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GIGABYTE Z97X-UD5H (Intel Z97) Motherboard Review

By: Shawn Baker | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: May 22, 2014 2:10 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Close up with the GIGABYTE Z97X-UD5H




Taking a look at the motherboard, we straight away see how nice the black and gold color scheme looks. This really is a nice looking motherboard, and the heat sinks look great; we'll take a closer look at those in a moment. You can see the overall layout of the motherboard, and nothing stands out in an unusual manner. So, saying that, let's move in closer and see just what we're dealing with here today.




Looking above, you can see that GIGABYTE has opted for a slightly different setup to what we've seen from other Z97 boards. While we see the same three PCIe x16 slots, which run at x16, x8/x8, or x8/x4/x4 depending on the type of setup you have, the big difference is seen with the addition of two PCI slots alongside the two PCIe x1 slots. I can't remember the last time I used a PCI card, but GIGABYTE clearly feels that people have a use for it.




Above the top PCIe slot, you can see that we have the M.2 connector placed towards the middle of the board. Out of the four boards we've looked at now, this is the third one to include it. While it's indeed one of the more major features that the Z97 chipset offers, it may still be a while before users are making use of the technology.




Taking a look across the bottom of the board, you can see a fairly standard line up of headers, including audio, system fans, USB 2.0, and our main front panel headers on the far right side.




Turning the corner, you can see a total of nine SATA ports. We've got a single SATA Express connector sitting alongside eight SATA3 connectors. Six of these run off of the Intel Z97 chipset, while the furthest grey two run off of the Marvell 88SE9172 chip. Towards the bottom of the board, you can see we've got a SATA power connector. If you're making use of two or three video cards, GIGABYTE recommends using this ensure system stability.




Starting to make our way to the north end of the board, we can see our four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR3 at speeds ranging from 1333MHz DDR to 3200MHz DDR via overclocking. Alongside that, you can see we've got a fair bit going on here. We have our main 24-Pin ATX power connector, and to the left of that, we have our LED Debug reader and a USB 3.0 header. On the right, you can see we've got a red power button with a small reset and Clear CMOS button.






Looking at CPU area, you can see our main 8-Pin ATX power connector in its typical spot, and the CPU area, as usual, is very clean looking. Here we also get a good look at what's going on with the heat sink setup. You can see it's just a single heat pipe with a really high quality heat sink that looks and feels great.




Finally, we finish up our look at the motherboard with the I/O side of things. Starting from the left, you can see we've got two USB 2.0 connectors along with a combo PS/2 port at the bottom. Moving along, you can see the video out options include DVI, VGA, and HDMI. Unlike other companies, you can see that GIGABYTE has chosen to skip out on including DisplayPort.


We've got a total of six USB 3.0 connectors, with two running off of the Intel Z97 chipset and the further four running off of the Renesas uPD720210 hub. Dual Gigabit networking is provided by an Intel chip and the Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 LAN chip. Audio connections come via five auxiliary ports along with an optical out that all run off of the Realtek ALC1150 Codec.

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