As this review featured two stars, in stead off of the usual one, we are forced to split up the conclusion in two parts:
GA-Z77-D3H: A budget friendly, but high performaning Z77 chipset based motherboard. The D3H board was rock stable during our entire test suite. Plus didn't break a sweat during the stress test at 4700Mhz, with our aircooled i7-3770K CPU. The lack of a second heatsink over the VRMs initially worried me. But the D3H came out as a champ. Ram clocks up to 2400Mhz didn't pose any issue, with the diversity of rams being used. However looking for higher frequencies needed sometimes massive manual intervention. Conclusion from our testing is that the Gigabyte Bios is nicely dialed in for Samsung based IC's. Let's hope the engineers can further enhance the RAM compatibility in the near future. It's a shame this board is only CrossfireX ready. No support for Nvidia SLI at all. Second big remark is the positioning of the SATA ports on this board. No idea who decided to put them in an upright position. With a big GPU cooler you will surely run into trouble if all SATA ports are in use.
All in all you get a fast Z77 chipset based motherboard that kicks some serious butt. Leaving some far more expensive boards behind. Ofcourse the decision to opt for a certain board depends on a lot of things: onboard features, gimmicks, colours, etc. If you are happy with just basic needs, no bling bling, then this Z77-D3H board must be an option on your shopping list.
- Fast, efficient Z77 mainstream motherboard
- Value price (120 euro's)
- OCability on air (LN2 not tested)
- Dual M bios
With the Z77X series Gigabyte offers two boards in the high end market. The black PCB gives the Z77X-UD3H and the Z77X-UD5H a real slick pro look. Retailing at around 220 euro, this board is not cheap, but offers a lot of functionality. Passing the [M] test suite was a no brainer. Both Gigabyte boards are, out of the box, amongst the fastest boards that we have tested. The tight preset subtimings in the bios are partly responsible for this good efficiency. Yes the same remark as with the Z77-D3H, the RAM compatibility at high speeds is so so. Manual timing intervention is a must, to reach higher speeds. For an enthousiast this is no problem, though the users that buy high end ram kits, might run into trouble if they are not used to wandering inside the zillions of options in the bios. Two UD5H boards passed through our hands and one was unsuitable for extreme benching as it had major issues around the -35°C mark. The 2nd board was far better and the new S biosses (for benching) drastically improve the handling of the board. However our Z77X-UD3H was far more cooperative for benching purposes and has got more then enough whistles and bells to be used as a bench platform. Testing is under progress with the older S2 bios.
But what about daily users ? The Z77X-UD5H got you all covered: good stability, SATA connectivity, dual lan ports, CrossfireX and SLI ready, dual bios, mSSD cache onboard, three onboard USB3.0 connectors,... If you need Wifi, Gigabyte also got a special wireless version in the lineup, the Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI. But for those that don't need eg the Marvell SATA, dual lan ports or a gazillion on power phases, the Z77X UD3H will suit you just fine. Retailing at a far lower price, the performance is similar and it will be a solid platform for your daily needs.
- Fast, efficient Z77 high end motherboard
- Dual LAN ports and bios
- Feature rich
- Black PCB adding to the pro look
- RAM compatability
- LN2 quirks
I wish to thank Bernice from Gigabyte NL for both samples and Dino from Gigabyte HQ for the support
Kingston for supplying the mSATA MS100 64GB SSD
And Mia from G.Skill for the RipjawsZ rams