. Ivy Bridge
is officially still a mystery, remember? Nevertheless, through some quirk of chronology, the accompanying Z77 chipset for motherboards has already been announced. If there's a reason for this early entrance, it's probably because Z77 is backwards compatible with Sandy Bridge, which means that the latest crop of motherboards from Asus, Gigabyte, Intel and MSI can be considered fully-fledged products in their own right. Well, kind of
, anyway. In reality, some of the key selling points of Z77 won't get activated until you clamp on Ivy Bridge silicon -- including PCIe 3.0 support (hitherto only found on X79
big-momma-boards), so the real testing can't begin in earnest until the new kid arrives. With that caveat out of the way, read on for a quick review round-up.