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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 09 > GIGABYTE GA-Z97M-D3H

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06-09-2014


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GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3 motherboard; review and testing

The hero of our review the motherboard GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3 in the product lineup of the Taiwanese company takes an affordable spot of compact model. Due to the aim to reduce its final cost, the manufactures used not a flagship chipset Intel Z97 but Intel H97 that means the support of technology Intel Small Business Advantage. It has a traditional high quality performance, improved circuitry, and discreet design. Also it has a proprietary technology DualBIOS and a number of other features which we'll describe little bit more.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3

The specs:

Producer

GIGABYTE

Model

GA-H97M-HD3 (rev 1.0)

Chipset

Intel H97

SPU socket

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

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

Memory frequency

1333 / 1600 MHz

Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM- slot with memory support up to 16 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

1 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

Realtek ALC887 codec

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)

1 x system fan connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Extenral I/O

1 x HDMI

1 x D-Sub

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

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

3 x audio jacks

Internal I/O

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

2 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

1 х COM port

1 x LPT port

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 174 mm

Producer website

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

Packaging and content

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3

Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3 is shipped in thick and high-quality cardboard box, decorated in printing in dark yellow. The front side is given to the logo branded concept Ultra Durable, which includes the following features:

  • Cool - power circuits use high efficient field-effect transistors with low heat release.
  • Performance - the novelty has support of three video outputs including HDMI with displaying the image with resolution 3840-2160 p (4K Ultra HD) 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-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-H97M-HD3

In addition to CD with software and interface panel plug in the box we found four SATA cables.

Design and features

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3

New product is made on brown microATX printed circuit board (244 x 174 mm). It looks quite strictly due to the predominance of dark colors in the design. As for the on-board elements layout, all is done very thoughtfully. Despite the perpendicular arrangement of SATA ports, expansion cards will not prevent the access to them, as they are located closer to the right edge of the PCB.   

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3

Looking at the reverse side of the GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3, it may be noted not only the usual base plate of CPU socket, but also the fact that the only radiator is fixed with plastic clips.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, COM and LPT ports, as well as front panel connection module. Also here are two leading-in sockets for activation USB 2.0 ports. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is six: four are internal and two on the interface panel.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3

The possibilities of organize a disk subsystem are presented by six SATA 6 Gb/s ports 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 Intel Z97 chipset.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3

The system board has two DIMM-slots for memory modules of DDR3 standard. Modules operating at frequencies up to 1600 MHz in the nominal mode are supported. Maximum memory capacity can reach 16 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-HD3

Cooling system of the product includes one heat sink that provides heat removal from chipset Intel H97. In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 48°C;
  • choke temperature – 49.5°C.
  • temperature of field transistors 40.6°C.

Since this motherboard is not positioned as a game or overclocking solution, the absence of radiators on the elements of the power supply subsystem is not a critical drawback. In addition the recorded temperature readings are within an acceptable range.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-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: 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-HD3

To extend the functionality of GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3 user has fou slots:

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

It is expected that the new product offers the ability to install only one graphics card in a single PCI Express x16 slot, which is connected to the processor and always uses all 16 lines of the standard PCI Express 3.0.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-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-H97M-HD3

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

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-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-H97M-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-H97M-HD3

Sound subsystem of the model is based on the 8-channel HDA codec Realtek ALC887, which supports the audio systems of format 2/4/5.1/7.1.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-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 mouse or keyboard connection;
  • 3 x audio jacks.

This configuration is standard as it offers six USB ports and three video outputs including HDMI.  Additionally note due to the appropriate block on the surface of the printed circuit board you can put COM and LPT ports on the rear panel.

As for the features, the users of multichannel speaker system will face with its inconvenient connection and will have to apply audio outputs on the front panel.  

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3

The possibilities of organizing the cooling system inside the case of GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3 are quite standard. There are two 4-pin fan connectors; one is used for CPU cooling system, while another one is designed for system fans.

UEFI BIOS

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-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-H97M-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» («MIT»), where they are conveniently separated into thematic subsections.

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3

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

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3

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

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-HD3

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

Adjustments required to optimize the system:

Menu name

Range

Pitch

CPU Clock Ratio

8 – MAX

1

System Memory Multiplier

800 – 1600

 

CPU Vcore

0,900 – 1,200

0,001

DRAM Voltage

1,160 – 1,700

0,020

CPU Upgrade

Auto, 4,3, 4,4, 4,5, 4,6, 4,7 ГГц.

 

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

CPU Graphics Voltage (VAXG)

0,900 – 1,100

0,001

CPU RING Voltage

0,950 – 1,149

0,001

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

Intel Processor Graphics Memory

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

 

Timing Control

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

 

GIGABYTE GA-H97M-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 speed of installed fan rotation. Additionally, you can monitor the voltage on the processor core, memory modules, and on the lines +12 V, +5 V and +3.3.


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