Intel DQ77KB: A Low Power LGA1155 Motherboard

CPUs|Motherboards
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PHYSICAL DETAILS

Given all the features, the surface of the Intel DQ77KB is jam-packed with components and nothing is where one would expect it to be, aside from the PCI-E 4x slot. Additional connectivity is provided by two mini PCI-E slots (one half-height, one full-sized), four SATA ports (two 3 Gbps, two 6 Gbps), and a pair of 4-pin PWM fan headers.


The two mini PCI Express slots straddle the PCH heatsink near the back panel and would probably be best served housing an mSATA drive and WiFi adapter. The PCI-E 4x slot is of course, backwards compatible with 1x devices but cases that lack a PCI-E riser option will render it unusable.


The port arrangement at the back is low profile with at most two ports paired together. There are four USB 3.0 connectors, dual gigabit ethernet jacks, and both a DisplayPort and HDMI connector for outputting video. The board is powered using a DC input at the top.


Unlike most motherboards, many of the ICs have are located on the underside. Typically this side is primarily empty aside from the socket mounting frame, signal traces, and solder points of the topside components.


The DQ77KB has a few unusual connectors along the top edge of the board, including ports for LVDS, eDP and headers for other functionality pertaining to front panel displays.

BIOS/UEFI

Given the focus on low power operation, the DQ77KB doesn't sport the usual set of enthusiast BIOS/UEFI options found on larger, mainstream models. The only performance settings of note are memory frequency (1066, 1333, and 1600 MHz), memory voltage (1.20 to 1.80 V), and basic memory timing control. The fan control and monitoring options are more comprehensive, using a similar interface to those from Intel's more mainstream motherboards.


Sensor monitoring.

The monitoring section of the BIOS/UEFI has a leg up on most, with temperature readings for both the memory and voltage regulators. While this is useful to know, these extra sensors can also be used as variables for the fan control system.


Fan control options.

The board has two 4-pin PWM fan headers each with its own customizable settings. Interestingly users can designate a primary and temperature input sensor for the fan to react to, so for example, the CPU fan can be set to spin up when the CPU heats up, while the speed of a case fan can be tied to the PCH temperature. However, you can't define your own temperature targets — you tell it what to respond to and the BIOS/UEFI takes care of it automatically. Adjusting the minimum and maximum fan speeds is permitted but there's noting to adjust its aggressiveness.



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