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
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).
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.
recognize the Gigabyte
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.
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).
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.
Manual, Driver DVD, (4) SATA cables, 2-way SLI bridge, I/O
Chipset: Intel Z77 Express
Support: Intel Socket 1155
Type: Dual Channel DDR3
Support: (2) PCI Express x16 2.0/3.0 (x16 or
Multi-Graphics: 2-way nVidia SLI
+ AMD CrossfireX
IGP Video Ports: HDMI, Display
Port, Analog VGA, DVI-D
Estimated Price: $160 USD/CDN
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
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
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.
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 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
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H onboard video outputs: DVI-D, Analog VGA, Display Port and
HDMI. Multi-monitor support depends on SNB or IVB
LucidLogic Virtu MVP
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
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