Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI Mini-ITX Motherboard

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The H77N-WIFI features the now standard Gigabyte UEFI DualBIOS with a graphical user interface and mouse support. It first presents you with a simplified view with a run-down of the clock speeds, etc., but users who want to get their hands dirty will want to enable the advanced menu.

Advanced Frequency Settings.

BIOS Summary: Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI
CPU/PCIe Base Clock 80 to 150 MHz
Turbo Power Limit 60 to 1200 W
Core Current Limit 10 to 300 A
Memory Timing Options Intermediate
DRAM Voltage
1.200 to 2.000 V
Graphics Clock 400 to 1600 MHz
Integrated Graphics Memory Size 32 to 1024 MB
DVMT Total Memory Size 128 MB, 256 MB, MAX

Being an H77 motherboard, there are too many adjustments to be made in the UEFI/BIOS. Frequency manipulation is on the table but those familiar with Sandy/Ivy Bridge overclocking know the CPU base clock can't be raised by more than a few extra Hertz without causing instability. GPU overclocking is on the menu but you can't apply an extra juice. Voltage controls are absent except for DRAM. This also shuts out users looking to undervolt in an attempt to save power.

Another issue I encountered was a limitation of the memory frequency. If you are using a Sandy Bridge processor, you're restricted to a maximum of 1333 MHz. I've seen this issue noted on the specifications of other H77 motherboards so I have to assume this is a limitation of the chipset. I normally wouldn't lose any sleep over this as the CPU performance difference between 1600 MHz and 1333 MHz is negligible. However, integrated GPU performance, particularly for integrated chips, relies fairly heavily on DRAM frequency to make up for other shortcomings. If you plan on doing some basic gaming using a Sandy Bridge CPU, this is something to keep in mind.

AI Tweaker menu.

As mini-ITX systems typically don't use many fans, fan control is often a secondary concern when it comes to mini-ITX motherboards. There are controls for both of the available fan headers in the BIOS/UEFI, but they're rather simple. If you're feeling adventurous, choose "Manual" to adjust the slope of the fan speed curve (not actually curved, it's completely linear) between 0.75 and 2.50 PWM value / °C. Presets are also available but it's the same as choosing the slope manually. The options have just been culled down to two and they've been renamed to "Silent" and "Normal."

Boot Performance

To test boot time I optimized the BIOS menu by setting the hard drive and other delays set to minimum, taking care not to disable common functionality like USB support, POST messages, etc. and measured the time it takes to reach the Windows loading screen (I stop here because this is the point where the O/S drive speed becomes a factor).

The boot process on the H77N-WIFI is average, hitting the Windows loading screen in a little under 14 seconds. It's not particularly quick, but for some users, it will reach this point before the monitor activates from standby mode.

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