Intel DQ77KB: A Low Power LGA1155 Motherboard

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Intel DQ77KB: A Low Power LGA1155 Motherboard

January 10, 2012 by Lawrence Lee

Intel DQ77KB
LGA1155 Mini-ITX Motherboard
Street Price

The mini-ITX motherboards we usually come across fall in to one of two groups. First there are the energy efficient models with embedded processors e.g. Intel Atom, used to power basic nettop and compact media PCs. Then there are those that are simply mini-ITX versions of regular desktop motherboards, offering the same potential horsepower in a much smaller package. The Intel DQ77KB is a very different animal, an unusual board that has a foot in each camp.

Intel DQ77KB: Specifications (from the product web page)
Form factor Thin Mini ITX
AA# (Altered Assembly) G40294-401
BIOS ID string KBQ7710H.86A
Processor At product launch, this Intel® Desktop Board DQ77KB supports:
> Intel® Core™ i7, Intel® Core™ i5, and Intel® Core™ i3 vPro™ processor series in the LGA1155 package
Memory > Two 240-pin DDR3 SDRAM Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM) sockets
> Support for up to DDR3 1600/1333 MHz
> Support for up to 16 GB of system memory
Chipset > Intel® Q77 Express Chipset
Audio Intel® High Definition Audio (Intel® HD Audio) subsystem in the following configuration:
> Four-channel (2+2)
LAN support Dual Gigabit Intel® (10/100/1000 Mbits/sec) LAN subsystem using two Intel® Gigabit Ethernet Controllers
Peripheral interfaces > Four USB 3.0 ports (4 external ports with 2 supporting high power charging)
> Five USB 2.0 ports (5 via internal headers)
> Four Serial ATA ports: 2 internal connectors (6.0 Gb/s), 2 internal connectors (3.0 Gb/s)
Expansion capabilities > One PCI Express* 2.0 x4 connector (from CPU)
> One PCI Express* full length mini connector (support mSATA)
> One PCI Express* half-length mini connector
Warranty > 3-year warranty (BOX/BLK)
> Standard Warranty Replacement (SWR)

If we told you that the DQ77KB was an LGA1155 model with support for Intel's Sandy and Ivy Bridge processors, you might assume it's yet another board with all the trimmings for users building SFF gaming PCs and the like but this couldn't be further from the truth. For one thing, CPU support is restricted to parts with TDPs of 65W or lower, limiting processor selection to premium quad core "S" and "T" series chips and of course dual core models. It's also driven by external DC power rather than an internal ATX unit so monster power supplies are out of the question, and with it the prospect of a high-end graphics card, not that it has a PCI-E 16x slot to support this in the first place. A PCI-E 4x slot is offered instead as well as the option for a pair of mini PCI-E devices.

Like many of Intel's products, the DQ77KB is designed for businesses, more specifically those who require very small and energy efficient PCs but also a decent level of performance. The Q77 chipset sports various management, security, and virtualization features and the board has been outfitted with a pair of Intel gigabit ethernet adapters and additional display output options including LVDS and eDP (embedded DisplayPort). It's not targeted at consumers or enthusiasts but as it breaks down the high and low power paradigms that we've gotten accustomed to, it undoubtedly has some crossover appeal.

The DQ77KB with processor and memory installed.

The board has an unusual layout with the socket rotated 90 degrees from its usual orientation on larger boards and is shifted in position toward the right side. It's a low profile model as well so it uses slimmer DDR3 SO-DIMMs, though heatsink height can be an issue depending on the case.

Power cable.

A single SATA connector directly on the board provides all the power for any peripherals. A daisy chain cable with multiple SATA plugs is provided which can be problematic if you require molex power (molex to SATA adapters are not very common). The board also ships with a pair of SATA data cables, an HDMI to DVI adapter, and both a full-sized and low profile I/O shield.

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