Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H review
The Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H might cost a little more than your average Intel Z77 motherboard, but this ATX model has a great range of features.
We were pleased to find on-board power, reset and clear CMOS buttons just behind the memory slots. These buttons are primarily of benefit to those who like to overclock and upgrade their systems, making the PC easier to test before it's fully wired into a case's front panel. Another handy feature is the LCD display for post error codes, which we prefer to deciphering beep codes.
Unlike many Z77 motherboards, this one lacks an automatic overclock feature, so you'll have to make all the necessary adjustments yourself if you want to push your processor beyond its default speed.
The UEFI interface isn't as sleek as those you'll find on some motherboards, but all the necessary features are present. However, we found keyboard navigation a little annoying and it took us a while to find all of the options we were after. It's a little strange that RAID configuration is handled within a separate interface, rather than from within the main firmware, where we'd have preferred to be able to access it. You can save multiple UEFI profiles, keeping distinct settings to recall at a later date, on to a USB stick only; the UEFI's storage is just for the current settings.
Expansion is generally excellent and there are three PCI-E x1 slots, a PCI slot and three PCI-E x16 slots. Confusingly, you can only run two graphics cards in SLI or CrossFireX mode, with the two primary PCI-E x16 slots both dropping to x8 speed. The third PCI-E x16 slot actually runs at x4 speed and, if it's used with a x4 card disables the other x1 slots. In addition, the PCI-E x1 immediately below the top x16 slot will be blocked if you install a graphics card with a large cooler.
The motherboard has fewer SATA ports than most at this price, with four SATA2 ports and two SATA3 ports, but there are also two eSATA ports at the back of the motherboard. Alongside them are a generous six USB3 ports; there's also a USB3 header on the board, plus three USB headers. There are six analogue 3.5mm audio ports and an optical S/PDIF audio output for the VIA VT2021 audio codec, as well as VGA, HDMI and DVI outputs for your processor's integrated graphics.
With an overall benchmark score of 101, the Z77X-UD3H performance exactly as you’d expect, but we prefer the easier overclocking interface of the Asus Maximus V Gene, while MSI’s Z77A-G45 is similarly specified and costs a lot less.
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