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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 11 > GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

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11-11-2014


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GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H motherboard: review and testing 

Looking at the performance characteristics of the motherboard GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H, we could make a preliminary conclusion that it offers a very good combination of compact size microATX, affordable cost and traditional for GIGABYTE high performance quality. In our view, primarily novelty can engage users wanting to build compact multimedia PC or just an entry-level home system with a single graphics card. The benefit for the first scenario the tested model can offer a convenient connection of multi-channel acoustics, support of three video outputs, as well as the appropriate form factor. As for simple everyday use, you have to like the presence of ample amounts of USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s. Also do not forget that one of the key differences of Intel H97 chipset from Intel Z97 package is support of technology Intel Small Business Advantage.  

Let's take a look at the detailed specs.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

The specs:

Producer

GIGABYTE

Model

GA-H97M-D3H (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

Supported CPUs

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 ALC892

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 and 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

1 х socket TPM

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

microATX

244 х 225 mm

Producer website

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

Packaging and content

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

The box of the motherboard GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H is made of thick and high-quality cardboard, decorated with printed labels in dark yellow colors. Most of the front side takes 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 effective design.
  • Performance - the novelty has support of technology AMD CrossFireX, three video outputs and gigabyte Realtek network controller.
  • 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-H97M-D3H

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-H97M-D3H

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

Design and features  

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

New product is made on dark-brown microATX printed circuit board (244 x 225 mm). It looks quite interesting due to the radiators of golden color. As for the on-board elements layout, all is done very thoughtfully. Despite the perpendicular arrangement of the ports SATA, expansion boards can not impede access to them, since they are closer to the center of the right edge of the PCB. On the other hand, it is worth noting one drawback, namely, the close proximity of the upper connector PCI Express 3.0 x16 and DIMM-slots, which are equipped with latches on both sides. Therefore, installation of memory modules may be difficult in the case of pre-assembly of graphics card. Also note the absence of the fastening holes on the edges of the right side of the PCB, which will require more care when connecting some components (the main power connector, SATA-devices and other).

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

Looking at the back side of GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H, it can be noted not only the usual base plate of the socket, but the fact that both radiators are secured with plastic clips.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, S/PDIF Out, COM, TPM and LPT ports, one of three sockets for system fans connection, front panel connection module 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-H97M-D3H

The possibilities of organize a disk subsystem are presented by six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, two of which are arranged perpendicular to plate surface. There is a support RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10. Operation of all interfaces is provided by chipset.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

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 internal and four on the interface panel. All of them are operated due to set of system logic.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

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 – 50.1°C;
  • radiators for cooling of processor power elements – 43.1°C.

Despite high temperature, the results are quite decent for an affordable solution that is not designed for serious overclocking experiments. Also note that there is a sufficient margin of safety up to the critical values.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

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: four 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-H97M-D3H

To extend the functionality of GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H user has four slots:

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

As we can see, only one PCI Express x16 slot is connected to the processor. It always uses all 16 lines of the standard PCI Express 3.0, while the second socket is connected to the chipset and it has available up to 4 lines of PCI Express 2.0. Due to the support of technology AMD CrossFireX, you can install two graphics cards in mode x16+ 4, however, this scheme is not optimal for realizing the potential of such a bundle. Therefore, we can conclude that this motherboard is most suitable for only one graphics accelerator, while the second PCI Express x16 slot is more reasonable to use for other expansion cards, as the novelty has not the support of PCI Express x1.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

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-H97M-D3H

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 chip PTN3360DBS.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

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-H97M-D3H

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

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

Sound subsystem of the model is based on the 8-channel codec Realtek ALC892.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

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 connection of mouse or keyboard);
  • 6 x audio jacks.

Due to the majority of the most useful video outputs, easy connection of multi-channel speakers, as well as ample amount of ports USB, this configuration is quite successful not only for the multimedia system, but for a home PC with the widest range of tasks. Additionally we recall that using appropriate modules on the surface of the circuit board, you can put ports COM and LPT to the rear panel, which significantly expands the list of supported peripherals.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

The possibilities of organizing the cooling system inside the case of GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H 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-H97M-D3H

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-H97M-D3H

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-H97M-D3H

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

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

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

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-D3H

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

Graphics core 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

Chipset voltage

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-H97M-D3H

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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