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Old November 8, 2012, 09:06 AM
windwithme windwithme is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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Hi-Fi Z77X uses relatively high-level ALC898 of Realtek, which has the good performance in both computability and stability.
Its audio effect is quite acceptable. At present the MB manufacturers use various audio chipsets of Realtek.
Hi-Fi Z77X uses Realtek, so it is difficult to be distinguished from other MB brands.
The design on the upper side of the audio chipset is the metal shield printed with BIOSTAR Logo shining red when power-on.


Altec Lansing BackBeat Plus UHP206 is sold at a price closed to the medium-level earphone in the common consumption market.
I compare the actual audio effect of Hi-Fi Z77X and TZ77XE4 when the Realtek ALC898 audio chipset is used.


Altec Lansing is a U.S. brand with long history. I believe most PC users can speak out some of its well-known loudspeakers which produce quite high-level performance.
BackBeat Plus UHP206 is of in-ear type, belonging to the monitoring function, and can present the audio effect of real sound source.


It supports Creative THX technology. Let?s first take a look at the THX software interface.
The first three options are enabled by default. If the user enables the options of SMART VOLUME and DIALOG PLUS, it will optimize the sound field, but decrease the finer points of intermediate frequency.
It is suggested opening these two options when gaming or watching videos.
When comparing the audio quality of these two MB brands, it will disable all THX options to achieve the original audio effect.


The left side is the Multi-Channels Calibration interface, used for the multi-channel calibration of PC loudspeaker.
The right side is SmartEAR Headphone Utility,used for adjustment under the earphone environment.


Below is the test for audio quality, which belongs to personal opinion.
It makes the comparison of the built-in audio effect between the Hi-Fi Z77X and TZ77XE4.
When the earphone volume is 50%, the sound is loud enough.
Thus, it?s no need to worry the insufficient power will cause small volume.
High frequency ? there is no sharp tune, and it is much finer .
Intermediate frequency ? the definition and the finer points are improved. If the intermediate frequency can be fuller, it will be better.
Low frequency ? bass is quite shocking, free from the problems of TZ77XE4 in which the sound is not thick or muddy enough.
As for the built-in level, Hi-Fi Z77X improves the audio effect more or less.
Moreover, with the THX software, it will be more suitable for watching video or gaming, bringing about a better performance in the effect of audio field.
Compared with the last generation under the same brand, TZ77XE4 makes the most improvements in the performance in the intermediate frequency.
It will get quite good built-in audio effect for listening to the music.
Of course, Hi-Fi Z77X improves the audio effect of built-in audio chipset, making the consumer enjoy better audio quality with the same price.
However, its audio effect is not so good as the lower or medium-level audio card on the market.
After all, the built-in audio effect doesn?t need to spend extra money like the additional audio card, so it is hard to compare this part fairly.

Temperature performance (Ambient temperature is 28 Celsius)
System standby - 38~46


Running LinX, CPU at full speed - 82~87


XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 is a radiator that has gain higher C/P ratio on the market, while its price falls around the medium level.
Although the temperature is slightly higher when overclocking to 4.5GHz, its radiation capacity is quite satisfactory if considering its reasonable price..
If you think the temperature of 80 Celsius is too high, it is helpful to enhance the internal cooling or reduce the overclocking to 4.4GHz when installing it into the case.

Power consumption test
System standby - 125W


Running LinX, CPU at full speed - 222W


3770K OC 4.5GHz, C1E disabled, and the system standby under GTX 570 SLI mode, it is only 125W.
When CPU is at full speed, it will increase about 97W. The power consumption under Ivy Bridge platform is obviously lower than the last generation of Sandy Bridge.

BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X
Pros
1. The price is a little higher than the basic-level Z77, with its specification and material similar to the middle-level Z77.
2. Japanese solid capacitor, built-in Power/Reset buttons and simple debug LED.
3. It adopts UEFI interface with fast startup speed, rich options and large range of voltage, as well as excellent overclocking ability.
4. Provide special Calibration Microphone to adjust the sound field based on the surroundings.
5. With special design of audio effect of the built-in Hi-Fi, the MB power supply has 13 phases in total.

Cons
1. BIOSTAR has no distribution channel in Taiwan currently.
2. It is suggested using the advanced audio chips, such as Creative CA0132 or VIA Envy24MT.
3. DDR3 bandwidth has some improvement room.



Performance ratio ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 80/100
Material ratio ★★★★★★★★★☆ 85/100
Specification ratio ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 82/100
Appearance ratio ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 82/100
C/P ratio ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 83/100

BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X is sold at US$150(NT$4,382), which is almost the same price of TZ77XE4 when released on the market.
Currently, the price of TZ77XE4 has dropped to US$120 or so, but it has two more SATAs and one DisplayPort. Thus, the C/P ratio will be increased.
Both Hi-Fi Z77X and Hi-Fi H77S are two models of Intel platform introduced with Hi-Fi material.
Hi-Fi A85X and Hi-Fi A85W with the AMD FM2 that are released by BIOSTAR lately, also have the same audio effect design.

In recent years, some MB brands have improved the audio effect or the network on the advanced product line, which seems to pave road for the gaming market.
Moreover, the BIOSTAR with affordable price and high performance has also stepped in the design of audio effect.
It is a piece of good news for the users who calls for better built-in audio effect with limited budget. And Hi-Fi design does make substantial improvements on the audio effect.
I hope BIOSTAR will adopt Hi-Fi material in more MB products in the future, so that the consumers will have more MB options with higher C/P ratio:)

This article is also post in my blog - WIND3C, All comments are welcome.
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