Are you wanting/needing to use RAID? If not, the Intel drivers provide you with nothing really, and are often more buggy than the default Windows drivers.
First off I would ensure your PC has the lasted INF files to identify the chip-et components to Windows, by default your controller for ACHI mode show show correctly. The latest chipset drivers are here: Download Center
You should then see in device manager in ACHI mode under IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers the entry similar to "Intel(R) Series/C216 Chipset Family SATA ACHI Controller".
If you don't need RAID, this is all you need to do. There is no performance advantage to Intel drivers, they are only need if you need to enable RAID.
Your Z77 chipset uses the IRST release 11... drivers, and the IRST 10... drivers are older, so that is why you saw that message when trying to install 10.8.0.1003. The earlier 6-series chipsets use 10.8.0.1003, or newer. Yes, that error message does not help at all regarding what the issue is.
You actually will not get all the special features that Z77 chipsets have if you don't use a release 11 IRST driver, so that is one reason to use it.
Next, any IRST driver is also the Intel AHCI driver, since AHCI is a subset of RAID. It does no harm to use RAID mode if you never create a RAID volume, since single drives used in RAID mode are treated as being in AHCI mode. TRIM will reach a SSD not in a RAID volume if you use RAID mode. Intel designed and created the AHCI standard, and licenses it free.
Yes, if you don't install a SATA driver when in AHCI mode, Windows 7 will install it's own AHCI driver, msahci. What's better, IRST or msahci? You tell me...