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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 08 > GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

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Republish review

04-08-2014


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GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H motherboard review and testing

Motherboards in the price range up to $ 200 can offer the customer a very good balance of cost and capabilities. GIGABYTE company tries to present as much as possible combinations of the various features in different models, so each user could pick out exactly what he needs not overpaying for unnecessary features.

If you look at the specifications of today’s the hero motherboard GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H, which at the moment of material writing was 180 - 185 dollars, we can assume that it is perfect to build a home PC with lots of storage and one or two graphics cards. Also note a nice bonus in the form of high-quality audio subsystem. And thanks to the flagship chipset Intel Z97 wide overclocking capabilities of processors with unlocked multiplier are implemented.

However, let's look at all its features in more details. Let us begin with the specifications.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

The specs:

Producer

GIGABYTE

Model

GA-Z97X-UD3H (rev 1.0)

Chipset

Intel Z97

SPU socket

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

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

Memory frequency

1333 / 1600 / 1800* / 1866* / 2000* / 2133* / 2200* / 2400* / 2500* / 2600* / 2666* / 2800* / 2933* / 3000* / 3100* МГц

(*OC)

Memory support

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

Expansion slots

2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (CPU)

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 (PCH)

х16

х8+х8

х8+х8+х4

3 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

1 x PCI

Memory support

Intel Z97 chipset supports:

1 x M.2 (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280)

6 x SATA 6 GB/s

1 x SATA Express

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Intel WGI217V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Realtek ALC1150 codec

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

24-pin ATX main power connector

8-pin ATX12V power connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

3 x system fan connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Aluminum radiators on power subsystem elements

Extenral I/O

1 x HDMI

1 x D-Sub

1 x DVI-D
2 х PS/2 (for mose nad keyboard connection)

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

4 x USB 2.0

5 x audio jacks

1 х S/PDIF Out

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 jamper

1 х S/PDIF Out

1 х COM port

1 x TPM port

BIOS

AMI UEFI BIOS

2 x 64 Mbit

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

4 x SATA cables

1 x 2-Way NVIDIA SLI bridge

1 х faceplate of interface panel

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 х 225 mm

Producer website

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

Packaging and content

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H 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 as well as radiators with effective design.
  • Performance - the novelty has support of SATA Express and M.2 connectors, as well as qualitative sound subsystem and Gigabit network controller produced by Intel Company.
  • Durable - involves the use of long-life solid capacitors of series Durable Black, gold-plated CPU connectors and a double layer of copper in the PCB.
  • 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-Z97X-UD3H

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-Z97X-UD3H

In addition to CD with software and interface panel plug in the box we found four SATA cables, as well as a nice bonus in the form of 2-Way NVIDIA SLI bridge.

Design and features

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

The novelty can boast with black matte PCB which is made in format ATX (305 x 225 mm). As you can see, due to non-standard width, motherboard doesn’t have mounting holes on the right side. Due to this fact you should be careful during connection of main power cable and remote panel with USB 3.0 ports.

In general GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H has a very nice design and very well-thought on-board layout elements.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

In addition to the traditional support plate of the CPU socket, on the back side you can draw attention to the fact that the radiator on the chipset is mounted with the help of screws, and on the elements of power system plastic clips are used.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in sockets, S/PDIF Out, COM and TPM ports, two from three system fans sockets (with color identification for simplified connection process) and  CMOS jumper. Also here are two leading-in sockets for activation USB 2.0 ports. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is eight: four are internal and four on the interface panel.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

The possibilities of organize a disk subsystem are presented by M.2 socket (SSD drives with format M.2 2242, 2260 and 2280 are supported), six SATA 6 GB/s ports, as well as one SATA Express. There is a support RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10. Operation of all interfaces is provided by Intel Z97 chipset.

Note that there are certain restrictions of the simultaneous usage of above mentioned ports. Thus, the user can use either SATA Express or M.2 (NGFF), or two SATA 6 GB/s (on the scheme SATA3 4/5).

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

The system board has four DIMM-slots for memory modules of DDR3 standard. RAM can operate in dual channel mode. To implement the plates must be installed either in the first and third or second and fourth slots. Modules operating at frequencies from up to 1600 MHz in the nominal mode and up to 3100 MHz in overclocking 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-Z97X-UD3H

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

Cooling system of the product includes three radiators: one provides heat removal from chipset Intel Z97, while two other over power subsystem elements.

In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 37°C;
  • radiator for cooling of processor elements power – 35.1°C.

The received results are characterized as good.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

Processor power supply is performed via 8-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 and field-effect transistors Durable Black , 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. Also here you can find additional PCI Express socket next to 24-pin power connector. It will be useful for building of strong graphics subsystem made from two or more graphics cards

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

To extend the functionality of GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H user has seven slots:

  1. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  2. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х16 or х8);
  3. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  4. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  5. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х8);
  6. PCI;
  7. PCI Express 2.0 x16 (mode х4).

