It may be a controversial statement, but we don’t think we saw the best of Gigabyte when it came to its P67 and Z68 motherboards. The company was behind the curve from the off, thanks to its embarrassing lack of EFI support, and it never seemed to recover from this.
Instead it was left competing at the cheaper end of the market, with most of the Gigabyte boards that crossed our test bench remarkable only because of their rock bottom prices. It’s difficult to work out why a company of Gigabyte’s size and pedigree found themselves in this position - they were dominant in the previous generation X58 motherboards after all.
Thankfully the company seems to have drawn a line under its 6-series chipset woes and has hit the ground running with its 7-series releases - it already has 13 different Z77 SKUs out there on sale, with prices ranging from £83 to £283.
The cryptically titled GA-Z77X-UD5H that we’re looking at here sits in the middle of Gigabyte’s range, retailing for a not extortionate £159.99.
This is of course more than the £150 Asus Maximus V Gene that we looked at last week, but you do get a fair amount of extra PCB real estate for cash, as the UD5H is a full ATX rather than m-ATX board. This means you get a full seven expansion slots (3 x PCI-E 16x, 3 x PCI-E 1x and a single PCI) and more SATA 6Gbps ports too.
Aside from this, the spec of the UD5H is very similar to that of the Gene; it sports onboard power switches, voltage monitoring points, a POST readout and has a backup EFI chip, should the worst happen to the primary one, just like the Gene. One area where is rises above the Asus board (and indeed any other motherboard we’ve seen) is in onboard USB 3 support - the UD5H has an almost ludicrous three onboard USB3 headers. This sounds great in practice, but is of little practical benefit, given that cases generally only sport one or two USB 3 ports, so rarely need more than a single onboard header to satisfy their needs.
Click to enlarge
Chipset Intel Z77
CPU support LGA1155 Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7
Memory support 4 slots: max 32GB DDR3 (2,800MHz)
Expansion slots Three 16x PCI-E 3.0 slots (one 16x, one 8x, one 4x), three 1x PCI-E, one PCI
Sound 8-channel HD audio via Realtek ALC898
Networking Intel Gigabit Ethernet LAN, Atheros Gigabit LAN
Overclocking: Base Clock Range: 80-133.33MHz, CPU multiplier: 16-63, max voltages, CPU 1.9V
Ports 4 x SATA 6Gbps, 4 x SATA 3Gbps, eSATA 3Gbps, 8 x USB 2, 4 x USB 3, 2 x LAN, audio out, line in, mic, optical S/PDIF out, VGA, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort