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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 11 > GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

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Republish review

13-11-2014


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GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3 motherboard: review and testing

It's no secret that the available models make up the lion's share of sales of many companies, so it is logical that the GIGABYTE continues to expand its range not only by flagship devices, but also inexpensive solutions available to most users. Such model is GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3. To reduce the ultimate cost the manufacturer decided to refuse the interfaces SATA Express and M.2, and use not flagship chipset Intel Z97, but Intel H97, which has provided the support of technologies Intel Small Business Advantage. Its presence can bring it to the business audience. Let’s consider in more details what features of a new product are available for the user.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

The specs:

Producer

GIGABYTE

Model

GA-H97-HD3 (rev 1.0)

Chipset

Intel H97

CPU socket

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 4th and 5th generation: Intel Haswell, Intel Haswell Refresh, Intel Devil`s Canyon, Intel Broadwell

Memory frequency

1333 / 1600 MHz

Memory support

4 x DDR3 DIMM- slot with memory support up to 32 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (CPU)

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 (PCH)

x16

x16+x4

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

2 x PCI

Disk subsystem

Intel H97 chipset supports:

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Realtek RTL8111F (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC887

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

24-pin ATX main power connector

8-pin ATX12V power connector

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

3 x system fan connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Aluminum radiator on CPU power elements 

Extenral I/O

1 x HDMI

1 x D-Sub

1 x DVI-D
1 х PS/2 (for mouse or keyboard connection)

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

6 x audio jacks

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

3 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS reset

1 х S/PDIF Out

1 х socket COM

1 x socket LPT

BIOS

AMI UEFI BIOS

2 x 64 Мb

PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Driver and utility disc

2 x SATA cables

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 х 190 mm

Producer website

GIGABYTE
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on support page

Packaging and content

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

The box of motherboard GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3, is made of thick and high-quality cardboard, decorated with printed labels in dark yellow color. Most of the front side has the logo of the brand concept Ultra Durable, which includes the following features:

  • Cool - power circuits use high efficient field-effect transistors with low heat release and there are radiators with improved design.
  • Performance - the novelty has support of three video outputs to display the image with resolution 4096x2160 (4K Ultra HD) and gb network of the company Realtek.
  • Durable - involves the use of long-life solid capacitors and gold-plated CPU connectors.
  • Safe - this model is equipped with two chips with firmware BIOS (main and backup) that will allow you to avoid a visit to the service center in the event of damage of the main chip. Here is a presence of additional protection of USB s and LAN ESD ports. Each LAN and USB-port is paired with a special protective filter that can withstand electrostatic discharge, which protects the system from power surges, even during a thunderstorm. Also here is the availability of protective circuits that protect internal components from overvoltage as well as improved laying of fiberglass on the PCB thus reducing the negative effects of moisture.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

On the reverse side there is a schematic representation of the motherboard, its interface panel, and the description of the key benefits of new item.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

In addition to CD with software and interface panel plug in the box we found two SATA cables which are quite expected for budget solution.

Design and features  

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

The base of GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3 is a brown printed circuit board of ATX format with a bit of irregular width (190 mm). Its design has a bright decoration of radiators, especially the original form of one of them, which is responsible for cooling the power components of the power subsystem. In general, despite the affordable price, the novelty does not look dull and gray, which can be attributed to its merits.

The layout of elements on-board is made in accordance with the current canons, but one thing still deserves a special attention: the use of overall expansion cards with interface PCI or PCI Express can partially block the ports SATA.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

The reverse side of the PCB is also all quite familiar: here is the base plate of the socket and the plastic clip for fastening the radiators.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, S/PDIF Out, COM and LPT ports, module to connect the front panel (with color identification to simplify the connection process of the corresponding processes) and CMOS reset. Also here are three leading-in sockets for activation USB 2.0 ports. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is eight: six are internal and two on the interface panel.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

The possibilities of organize a disk subsystem are presented by six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, which are realized by chipset. There is a support arrays RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10. Note that access to them can be difficult due to their perpendicular arrangement, in the case of installation of overall expansion cards with interface PCI or PCI Express.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

The system board has four DIMM-slots for memory modules of DDR3 standard that can operate in dual channel mode. For its realization the modules should be installed either in first and third or second and fourth slots. Modules operating at frequencies up to 1600 MHz in the nominal mode are supported. Maximum memory capacity can reach 32 GB, which is sufficient for almost all tasks.

Leading-in socket on a remote panel with USB 3.0 ports is also located on the right side of the PCB. Total number of USB 3.0 ports is six: two are internal and four on the interface panel. All of them are operated due to set of system logic.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

Cooling system of the product includes two heat sinks: the first provides heat removal from chipset Intel H97, while the second is responsible for cooling of power elements of the CPU. In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 45.5°C;
  • radiators for cooling of processor power elements – 43.1°C.

