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Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 Intel Z68 Motherboard Review

Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 Intel Z68 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Socket 1155 motherboards like the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 which are built around it offer up a mainstream suite of capabilities and a kitchen sink full o'features. The board supports 2nd Generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7 2xxx-series socket LGA1155 processors - these CPUs are based on the Intel 'SandyBridge' architecture which includes an integrated graphics core on the CPU die.
 88% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Aug 16 2011   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3

Intel Z68 Express Chipset

Intel's Z68 Express chipset has essentially the same feature set as the Intel P67 and H67 chipsets combined, the notable new addition being Smart Response Technology.

Intel Smart Response Technology is a particularly neat solution that brings about like-SSD performance to operating systems and applications installed on traditional mechanical SATA hard disk drives (HDD). It works by storing frequently accessed hard drive I/O data blocks on a small capacity, dedicated 'caching SSD' that Windows 7 can commonly used data very quickly. See PCSTATS in depth review here for the full story.


The Intel Z68 Express Chipset

Looking at the block diagram below you'll note that the Intel Z68 PCH communicates with the socket LGA1155 processor over a DMI link at 20Gb/s and by way of the Intel FDI (Flexible Display Interface) and hosts eight PCI Express 2.0 lanes running at 5Gb/s. The remaining 16 PCI Express 2.0 lanes needed for motherboard graphics support are allocated by the processor itself for 16GB/s total bandwidth.

Intel Chipset Feature Comparison
Intel Z68 Express Intel P67 Express Intel H67 Express Intel X58 Express
CPU LGA 1155
Core i5/i7 2nd Gen.
LGA 1155
Core i5/i7 2nd Gen.
LGA 1155
Core i5/i7 2nd Gen.
LGA 1366
Core i7
Chipset Code Name Couger Point (65nm) Couger Point (65nm) Couger Point (65nm) Tylersburg (65nm)
Bus Interface / Speed DMI 20Gb/s DMI 20Gb/s DMI 20Gb/s QPI 25.6Gb/s
Memory Support DDR3-1333, dual channel DDR3-1333, dual channel DDR3-1333, dual channel DDR3 1066, triple channel
Maximum Memory Capacity 32GB (64-bit) 32GB (64-bit) 32GB (64-bit) 24GB (64-bit)
Integrated Graphics Yes. via CPU - Yes. via CPU -
Integrated Graphics Ports HDMI, DVI, DP, VGA - HDMI, DVI, DP, VGA -
PCI Express 2.0 Lanes 8 8 8 36
PCI Express x1 Lanes 0 0 0 6
Intel Rapid Storage Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intel Smart Response Technology Yes - - -
SATA 6Gb/s | SATA 3Gb/s | IDE Ports 2/4/0 2/4/0 2/4/0 0/6/0
RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10 (via ICH10R)
Intelgrated LAN 10/100/1000 MAC 10/100/1000 MAC 10/100/1000 MAC -
USB 3.0 Ports 0 0 0 0
USB 2.0 Ports 14 14 14 12
PCI Masters 0 0 0 6
Intel High Definition Audio Yes Yes Yes Yes

While Intel's H67 chipset featured the FDI link so motherboards could rely on the integrated graphics core within the socket 1155 SandyBridge processor, the Intel P67 chipset did not.

As you can see in the above Chipset Feature Comparison chart, the Intel Z68 Express chipset makes up for the shortcomings of the Intel P67 chipset by essentially combining the best the P67 & H67 chipsets had to offer. With the Intel Z68 chipset you get integrated graphics, overclocking and video transcoding acceleration via Intel Quick Sync in one package.

Of course integrated graphics are hardly anything to get excited about if you're a gamer, so this why Lucid's VIRTU driver for the Intel Z68 chipset is so important....

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 Intel Z68 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — Intel Z68 Express Chipset
 Pg 3.  Lucid VIRTU
 Pg 4.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery: Features and Layout
 Pg 5.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery: Continued
 Pg 6.  BIOS and Hybrid-EFI Touch BIOS
 Pg 7.  Overclocking on the Intel Z68 Chipset
 Pg 8.  Sysmark 2007 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 9.  SiSoft Sandra: CPU Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 10.  Sandra: Memory Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 11.  PCMark Vantage Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 12.  3DMark 11 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 13.  3DMark Vantage Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 14.  3DMark 06 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 15.  FEAR Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 16.  IGP Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark06, FEAR, Juarez, Crysis
 Pg 17.  System Power Draw and Final Conclusions

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