Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH Review
Externally the UP4 is reminiscent of the rest of the Gigabyte range of motherboards, the white box leaving no doubt as to the model number you have in your hands, nor the features that are contained within. Although the addition of the TH for Thunderbolt moniker must have some people saying "Fourth? I don't remember a third". Inside we have the standard few accessories, IO shield, SLI bridge and SATA cables alongside the always excellent Gigabyte documentation.
The board itself is probably best described as functional, at least in terms of the heatsink design. It just lacks those few moments of flair. All black except a dark grey to differentiate the memory channels and two white SATA ports, it's a far cry from the blue and black we're used to seeing from Gigabyte.
The bottom corner is pretty tidy, with the CMOS battery easily accessible and the front-panel header nicely placed. We're not big fans of the half-shield on the chipset heatsink. It looks too much as if they ran out of aluminium. Considering how nice, albeit utilitarian, the rest of the UP4 looks this is disappointing.
PCI Express slots are well spaced ensuring good airflow around even an twin-GPU setup. The move of the mSATA port to above the top PCI Express 3.0 slot means it's not somewhere you'll be able to access too readily once a GPU and the CPU cooler are in place, but it's out the way for the majority of us who will never take advantage of it.
The CPU area is clean and tidy, with fan headers handily placed to save the long tangle of 4 pin cables or any need for extensions. The heatsinks are, as we've said, a bit bland. Functional enough but nobody is going to be wowed by them. Probably the biggest surprise in terms of the design is the lack of power control buttons on the UP4 itself. We're so used to them appearing on everything, from ITX boards to the very top of the range models, that to find them absent was eyebrow-raising.
SATA ports are two 6Gbp/s ones (white) and four 3Gbp/s ones. Round the back everything is where you'd expect to find it with the normal wealth of USB headers and display options. The big change with the Z77X-UP4 TH is the inclusion of the two Thunderbolt ports between the LAN tower and the Audio outputs. We're not sure if they can be stacked, but it would help tidy things up if they were.