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Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H Intel Z77 Motherboard Review

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H Intel Z77 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Price Check: $/£/€
Abstract: PCSTATS really liked what we saw from Gigabyte's Intel Z77 based GA-Z77X-UD4H motherboard -- the board graciously offers up a comprehensive feature set, its layout and implementation are well executed and the build quality is first rate.
 84% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte May 02 2013   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H

GA-Z77X-UD4H Motherboard BUG Update:

There is a major conflict / problem with Gigabyte's GA-Z77X-UD4H series motherboards and the LSI SAS3041E-R SAS/SATA RAID card. It goes something like this - when a videocard is installed in the PCI Express x16 or x8 slot, the LSI card installed to the PCI Express x4 slot won't be recognized by the system.

There are only two workarounds that PCSTATS could find...

First, the obvious - BIOS updates F2, F2h don't fix the issue. Moving the LSI SAS3041E-R SAS/SATA RAID card from the PCI Express x4 slot up to the PCI Express x8 slot doesn't address the issue. The Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H BIOS blows past the card and so it never seems to initialize. Changing options in the BIOS to force 'PCIe x1' or 'PCIe x4' mode don't affect this issue.

Solution 1) is the simplest. Run the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H off the integrated graphics. The LSI SAS3041E-R SAS/SATA RAID initializes and runs perfectly fine under these conditions.

Solution 2) Move the videocard from the PCI Express x16 slot to the PCI Express x8 slot and move the LSI SAS3041E-R SAS/SATA RAID card from the PCI Express x4 slot up to the PCI Express x16 slot. Not an ideal solution if graphics are at all important to you, but workable if RAID is critical.

This issue is not isolated to our board, another user on TweakTown's forums posted extensive commentary about their issues with an LSI RAID card and the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H mobo (no solution was found).

PCSTATS really liked what we saw from Gigabyte's Intel Z77 based GA-Z77X-UD4H motherboard -- the board graciously offers up a comprehensive feature set, its layout and implementation are well executed and the build quality is first rate. Equally important, benchmark results were solid and the platform costs a not unreasonable $160 bucks. When paired with an Intel 'IvyBridge' (IVB) or 'SandyBridge' (SNB) processor, a speedy 240GB Solid State Drive and perhaps 8GB or 16GB worth of DDR3 RAM, the GA-Z77X-UD4H motherboard will become the foundation of a great workstation PC. Unlike a lot of technology in this world, motherboards like this are future proof enough to hold up to the staggering pace of change for at least 2-2.5 years. If we had to build a dozen workstation PCs tomorrow, the socket LGA1155 Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H is the motherboard I'd spec out.

You may recognize the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H as a re-spun version of the GA-Z77X-UD3H motherboard PCSTATS previously tested - the significant difference between the two is the absence of an mSATA slot for Intel Smart Response Technology (ie. SSD caching). Both boards offer Lucidlogix VirtuMVP and two-way CrossfireX/SLI; VirtuMVP, you'll recall, leverages the discrete videocards in 3D games and the integrated graphics in 2D and media transcoding situations.

The Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H motherboard is built around Intel's Z77 Express chipset which supports 22nm 3rd Gen. Intel Core i3/i5/i7 'IvyBridge' and 32nm 2nd Gen. 'SandyBridge' processors in the LGA1155 socket. This jet-black, ATX sized motherboard comes with Display Port, Analog VGA, DVI and HDMI integrated graphics ports at the rear IO and depending on the CPU installed, extremely basic DX11 integrated graphics via the Intel HD4000 IGP (IVB) or DX10.1 graphics via the Intel HD3000 IGP (SNB).

The board offers up two PCI Express x16 slots for two-way graphics card set ups in x8/x8 mode, single graphics cards will run in x16 mode. Graphics cards will run at PCI Express Gen 2.0 or PCI Express Gen 3.0 support depending on the CPU architecture and videocard - the platform is PCI-E 3.0 compliant. Four 1.5v DDR-3 memory slots accommodate up to 32GB of dual channel DDR3-1600/1333/1066 RAM and include support for Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP) if that's important to you. On the graphics front we have a couple options: dual monitor integrated graphics via the onboard video outputs, one or two discrete videocards in SLI/CrossfireX and finally, a mix of discrete and integrated graphics care of LucidLogix VirtuMVP.

Further expansion options are wide open as the Intel Z77 chipset supplies eight PCI Express lanes for (1) PCI-E x4 and (3) PCI-E x1 slots. A single legacy PCI slot rounds out the list. Gigabyte's GA-Z77X-UD4H motherboard retails for $165CDN / $165USD at shops like Newegg.

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H Motherboard


INCLUDES: User's Manual, Driver DVD, (4) SATA cables, 2-way SLI bridge, I/O Shield.

