EVGA Z77 FTW and GTX 670 FTW SLI Review
Here at HardwareHeaven we get to take a look at some great enthusiast kit from some leading manufacturers but one company who have not featured as much as they should are EVGA. Yesterday that began to change with our launch coverage of the EVGA 660 Ti Superclocked and today we continue with a look at some of their latest enthusiast products.
First up is the Z77 FTW, a high end board for socket 1155 CPUs. With plenty of enthusiast features such as 3 BIOS chips and the ability to disable PCIe slots along with the usual USB3, SATA3 and PCIe 3.0 compatibility its aim is to rival the best boards out there. We will also be taking a look at EVGA’s factory overclocked GTX 670, two in fact, in the latest games including Max Payne 3 and Counter Strike Global Operations.
So let’s get started with the EVGA Z77 FTW.
EVGA package their Z77 board in a box which leaves us in no doubt over the model name. Dotted around the front is some information on key features and elsewhere we get more in-depth details. Inside we find the bundled items neatly wrapped in high quality protective bags. Upon opening them we find a thorough bundle which includes plenty of product documentation, software CD, drive cables, SLI Bridges, padded IO shield, brackets for USB 2.0/3.0 and SATA power convertors.
The Z77 FTW uses an EATX PCB measuring 304.8×263.5mm. It is black in colour and the components used throughout match with red slots and ports adding some extra style. An active heatsink cools the lower chipset with a passive block sitting on the 7+1 phase power circuitry (2x 8-pin power connectors). EVGA use solid capacitors (POSCAP) across the board and note that 300% more gold is used on their CPU socket than competing models.
Down at the bottom left of the board we find the PCIe slots and EVGA start us of with a PCIe 16x 3.0 slot. Beneath this we have a space so that dual slot GPU coolers do not waste a connector and then we run 8x, 8x, 16x, 1x, 8x. Tri/Quad SLI are supported as is CrossFire and in a move from the norm EVGA supply additional power to this area of the board via 2x 6-pin PCIe connectors, one at the bottom edge and the other above the main slot.
At the bottom right we find our drive connectors. There are eight present here and six run off the Intel chipset (4x SATA2, 2x SATA3) with RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 supported along with AHCI. The extra ports on the board use a Marvell 9182 chip for their controller and are both SATA 3 spec. We can see in this area that EVGA also cover many of their sockets with rubber covers to stop them gathering dust and that as well as a BIOS selector switch to the left of the drive sockets we have a PCIe slot controller to enable/disable each slot to the right of the SATA ports. Also present here is a Dark Mode jumper which disables the on-board LEDS.
At the top right we find CPU Temperature LEDs along with the 24-pin power. Beside these are our four memory slots, these are of course split into a dual channel configuration allowing installation of up to 32GB and speeds well in excess of 2100MHz. All socket 1155 CPUs are supported including the latest Ivy Bridge models and in the top corner we see the power/reset buttons along with clear CMOS and voltage read points.
Round at the back panel we start with 2x USB 2.0 which sit beside an external clear CMOS and then a PS/2 connector sits on two further USB 2.0 connectors. Next up are two more USB 2.0, 2x Marvell eSATA and then 4x USB 3.0 (EVGA use 6 USB 3.0 ports in total mixed between Intel and ASMedia). Dual GB LAN are our next connectors, again Marvell parts and before the audio connectors which run off Realteks ALC889 chipset we have a mini-DisplayPort out.
BIOS and Software
EVGA provide us with a UEFI/GUI BIOS with full mouse and keyboard support and the simple black and white colour scheme makes it very easy to read. It features all of the same items we normally expect including a dedicated overclocking section where we can take control of our voltages and bus speeds. BIOS updates are performed in DOS.
Finally for those who like to manage and tweak the Z77 FTW in Windows EVGA provide E-Leet Tuning utility which is essentially an enhanced version of CPUz. So what about the GTX 670 FTW?