The Z77X-UP4 TH is a mainstream socket LGA1155 motherboard from Gigabyte targeted to the “Ivy Bridge” processors (third-generation Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors). Its main highlight is the presence of two Thunderbolt ports. Let’s see what the Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH has to offer.

The Intel Z77 is an upgraded version of the Z68 chipset with the same basic features (Intel Smart Response Technology and Virtu video switching technology), plus native support to four USB 3.0 ports. It also includes the addition of two new technologies: Smart Connect (allowing the computer to receive emails and refresh webpages while it is in sleep mode) and Rapid Start (faster boot times).

In addition, the Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH supports the Virtu Universal MVP, which allows you to combine the performance of the integrated graphics processor available in the CPU with the performance of any video card installed. This is similar to what occurs with the Hybrid SLI and ATI Hybrid Graphics technologies, with the notable difference of not being limited to GPUs from a specific manufacturer.

So far, Gigabyte has released only two motherboards with Thunderbolt ports, both based on the Intel Z77 chipset. In the table below, we compare their main specifications. Prices were researched at on the day we published this article. For further information on Thunderbolt, please read our “Everything You Need to Know About the Thunderbolt Connection” tutorial.

Specification Z77X-UP4 TH Z77X-UP5 TH
Form Factor ATX ATX
Memory Sockets 4 4
PCI Express x16 3.0 3 (x16/x0/x0 or x8/x8/x0 or x8/x4/x4) 3 (x16/x0/x0 or x8/x8/x0 or x8/x4/x4)
PCI Express x1 2.0 3 3
Standard PCI 1 1
mSATA 1 1
CrossFireX Yes Yes
SLI Yes Yes
SATA-300 4 4
SATA-600 2 3
eSATA-300 0 0
eSATA-600 0 1
USB 2.0 6 6
USB 3.0 8 10
FireWire 0 1
Bluetooth No Yes, 4.0
Gigabit Ethernet 1 1
Wi-Fi No Yes, dual-band 802.11b/g/n
VGA 1 1
DVI-D 1 1
HDMI 1 1
DisplayPort No* No*
Thunderbolt 2 2
Audio ALC892 ALC898
Voltage Regulator 10 phases total 12 phases total
Price USD 185 USD 250

* The Thunderbolt ports are available as mini DisplayPort connectors, so the motherboard has DisplayPort ports available as Thunderbolt ports.

In Figure 1, you see the Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH motherboard.

Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH motherboard Figure 1: Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH motherboard

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.