Chipset: Intel Z77 Express
CPU Support: Intel Socket 1155
Memory Type: Dual Channel DDR3
Videocard Support: (2) PCI Express x16 2.0/3.0 (x16 or x8/x8)
Multi-Graphics: 2-way nVidia SLI + AMD CrossfireX
IGP Video Ports: HDMI, Display Port, Analog VGA, DVI-D

Estimated Price: $160 USD/CDN

I/O Ports

Connectivity often makes or breaks a good motherboard, here the GA-Z77X-UD4H comes up strong. The Intel Z77 Express chipset supports four USB 3.0 ports and six USB 2.0 ports, however the inclusion of a VIA VL800 controller bumps the USB3.0 jacks up to eight; two via header, six at the rear I/O. Perfect for mixing with a sweet USB 3.0 thumb drive like this.

At the back of Gigabyte's GA-Z77X-UD4H motherboard you'll find four IGP video outputs (HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI-D, Analog VGA), a gigabit Ethernet LAN jack, (6) SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, (2) eSATA II ports, an optical S/PDIF out and 7.1-channel audio headphone jacks. The audio system and gigabit ethernet are based off economical Realtek controllers - the free PCI and PCI-Ex1 slots are there if you need to upgrade to hardware audio or network cards. PS/2 still amazingly clings to life in a hybrid keyboard/mouse kind of way at the rear I/O as well. Internally, the GA-Z77X-UD4H dishes out with three USB 2.0 headers for case-born USB connections, a TPM module port, dual BIOS' and even a PORT 80 card for troubleshooting boot up and overclocking errors.

Overclockers get seven voltage read points which PCSTATS will discuss in a moment, a chunky illuminated power button and really quite poorly placed CMOS reset and system reset buttons. The two physical switches are located right next to each other... be prepared to accidentally reset your BIOS more than once with this board. There's a BIOS A/B switch if you like to flip between the back up and primary BIOS during intensive overclocking sessions - this isn't something we've ever used though. The GA-Z77X-UD4H board has four independently controllable fan headers and the usual assortment of overclocking voltage and frequency controls you'd expect.

Storage & RAID

On the storage front, the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H motherboard serves up (4) 3Gb/s SATA II ports and (2) 6Gb/s SATA III ports care of the the Intel Z77 chipset; these support RAID 0/1/5/10 modes. Two extra 6Gb/s SATA III ports are delivered care of a Marvell 88SE9172 controller (internally or eSATA, not both) with RAID 0/1 capability. Since this is an Intel Z77 board, users can also configure Intel SRT via a dedicated low capacity SSD if they choose too - Intel SRT can be well worth it. For more info, check out this PCSTATS test report on Intel SRT, here or here.

Rounding out the GA-Z77X-UD4H's list of fun features we find: 3D Power, 3D Dual UEFI BIOS, Ultra Durable 4, 2X Copper PCB & New Glass Fabric PCB, On/Off Charge, 333 onboard acceleration (USB3, USB power 3x, SATA3), +3TB hard drive support, @BIOS, Q-Flash and Xpress Recovery2. Bundled software includes Intel Rapid Start Tech., Smart Connect Tech., Smart Response Tech. and LucidLogix Virtu MVP.

Integrated Graphics

Integrated graphics are suitable for regular office-type desktop work with one or two monitors; HDMI resolution goes up to 1920x1200 pixels, DisplayPort 2560x1600, DVI-D at 1920x1200 and Analog VGA varies as with the display. This LGA1155 board supports dual displays with Sandy Bridge CPUs or triple displays with Ivy Bridge CPUs (well, not really... dual is really what you get).


Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H onboard video outputs: DVI-D, Analog VGA, Display Port and HDMI. Multi-monitor support depends on SNB or IVB CPU.

LucidLogic Virtu MVP

Intel's integrated graphics core excels at media transcoding via Intel QuickSync technology, but most users prefer discrete videocards over integrated graphics so a company called LucidLogix developed a software tool called VirtuMVP that permits dynamic switching between discrete and IGP graphics.

Essentially, with VirtuMVP you get the best of graphics cards for 3D games and the power saving and hardware encoding benefits of the IGP for desktop work. Lucid's VirtuMVP has two extra tools; HyperFormance which increases frame rates by eliminating redundant rendering tasks and Virtual Vsync which reduces screen tearing.


Gigabyte's GA-Z77X-UD4H supports VirtuMVP HyperFormance and Virtual Vsync

Now that PCSTATS has covered the basics, let's take a quick walk around the overclocking tools and Intel Z77 Express chipset before moving to the 360-degree view of the GA-Z77X-UD4H motherboard!

© 2014 PCSTATS.com Next Page >

 

Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H
 Pg 1.  — Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H Intel Z77 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Overclocking Tools and Intel Z77 Chipset Details
 Pg 3.  Intel Z77 Express Chipset + VirtuMVP
 Pg 4.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery: Features and Layout
 Pg 5.  Overclocking Report and BIOS Walk through
 Pg 6.  Video Transcoding, Power Draw and Conclusions
 Pg 7.  Test System Specs + Sysmark 2012 Benchmarks
 Pg 8.  PCMark Vantage Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 9.  SiSoft Sandra: CPU Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 10.  Sandra: Memory Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 11.  3DMark 11 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 12.  3DMark Vantage Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 13.  3DMark 06 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 14.  IGP Motherboard Benchmarks

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