Two of three PCI Express x16 slots are connected to the processor and share 16 lines of standard PCI Express 3.0, while the third connector is connected to the chipset and uses maximum 4 lines of PCI Express 2.0. Due to the support of technologies AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI the novelty is suitable for the installation of one or two graphics cards, since the presence of the slot with bandwidth x4 limits the potential of joint of three graphics accelerators.

Due to the absence of free chipset lines, slot PCI Express 2.0 x16 (x4) shares bandwidth with three PCI Express 2.0 x1 ports. Therefore, in the case of board installation that requires all 4 lines, slots PCI Express 2.0 x1 will not be available.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

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-Z97X-UD3H

If you decided to take advantage of the integrated graphics core, then you have three video outputs: HDMI, DVI-I and D-Sub. The switching between them is realized by two chips PTN3360DBS and ASMedia ASM1442K.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

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

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

To support network connections there is a GB LAN-controller Intel WG1217V and network resource sharing will provide the utility cFos Speed which also guaranties reduction of delays during transferring the network information.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

Sound subsystem of model GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H is based on the 8-channel codec Realtek ALC1150, which provides sound playback with signal/noise ratio (SNR) at the level of 115 dB and recording at level 104 dB. In addition, it supports technologies Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), Beam Forming (BF) and Noise Suppression (NS). The codec banding uses audio amplifier that provides operation even of studio headphones with an impedance of 600 Ohms.

The audio path is shielded from interference of other motherboard components with a protective strip with LED-backlit. And to reduce crosstalk the left and right audio channels are placed on individual layers PCB.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

Interface panel of the model contains the following ports:

  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 4 x USB 3.0;
  • 4 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x D-Sub;
  • 2 x PS/2 for mouse and keyboard connection;
  • 1 х S/PDIF Out;
  • 5 x audio jacks.

This configuration can be called a perfect not only for the mid-level model, but also for the more expensive solutions. There are not only almost all most popular video outputs, but also a large number of USB ports, optical S/PDIF Out, as well as convenient connection of multi-channel speakers. Additionally note due to the appropriate block on the surface of the printed circuit board you can put COM port on the rear panel which significantly expands the list of supported peripherals.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

The possibilities of organizing the cooling system inside the case of GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H are very good. There are five 4-pin fan connectors, two of which are used for CPU cooling system, while the other three are designed for system fans.

UEFI BIOS

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

Motherboard is equipped with modern UEFI firmware based on microcode AMI with the ability to operate in four modes: Smart Tweak HD (resolution 1280), Smart Tweak (resolution 1024, without a permanent display of the processor status, memory and system sensors on the sides), Classic mode (classic version of BIOS) and StartUp mode (mode of initial BIOS setting).

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

As you may have noticed that during operation in mode Smart Tweak HD there is no certain section responsible for monitoring of voltages and temperatures on main components. All this information is displayed on side faces. Here you can see the CPU temperature and fan speed, monitor the voltage on the memory module, processor, and power lines +12V, +5V and +3.3V, as well as a number of other important parameters. Note that all items in Classic mode are available in Smart Tweak HD.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

All settings related to key elements of the system are grouped in the respective sections.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

In the section «Frequency» it is possible to select one of the six types of automatic optimization of system parameters.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

Frequency multiplier allows to set module connection speed within 800-2933MHz.

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H

If necessary, the section “Voltage” can provide the access the settings of voltage on all the key components of the system.

Adjustments required to optimize the system:

Menu name

Range

Pitch

CPU Clock Ratio

8 – MAX

 

CPU Base Clock

80,00 – 266,66

0,01

Processor Base Clock

1,00 – 2,50

 

System Memory Multiplier

800 – 2933

 

CPU Vcore

0,500 – 1,800

0,001

Performance Upgrade

Auto, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 100%

 

CPU Upgrade

Auto; 4,3; 4,4; 4,5; 4,6; 4,7 ГГц

DRAM Voltage

1,160 – 2,100

0,020

PCH Core

0,650 – 1,300

 

0,005

Processor Graphics Clock

400 – 4000

50

Turbo Power Limit

1 – 4096

1

Core Current Limit

10 – 1000

1

CPU VRIN Protection

150,0 – 400,0

50

DDR CH(A/B) Voltage Pro

150,0 -300,0

50

DRAM Termination

0,325 – 1,939

0,003

CPU VRIN PWM Switch

300,0 – 400,0

50

DDR CH(A/B) PWM Switch

200,0 - 300,0

50

CPU VRIN External Override

1,000 – 2,400

0,010

CPU Graphics Voltage

0,500 – 1,700

0,001

CPU RING Voltage

0,800 – 1,800

0,001

CPU System Agent Voltage

-0,300 - +0,400

0,001

CPU I/O Analog Voltage

-0,300 – +0,400

0,001

CPU I/O Digital Voltage

-0,300 – +0,400

0,001

PCH I/O

1,050 – 1,900

0,005

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

 


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