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Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H Review

By on September 19, 2012
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A budget board packed with features.

Good: Many USB 3.0 ports & on board video ports on the back; Easy expansion via multiple DIMM and PCIe slots; Easy overclocking via simple UEFI BIOS interface; mSATA port allows for quick hybrid drive setup.
Bad: Few basic items packed in; For little more, you can get Thunderbolt equipped boards.
Price: AED 650
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Measuring 305 x 244mm, the GA-Z77X-UD3H is fairly sized, with pretty much most of the expansion ports and connections you can think of.

Starting from the CPU area we can clearly see the 5 + 4 phase design to help supply enough power when overclocking your CPU; with a small strip of heatsink covering the left side. Still there’s ample space for large heatsinks in order to properly overclock your processor. NOtice also the aforementioned mSATA slot just south of the CPU area wherein any mSATA SSD can be plugged in to create a hybrid cache system using Intel SRT.

Coming down we see 3x PCIe x16 slots running at x16/x8/x4 speeds. Note that only a 2-way SLI or CrossFireX setup is supported, wherein using the last PCIe slot (x4) will disable all the other 3x PCIe x1 slots as they share bandwidth.

Moving to the right we see the debug LED next to the front panel headers. Adjacent to this are 6x SATA ports, two of which are SATA III (6gbps) and four are SATA II (3gbps). The sixth port (labeled as SATA port 5) will be disabled if the mSATA port is used. To the right we see a SATA power port for providing some extra juice to graphics cards, while on the top we see the Z77 chipset heatsink.

The 4x DIMM slots support up to 32GB DDR3-2666MHz (Overclocked) memory, including support for Extreme Memory Profile. Note the typically placed voltage check points, as well as the Power, Reset and Clear CMOS buttons.

Coming to the rear I/O panel, we see 6x USB 3.0 ports and 2x eSATA (6gbps) connectors. There’s an old school PS/2 port, a VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort. Additionally we have the LAN port, the optical out and 6x audio ports. A decent number of ports for any budget build.

Testbed

For testing the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H, the below setup was used.

Given the $20 price difference between the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H and the Z77X-UP4TH as well as the MSI Z77A-GD55, the three boards were compared for performance. Features wise the MSI Z77A-GD55 is similar to the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H, except it has only 2x USB 3.0 ports.

Overclocking

As usual overclocking in the UEFI BIOS’ advanced system setting was simply a matter of increasing the CPU multiplier to 46 and bumping up the voltage to 1.45v giving a stable overclock of 4.6GHz, compared to the 3.9GHz TurboBoost speed on our Core i7-3770K processor.

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About

From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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