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Roundup: Z77 Express motherboards from AsRock, Asus, Gigabyte and MSI
by Guillaume Louel
Published on July 2, 2012

Fan management

We have summarised the fan control specs for each of the motherboards. Remember, PWMs are 4-pin fans, while DCs are 3-pin.


Note that while Asus and Gigabyte are both now exclusively using 4-pin conectors, only Gigabyte allows you to control a 3-pin fan on a 4-pin connector. For Asus however, while the BIOS doesn’t allow you to pilot a 3-pin fan, FanXpert 2 does! With the only limitation being that it doesn’t work for the processor fan, which is in fact even more of a problem. ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI provide a form of thermoregulation by the BIOS, which is nice. Note finally that the only power supply port on these cards, on the ASRock motherboard, is not adjustable.

Start-up

We also took readings for the motherboard start-up times. We measured the time between pressing down the button and the launch of the operating system. These times, which may seem long, represent full initialisation of the mobo. Power was cut before each reading was taken.

We measured two scenarios, the default bios settings and a 'rapid' setting where we turned off all the unused peripherals. Often the most demanding peripherals with respect to boot times (the additional ROMs on start-up for the network and drive controllers) are already turned off by default by most manufacturers.


While ASRock still dominates in this test, the three other manufacturers have made big efforts here, all posting lower boot times than in our previous review, which is good news!

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