If you don't plan on overclocking and won't be using more than one graphics card at any one time, then there is a more affordable version of the Ivy Bridge chipset available to you, called Intel H77. The chipset itself costs less, and motherboard manufacturers are also making less comprehensive boards. That means that you can buy a motherboard for your Ivy Bridge processor for around £70.
The differences between the Z77 and the H77 are limited to just those two areas. H77 lacks the option for overclocking unlocked K processors via the multiplier. Secondly, because H77 cannot split the 16 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes of the processor into two x eight lanes, it's not possible to create SLI or Crossfire configurations for multiple graphics cards. No overclocking, and no more than one video card, in other words.
The rest of the features are identical. The chipset includes two Serial ATA 600, four Serial ATA 300, four USB 3.0, 10 USB 2.0, RAID, SSD caching and the ability to connect three monitors. Below you can see the differences between the Z77 and H77 chipsets, side by side.
Four manufacturers sent us a total of eight motherboards containing the H77 chipset. The cheapest board costs about £72, the most expensive around £78. All of the motherboards in this test are entry-level products, but there are some differences.
Like most of the motherboards in this test, the ASUS P8H77-M LE is a micro-ATX motherboard. The board has one PCI-Express x16 slot, one x4 slot, one x1 slot and one PCI slot. The number of SATA and USB connectors corresponds to what the chipset offers: six SATA, 10 USB 2.0 and four USB 3.0. For the integrated graphics card ASUS has included VGA, DVI and HDMI.
The gigabit network connection is provided by a Realtek RTL81111 chip, which seems to be popular on H77 motherboards. The 7.1 channel sound is provided by a Realtek ALC887 chip. You can read a comparison between chipsets here and continue reading the rest of Eight Intel H77 motherboards round-up on Hardware.info.