Despite the use of plastic clips for attaching the heat sinks, they provide a safe and highly effective cooling of the key components.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

Processor power supply is performed via 4-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ISL9582. The circuitry is made by high quality components such as: solid capacitors, MOS transistor with low open channel resistance and chokes with ferrite cores. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

To extend the functionality of GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3 user has seven slots:

  1. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  2. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х16);
  3. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  4. PCI Express 2.0 x16 (mode х4);
  5. PCI;
  6. PCI.

Despite the support of technology AMD CrossFireX technology and the presence of two PCI Express x16 slots, talking about installation of two graphics cards is impossible, because only one connector is connected to the processor, while the second uses a maximum of four lines of chipset PCI Express 2.0.

Therefore, if you install two graphivs cards, they will work according x16+x4 scheme that does not allow to reveal their full potential. Also note that due to the lack of free chipset lines slot PCI Express 2.0 x16 (x4) shares bandwidth with two ports PCI Express 2.0 x1. Therefore, in the case of installation of a board that requires to complete the work, all four lines, connectors PCI Express 2.0 x1 will be unavailable.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

Since chipset Intel Z97 doesn’t support bus PCI, the functioning of the connector is implemented using PCIe-PCI bridge based on the controller ITE IT8892E.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

If you decided to take advantage of the integrated graphics core, then you have three video outputs: HDMI, DVI-D and D-Sub. The switching between them is realized by two chips PTN3360DBS and ASMedia ASM1442.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

Multi I/O capabilities are based on ITE IT8620E chip which controls the operation of the system fans, COM, LPT and PS/2 ports, as well as provides the monitors.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

To support network connections there is a GB LAN-controller Realtek RTL8111F and network resource sharing will provide the utility LAN Optimizer.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

Sound subsystem of the model is based on the 8-channel codec Realtek ALC892 that supports the sound systems of format 2/4/5.1/7.1.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

Interface panel of the model contains the following ports:

  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 4 x USB 3.0;
  • 2 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x D-Sub;
  • 1 x PS/2 for mouse or keyboard connection;
  • 6 x audio jacks.

Configuration of the interface panel is quite successful due to the presence of sufficient ports USB, three video outputs, as well as convenient connection of multi-channel speakers. It is worth mentioning the possibility to put on the rear panel ports COM and LPT.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

The possibilities of organizing the cooling system inside the case of GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3 are quite standard. There are four 4-pin fan connectors; one is used for CPU cooling system, while other three are designed for system fans.

UEFI BIOS

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

Motherboard is equipped with modern UEFI firmware based on microcode AMI nice design, ability to control by mouse and support of drives with capacity more than 3 TB. It has two BIOS chips (technology GIGABYTE DualBIOS) which save the performance of the system in case of main chip damage. 

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

Most of the settings related to the change in frequency of the clock generator (BCLK), CPU, integrated graphics core and memory are grouped in section «MB Intelligent Tweaker» («M.I.T.»), where they are conveniently separated into thematic subsections.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

Frequency multiplier allows to set module connection speed within 800-1600MHz.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

If necessary, the section “Advanced Memory Settings” can provide the access to memory latency support.

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

Also is available opportunity to fine-tune of the voltage on the main components of the system.

Adjustments required to optimize the system:

Parameter

Menu name

Range

Pitch

CPU multiplier

CPU Clock Ratio

8 – MAX

1

RAM frequency

System Memory Multiplier

800 – 1600

 

CPU voltage

CPU Vcore

0,900 – 1,200

0,001

RAM voltage

DRAM Voltage

1,160 – 1,700

0,020

Profiles of automatic overclocking

CPU Upgrade

Auto; 4,3; 4,4; 4,5; 4,6; 4,7 GHz

 

GPU frequency

Processor Graphics Clock

400 – 4000

50

 

Turbo Power Limit (Watts)

1 – 4096

1

 

Core Current Limit (Amps)

10 – 1000

1

 

CPU VRIN External Overrride

1,700 – 1,900

0,010

GPU voltage

CPU Graphics Voltage (VAXG)

0,900 – 1,100

0,001

 

CPU RING Voltage

0,950 – 1,149

0,001

System agent voltage

CPU System Agent Voltage

-0,100 – +0,100

0,001

 

CPU I/O Analog Voltage

-0,100 – +0,100

0,001

 

CPU I/O Digital Voltage

-0,100 – +0,100

0,001

 

PCH Core

0,965 – 1,150

0,005

 

PCH IO

1,400 – 1,600

0,000

Memory capacity for graphics core of the CPU 

Intel Processor Graphics Memory

32, 64, 96, 128, 192, 224, 256, 320, 384, 448, 512, 1024

 

RAM timing

Timing Control

CAS, tRCD, tRP, tRAS, tRRD, tWTR, tWR, tWTP, tWL, tRFC, tRTP, tFAW

 

GIGABYTE GA-H97-HD3

In the section «PC Health Status» you will find the access for monitoring the temperature of the processor and chipset, as well as the rotation speed of installed fans. Additionally, you can monitor the voltage on the processor core, memory modules, and on the lines +12 V, +5 V and +3.3. You can take screenshots. 


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