ASRock likes to do things a little differently, and there's no change here with its first H77 board.
For starters, while the ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP's form factor is the full ATX width, it's a little shallower in depth. The PCB (printed circuit board) is also a little thinner than most motherboards.
Both of these measures, we would guestimate, help shave a few pennies off the production cost, and in turn help the ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP deliver more features for less money than the competition. But are there any downsides?
Put simply, ASRock gives you more features for less money.
You get a full-width ATX board with a few extra expansion options, a nice GUI-enabled UEFI Bios, an extra pair of SATA 6Gbps ports thanks to an add-in chip and all the standard Intel H77 goodness in a very affordable package.
Quantifying likely longevity with any brand new product is a tricky business, but the ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP's thin PCB isn't hugely confidence inspiring.
Strictly speaking, it's not the quickest Intel H77 motherboard out there, even if the performance gap is very small.
The ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP's funky form factor is just fine. It enables more expansion options in the form of a trio of legacy PCI ports and shouldn't present any installation issues.
As for the PCB, well, in the very long run, a thinner board is more likely to distort. In extreme cases, this can impact how the board operates.
Moreover, when it comes to things such as preventing interference and delivering a nice stable power supply, a thicker board with more layers is usually better. Then again, overclocking is not on the menu for any Intel H77 board, so those issues are a lot less critical than they might have been.
Instead, the fact that you get nearly all the features offered by more expensive H77 models, such as the Asus P8H77-M Pro, makes for a very attractive proposition.
That includes Lucid's Virtu MVP software and therefore support for running a discrete GPU in parallel with Intel's integrated graphics and Quick Sync video transcode feature.
It's also fun to see quirks such as mounting holes for older, though still effective, LGA775 coolers. Whether you make use of that sort of thing or not, it's a nice reminder that ASRock treads its own path rather than following the crowd.
Build quality doubts aside, the ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP is a lot of H77 action for the money.