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Sapphire Pure Platinum Z77K Motherboard Review

We received one of the first samples, direct from Sapphire. As such there is no final box artwork.

A small white label on the box highlights the product name – Sapphire Pure Platinum Z77K, for the third generation Intel platform.

Sapphire include a back plate, a user manual, 6 x SATA 3Gb/s cables and a lovely, Sapphire branded 3.5 inch USB 3.0 tray. We also received a pre-release software/driver disc.

The Sapphire Pure Platinum Z77K is built around a dark brown PCB which I really like. Sapphire class this as black but it is actually a dark brown under intense lighting. The slots are all coloured blue and black. It is a standard ATX size, measuring 12″ x 9.6″. Sapphire use solid capacitors throughout and multi phase PWM voltage regulation circuitry with Diamond Black chokes for both the processor and memory.

Voltage test pads have been included at the edge of the board for monitoring critical voltages of the CPU and memory.

The CPU socket has plenty of space around it for the fitting of oversized heatsinks. There are two large heatsinks nearby which cool the VRM’s and these are joined by a heatpipe. These coolers have featured in various guises on high end Sapphire graphics cards. There are several fan headers in this area, and a CPU power connector.

The Pure Platinum Z77K Motherboard can support up to 32GB of memory via the four slots. The board can officially support 240-pin DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600+ non-ECC ,un-buffered memory.

The board has support for 2 x PCI Express x1 slots, 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x4 slots, PCI Express 3.0 x16/x8 slots, PCI Express 3.0 x8/x4 slots and a PCI Express 3.0 x4 slot. It has full Crossfire support, but Sapphire do not support SLi configurations as they are AMD’s largest partner. Four graphics cards to be used in CrossFireX.

The Z77 chipset is passively cooled. There are six SATA ports on the board with support for Raid 0, 1 , 5 and 10. The red ports are SATA 3.0 6Gb/s capable and the four black ports are SATA 2.0 3Gb/s capable. Two SATA 3.0 ports will be enough for most people but high end enthusiast users may be expecting four.

Along the bottom from left to right, is a Molex connector which can deliver extra power to the Pure Platinum Z77K. We didn’t need to use this, but Sapphire recommend it for enhanced stability when using multiple graphics cards in a Crossfire configuration. There is another chassis fan header nearby, with a CMOS reset button.

Next to this is a reset and power button and a BIOS selector. The Sapphire board has a dual bios system in case of failure. Next to this is another fan header and a USB 3.0 connector. The front panel connector is above the LED diagnostic readout. It is a clean, fully featured layout and well positioned.

The rear panel I/O features:

  • 6 x USB 2.0 port
  • 2 x USB 3.0 port
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x DisplayPort 1.1a
  • 1 x SPDIF Optical Out
  • 1 x Single Link DVI
  • PS/2 KB/MS combo port
  • 1 x VGA (DB-15)
  • Dual RJ- 45 Gigabit LAN with ESD

It is worth pointing out that Sapphire have included a secondary Killer E2200 Gigabit LAN port which will appeal to the gaming audience.

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  • Fat bloke with beard

    Nice review thank you. Seems their bioses are getting better when overclocking by the layout. Didnt know they nicked EVGA engineers !

  • Joseph

    I think they make good products, but and its a big but. their allegance with AMD rules out SLI and this puts a lot of people off. Its a major hurdle for them.

  • Davy

    The first bios they released was dire, I remember it. this is a big step up. Still some way to go before they reach ASUS level, DIGI POWER+ menu alone is incredible and they have dedicated controls for vdroop etc.

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