Biostar Hi-Fi Z77X gives audiophiles 7.1-channel analog sound, overpriced cables thankfully optional

Biostar HiFi Z77X motherboard gives audiophiles 71channel analog sound with amp, overpriced cables thankfully optional

There haven't been many choices in PC motherboards for audiophiles -- the 'real' kind that might see even a good dedicated sound card as slumming it. Biostar wants to fill that untapped niche with the Hi-Fi Z77X. Along with run-of-the-mill expansion for an Ivy Bridge- or Sandy Bridge-based desktop, the board's built-in 7.1-channel audio flaunts six 3.5mm analog jacks, an amp and the kind of exotic-sounding language that leads audio addicts to buy $2,000 cables they don't need. We're talking "metal-oxide film resistors" and "non-polarized electrolysis electric audio capacitors," here. Whether or not the changes have an appreciable impact on sound quality, listeners are ironically left out of S/PDIF audio, which exists only as a header on the board unless buyers spend a little more on parts. That said, if we assume the as yet unknown price isn't stereotypically high -- and that audiophiles don't mind a big, potentially noisy desktop as a home theater PC -- the Hi-Fi Z77x could be a treat for those who want to wring every nuance out of music and movie soundtracks.