Gigabyte Z68AP-D3 review
LGA1155, ATX, Intel Z68 Express chipset, supports: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 (Sandy Bridge)
Gigabyte’s mid-range Z68 offering has all the features we’d expect from a sub-£100 motherboard, plus the addition of an mSATA SSD port. This lets you install a small SSD alongside a traditional hard disk to get the benefits of faster file access and transfer times without the costly expense of larger solid-state storage thanks to Intel Smart Response caching technology.
MSata ports aren’t very big, so Gigabyte has still managed to squeeze in four memory slots capable of holding up to 32GB of DDR3 RAM, two PCI-Express x16 slots, three PCI-Express x1 slots and two PCI slots. The second PCI-E x16 slot operates in x4 mode if you install two graphics cards and x1 mode if both PCI-E x1 slots are filled.
SATA connectivity is decent, with three SATA2 ports and two faster SATA3 ports. This should still be fine for the vast majority of people. USB connectivity is much better, with four ports on the rear I/O panel and three headers on the motherboard. There are also two USB3 ports, but no motherboard headers for connecting a case I/O panel.
The mSATA port is a neat addition to the motherboard that makes giving your computer a speed boost easy, without having to manually reconfigure your storage to use an SSD for booting an a hard disk for storage. Give its low price and excellent performance, the Z68AP-D3 wins a Best Buy award.