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Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK review

Tom Morgan
13 Apr 2015
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
169
inc VAT

The Z97X-UD5H-BK is built to be reliable, with great performance and an unbeatable warranty – a fantastic choice for a rock-solid PC

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Specifications

Processor socket: LGA1150, Dimensions: , Chipset: Z97, Memory slots: 4, PCI-E x16 slots: 3, PCI-E x1 slots: 2, PCI slots: 2, USB ports: 2x USB, 6x USB3, Video outputs: VGA, DVI, HDMI

Gigabyte’s "Ultra Durable" Black Edition motherboards are tested and certified for a full seven days of use in servers and workstation PCs, but thanks to support for dual graphics cards, gaming-grade Killer networking chips and plenty of overclocking options, the Z97X-UD5H-BK is also a full-featured board for home users. The all-black colour scheme is offset with yellow highlights on the heat sinks around the processor, which look menacing when viewed through a case window.

The board's LGA1150 socket supports both 4th and 5th generation Intel Core processors, meaning it will accept a Haswell CPU now but will be ready for when Broadwell finally launches later in the year. Twin fan headers will let you fit a CPU cooler with two fans, without having to run cables across the motherboard, and there’s plenty of room around the processor socket for large air coolers. Four RAM slots support up to 32GB of DDR3 memory running natively at 1.6GHz, and will happily run overclocked memory at up to 3GHz.

Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK plan

In addition to the eight SATA3 ports, the Z97X-UD5H-BK also has a single SATA Express connector and an M.2 slot for SSDs, although using the M.2 slot will disable two of the SATA ports. All the SATA ports face outwards rather than upwards, so you may want to connect your cables before installing the board to avoid fiddly installation later.

The motherboard has plenty of other connection options, with six USB3 ports and two USB ports on the rear I/O panel, plus one USB3 and two USB headers on the board itself for adding more. DVI, HDMI and VGA outputs should let you connect the board to most displays if you plan on using your processor’s integrated graphics, but with three PCI-Express x16 slots there’s plenty of scope for adding a graphics card or two. The slots all share bandwidth, so will reduce to x8 speeds with two graphics cards installed in an SLI or CrossFire configuration.

Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK edge and ports

With our reference components (an Intel Core i5-4670k, 8GB of RAM and an AMD Radeon R7 260x graphics card) installed and running at their stock speeds, the Z97X-UD5H-BK scored 95 overall in our multimedia benchmarks. That puts it slightly behind our reference motherboard, but still capable of running demanding tasks such as video editing.

The Z97X-UD5H-BK is well suited to overclocking, with a second BIOS chip acting as backup in case you push your components too far. An LED POST code display, voltage measurement points and on-board power button will let you squeeze every ounce of performance out of your kit before you install it in a case. However, with no button to clear the CMOS on the rear panel, you’ll still have to open up your PC after a failed boot.

The board's UEFI BIOS is easy to navigate and all the settings are sensibly labeled, so you won’t have to reach for the manual when you want to make changes. There is an automatic overclocking mode, but for more precise control you can manually change CPU, RAM, chipset and VGA clocks and voltages.

We easily overclocked our Core i5-4670K to 4GHz simply by increasing the multiplier, with no need to mess around with the numerous core clocks or voltage settings in the BIOS. This resulted in a healthy performance increase in our multimedia benchmarks to 114, and a 3fps frame rate boost in Dirt Showdown. We managed these overclocks with the stock Intel CPU cooler, so a more efficient air cooler or water-cooling system could turn the board into a serious overclocker – temperatures were the only thing stopping us from going further.

This motherboard is a great performer, whether you opt for stock speeds or overclock your components, but arguably the biggest reason to buy a Z97X-UD5H-BK is Gigabyte’s fantastic upgrade offer. Anyone registering their Black Edition board purchase automatically qualifies for a five-year extended warranty, and becomes eligible for a free upgrade to an equivalent motherboard in the range at any point in the next three years.

Combined with its server-grade reliability certificate and comprehensive connectivity, the Z97X-UD5H-BK is one of the best-value Z97 motherboards you can buy. If your budget won’t quite stretch this far, however, the Asus Z97-E is a keenly priced alternative.

SPECIFICATIONS
Processor socketLGA1150
Dimensions305x244mm
ChipsetZ97
Memory slots4
PCI-E x16 slots3
PCI-E x1 slots2
PCI slots2
USB ports2x USB, 6x USB3
Video outputsVGA, DVI, HDMI
WarrantyThree years RTB
Detailswww.gigabyte.com
Part codeGA-Z97X-UD5H-BK

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