The Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 motherboard features three
physical PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, but only the first slot supports videocards
in x16 mode. Gamers will be happy to heat that this Z68 board also supports
two-way nVidia SLI and ATI CrossfireX.
Keep in mind, if you install two videocards they'll
split the bandwidth equally and run in x8/x8 mode. The third PCI Express x16
slot shares bandwidth with the two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, if both of those
are empty it will run at x4 mode. If either PCIe x1 slots is populated the last
videocard slot defaults to x1 mode.
From afar Gigagbyte's GA-Z68X-UD5-3H might look like it
supports three-way videocard configurations, it doesn't. It's simply better to
use full size expansion cards so card-edge connectors aren't left hanging in the
open. The absence of a full allotment of gold connector pins is a dead giveaway
Rounding out the expansion slots on the Gigabyte
GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 motherboard we find two legacy PCI brackets, a standard not
natively supported by the Intel Z68 chipset. An ITEIT8728 controller fills in
that role and also takes on legacy control of PS/2 keyboards and mice.
Bundled in along with the front panel IO headers are two
6Gb/s SATA III and four 3Gb/s SATA II jacks. RAID 0/1/5/10 can be configured
across any of these ports, though it's best not to do that or performance may
suffer the lowest common denominator.
Along the bottom edge of the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3
motherboard are numerous fan, USB 2.0/3.0 and IEEE 1394 headers. The board
supports a total of 10 USB 2.0 ports, 8 USB 3.0 ports (4 on the back panel, 4
from the included 3.5" front panel bay that's bundled in) and 3 IEEE 1394 ports
(2 back panel, 1 via header). In short, there's a lot of connectivity here.
board gets a big old power switch that's very helpful when the motherboard is
being tested outside a system chassis. Beside that button is the reset switch
and CMOS reset button - a little too close together, don't you think!?
Six DDR3 memory
slots are available for population on the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3
Gigabyte's GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 motherboard supports
DDR3-1066/1333/1600/1866/2133 memory in a dual channel configuration. The
largest memory density for 64-bit operating systems is 32GB, for Windows 32-bit
you're capped at 4GB max. The four 1.5v DIMMs support Extreme Memory Profiles
Like all Intel Z68 platforms, the Gigabyte
GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 accommodates Intel socket 1155 2nd Generation 'Sandy Bridge' Core
i3/i5/i7 processors. It is not compatible with socket 1156 CPUs. The heatsink
mounting holes are different than socket 775 and socket 1366 platforms, but
mercifully are compatible with LGA 1156 thermal solutions. If in doubt, just
look at Frostytech's Top 5 Heatsink chart.
But wait, is that an nVidia NF200 chipset just to the
left of the CPU socket...?