board to feature in the first-wave of Z77 motherboards, slated for April.