Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H Review: Functionality meets Competitive Pricingby Ian Cutress on July 25, 2012 5:00 AM EST
- Posted in
On paper, the Z77X-UD5H sounds like a great board with a ton of features. It is hard not to notice the dual network ports (one Intel), the mSATA, the extra SATA ports, a total of 10 USB 3.0 ports available (if you have enough USB 3.0 panels), a full compliment of PCIe 3.0 GPU lanes for tri-GPU, a Trusted Platform Module, Firewire/IEEE1394 and a full set of video outputs. All of this for $180 seems a bargain, especially considering the rest of the motherboards in this price bracket.
Gigabyte has also been improving its BIOS functionality, and is now giving us something that is quick to respond and a little easier to navigate. We have suggested several features that would be beneficial to non-technical users and enthusiasts alike, and we hope that Gigabyte take them on-board.
Unfortunately, the buck sort of stops there - talking about the software and performance from here on out does not bring gold medals. Starting with the software, I am sad to say that it is looking very outdated and needs a swift kick in the correct direction. It has not changed in any way since I first started reviewing for AnandTech 18 months ago. Some items do not need changing, like @BIOS, but EasyTune6 is still rough around the edges. It would be nice for Gigabyte to also consolidate all their software into a single clean interface for a user.
Performance on the Z77X-UD5H ends with mixed results - the motherboard benefits from MultiCore Enhancement, which gives the full turbo-mode of the CPU no matter the CPU loading. On the i7-3770K this means an extra couple of hundred MHz on standard - this helps the Z77X-UD5H reach the top (or near top) results in our CPU testing.
The UD5H comes more often than not in the middle in terms of peak and real-world IO performance, but drags behind when it comes to DPC Latency. In the gaming tests, the UD5H has some preferential tests but others are not so great, even though the board comes top in all the boards we have tested with three AMD GPUs due to the x8/x4/x4 PCIe 3.0 configuration.
The reality of it comes down to the fact that Gigabyte has encrusted this motherboard with many features for a low price. This is hard to ignore. Performance is always there or there about, and if you end up not too bothered about fans (or have your own controller), the Z77X-UD5H represents a good buy at a good price point. Users who want a WiFi controller can also invest an extra $30 to purchase the Z77X-UD5H-WB-WiFi version, at the expense of a PCIe x1 slot.
For offering so many features on a Z77 motherboard for $180, I would like to give the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H an AnandTech Editors' Choice Bronze Award. It represents good value in a motherboard market that is blurring the lines between mid-range and high-end products.
AnandTech Editors' Choice Bronze Award
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
Belard - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - linkIts in the BIOS POWER settings. I've been building some systems with its smaller sister boards. You can go to gigabyte, track down the manual and look it up... it should be there. Also, it gives you the option to power up with a mouse.
Even a wireless USB keyboard manage to power up the system (cool).
shin0bi272 - Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - linkI know intel is capable of doing on chip video and there have been boards with onboard video for forever but the trend of putting 9001 video ports on the back of the thing instead of oh say 1 is disturbing.
Lets be honest if youre a gamer and you want 3 way SLI you dont need onboard video. Likewise if youre not a gamer and you want to plug your monitor into the motherboard you dont need 3way pci-e 3.0 sli. Pick one and go with it!
Plus if you wanted to you could include a couple of adapters to go from dvi to vga or dvi to hdmi and have 1 plug on the board itself which will save space on the back i/o panel and allow for more important things like more esata or usb3.0 or even that wifi that the review alluded to.
This is a case of a motherboard manufacturer trying to please everyone with 1 board instead of making a gamer board and a HTPC board and a file server board. Saves them money but screws the consumer.
shin0bi272 - Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - linkoh and if usb 3.0 is backwards compatible with 2.0 ... why include 2.0 at all?
Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - linkUSB 3.0 support is still a little bit hinky; a fresh install of Windows 7 may not recognize your keyboard if it's plugged into a USB 3.0 port without drivers.
And uh...I use two of the display outputs on the back of my motherboard. Multi-monitor isn't that uncommon these days.
IanCutress - Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - linkEach USB 3.0 controller has an associated Bill of Materials cost. You only get 4 USB 3.0 from the chipset, but 12 USB 2.0. USB 3.0 as Dustin says is a bit flaky at times - technically the Intel USB 3.0 should work at boot but they do not always, depends on how the motherboard traces are routed.
Regarding boards and video outputs. If the CPU has the capability to, motherboard manufacturers get slammed if they don't include at least one or two video outputs just in case a user wants them. Imagine I had this board and strapped in a few NVIDIA GPUs for CUDA programming. If I could, I'd use the onboard IGP for my display, then have the GPUs purely for computational needs, and still have all the PCIe 3.0 bandwidth I would need.
Grok42 - Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - linkI don't think I've ever agreed and disagreed with a post so much before.
I think it is about time that motherboards ship with the ability to run multi-monitor setups out of the box. Hopefully all four can drive a monitor at once! What is crazy is that they are shipping with 3-4 DIFFERENT connectors! I think all graphics connectors are completely terrible. Not one of them could drive an iPad3 screen even if the DVI was dual-link. This is why Apple is moving to thunderbolt I think but it still isn't clear to me that a Thunderbolt port could drive a hi-res display like an iPad. The next connector should have the ability to drive an 16k display so we can live with one connector for a decade. Monitors last 2x-4x the lifespan of a computer. Build a connector that will last!
Of all the things we need more of, USB isn't one of them. At work we drive 24-48 USB devices on standard low end dell computers. Most DIY motherboards like this support at least 6 and more typically 10. If you need more than that a simple hub which you already have in your monitor/keyboard/mouse/toaster will give you all you need.
Now the part I think you're spot on is that they are trying to please everyone with one board. I would expand this to the entire industry. If you've seen any of my screeds about computer cases you know that there is really one one type of case for sale, the one that sorta works for everyone but isn't great for anyone. The MB market is better but still a mess. Right now they have lines that are broken into feature grades with each higher level board simply adding more stuff. Instead they should be aimed at what consumers want to build.
If you are making a highly overclockable board with support for 3 PCI-E graphics boards do you really need/want 10 SATA ports? Who is overclocking their file server and run an SLI console? The problem is if you back off to a lower grade board you lose something you do need so your file server has SLI support even if you don't want it.
epobirs - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - linkYou are completely wrong. The iPad3 display is merely 2048x1536. Not a big deal for dual link DVI which has been used to drive 2560x1600 displays for many years before the 'Retina' designation came out of Apple's marketing department. The idea that the iPad3 display is somehow the bleeding edge of screen tech is laughter inducing. The only thing remarkable about is the small size. Such resolutions are old news for large displays, especially in the professional markets. Keep in mind, the Retina designation is about pixel density, not just resolution.
The only port on that panel that cannot drive a Retina display without breaking a sweat is the legacy VGA. DVI is showing its age but we have two successors already in HDMI and Display Port. Both of those are capable of driving 4K displays that won't be common in the consumer sector for several years. More importantly, the on-board GPU tops out at 4K, so equipping the board to drive anything greater is an utter waste.
The newer ports are already designed with monitors most people won't be able to consider buying for a very long time. Nor do today's displays have the same longevity as CRTs did. Fortunately, they compensate by rapidly improving in bang for the buck. When my $300 1680x1050 22" monitor, which seemed an amazing bargain when first purchased, died after a bit over three years, I replaced it with a 27" 1080p screen for around $250. On another desk I put in an ACER 32" HDTV as the monitor for $250, just because I could. (I remember paying close to $1,000 for my first 17" CRT that weighed close to 80 pounds.)
Trying to design for what will be called for a decade from now is just a waste of time. Extremely few consumers will benefit and there is a good chance NOBODY will benefit because something came along that changed things so much as to render your long term plan badly obsolete. The payoff just isn't there. VGA has been around since 1987 but there aren't any displays from that era or ten years later that are worth the trouble to use today.
I'm reminded of back in 1999 when A certain type of Apple snob loved to go about how the original 128K Mac had no Y2K issues. Who cares? If you were still relying on an 80s Mac in 1999 your life would have to be so miserable as to make Y2K terribly low on your list of troubles.
As for USB and SATA ports, in a full sized ATX board I'd far rather have ports going unused than have to add more later. If I want minimalist I'll build with a smaller board and case. They each have their place.
aaronb1138 - Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - linkEven VGA can drive up to around 2560x1600 @ 60 Hz, but cable quality and length becomes a factor (you need a $15-30 shielded cable instead of a $5 one). I run a Sony FW900 at 2048x1280 @ 85 Hz over VGA cleanly (BNC or VGA connectors, both are equal with good cables).
Dual link DVI can run 2560x1600 @ 60 Hz at 10 bits per color (30 bit color).
Belard - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - linkThis is not a true 3X SLI board. It has the slots, but not the lanes to do full blown 16x16x6 or even 8x8x8. At $140~170, its a upper mid-range board.
I build system with Gigabtye mATX boards... it'll support 8x8 SLI or two Cross-fire boards, it also has 3 16x slots. Not bad for $80 (Microcenter discounts).
So having the various types of video ports is very good for typical people who only use a single monitor. With the 4 types, everyone is covered. For a dual monitor with DVI inputs, I used a DVI-DVI cable and spent $15 for a HDMI>DVI cable... not a big deal.
Even $400 video cards will require adapter cables to use in multi-monitor setups.
rickon66 - Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - linkI still think that this board has great bang for the buck, especially since itis often available for $139.99 at Micro Center.