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GIGABYTE Z68X-UD3H-B3 (Intel Z68) Motherboard Review

Already impressed with the GIGABYTE Z68X-UD7-B3, we look at the more aggressively priced UD3H version today to see if it can impress, too.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, May 26 2011 4:30 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:02 PM CST
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Package


Introduction

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VIEW GALLERY - 40 IMAGES


Just before the launch of the Intel Z68 chipset, we had the opportunity to preview the Z68X-UD7-B3 and Z68X-UD3H-B3 Motherboards in Taiwan. Earlier this week we did a full review on the GIGABYTE Z68X-UD7-B3 Motherboard and if you're interested in a really top end Z68 board, I'd highly recommend checking that review out, especially if you're interested in a multi GPU setup.

The extremely feature packed Z68X-UD7-B3 does come at a cost, though, that's higher than other Z68 boards on the market currently and if you don't need all the bells and whistles that are associated with the model, then we might have exactly what you need today.

The Z68X-UD3H-B3 is one of four boards that carry the "UD3" tag in the current lineup of Z68 boards and the only to carry onboard video. The other three; UD3, UD3P and UD3R all differ slightly with the features that are offered. What's available where can also differ with Newegg listing the UD3 and UD3P.

Today, though, we've got the Z68X-UD3H-B3 and we'll start with the package of the board before looking at the board itself and the BIOS. Once that's done we'll look at the test system setup and overclocking potential of the board before we get into the performance side of things.


The Package

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The Z68X-UD3H-B3 is a smaller package than the Z68X-UD7-B3 we've looked at which of course comes as no surprise since it's a much cheaper board. We don't have any extra flaps or anything like that on the UD3H box, but we still get a wealth of information on the front and back of the box which gives us a great run down on some of the features that are on offer.

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Inside the box we've got two manuals, driver CD, four SATA cables, a black extended SLI bridge and our I/O shield. It's everything we need to get up and running and a fairly standard bundle when compared to a lot of other boards that also choose to only really include a minimum of extras and accessories.

The Motherboard




While the much cheaper UD3H might have a smaller bundle than the UD7, it does still carry similarly great looking aesthetics. The black PCB looks great and while it doesn't carry the same large heatsink and heatpipe setup, it does still carry a great quality one that blends into the board extremely well.

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Looking closer at the board, we can see our expansion slot setup. We've got two legacy PCI ports, three PCI-E 1x ports and two PCI-E 16x ones which support both CrossFire and SLI.

A large cost associated with the UD7 was the inclusion of the NF200 chip. That's of course not included on this board which means dual GPU setups will run in the same way as other Z68 boards. That means if one video card is installed it will run at 16x, if two are installed in SLI or CrossFire, though, they will both run at 8x.

8x performance is very strong and we've seen little difference between it and 16x. There's no denying if you want the ultimate performance in your VGA setup on the Z68 platform, the UD7 with its 16x / 16x setup is very attractive.

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Moving to the bottom of the board, we've got our COM header, four USB 2.0 headers, 1394 FireWire and USB 3.0 headers along with our Front Panel system header. A strong amount of connectivity as you would expect.

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Turning the corner, we can see the SATA setup. We've got a total of seven SATA ports present here; our three black ones are SATA2 and run off the Z68 chip. The white ports while also running off the same chip, they are SATA3. The two grey ones that look a little bit alone; these are SATA3 and they run off the Marvell 88SE9172 chip.

The Motherboard Continued




As we move away from the bottom of the Z68X-UD3H-B3, we can see our four RAM slots which support up to 32GB of DDR3 at speeds of 2133 / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 / 1066MHz DDR.

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Below our RAM slots we've got a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header. Just under that header we've got our 24-Pin main ATX power point and just next to that we've got a single 3-Pin fan header.

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Towards the other back corner of the motherboard we've got our 8-Pin CPU power connector in the normal location you'd expect to see it. Just next to that we've got another 3-Pin fan header.

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Looking at the CPU area, it's of course pretty clean as you would expect. There's less to look at when compared to the UD7 because it doesn't have as large a heatsink / heatpipe setup. Like most of the other Z68 boards we've looked at, we do have a smaller heatsink setup. In typical GIGABYTE Ultra Durable fashion, though, the quality is great and just sits well on the board.

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Looking at the I/O side of things, we've got from the left; a combo PS/2 port and two USB 2.0 ports. Next to that we've got our video connections in the form of DVI-D, VGA, DisplayPort and HDMI. Just above the HDMI port we've also got an Optical port.

Continuing to move across, we've got an eSATA port, 1394 FireWire and two more USB 2.0 ports. We've got another two USB ports, but these blue ones are USB 3.0 and are powered via the Etron EJ168 chip. We've also got a single Gigabit network powered by the Realtek RTL8111E chip and our audio jacks via the Realtek ALC889 codec.

BIOS and Touch BIOS




When it comes to the BIOS of the Z68X-UD3H-B3, it's near identical to that of the Z68X-UD7-B3. The main difference is that we've got some options to adjust voltage in regards to the onboard video. Apart from that, the traditional BIOS and Touch BIOS information below has been taken from our Z68X-UD7-B3 review.


BIOS

If you've been reading a lot of P67 or Z68 reviews of the past few months and seen all those flashy BIOS pictures, you may find yourself a little let down by the "traditional" BIOS setup. Using the Award lay out we've grown to know, you're not going to find anything too out of the ordinary when it comes to the whole BIOS.

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Really, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the BIOS, but over the last few months it's been nice to see a bit of color in what has traditionally been a pretty boring part of a motherboard.

The thing is, GIGABYTE has taken a bit of a different approach to the whole colorful BIOS thing, introducing "Touch BIOS" not that long ago.


Touch BIOS

To be completely honest, I found myself a little skeptical about Touch BIOS. Initially I didn't do a lot of research on it and thought that I'd just wait till I had my hands on a board that could make use of it. I wasn't sure where the "Touch BIOS" was going to be instituted; in Windows or at the actual BIOS level. Also, the "Touch" bit makes you think it's really only designed for "Touch" Screens.

When I finally setup the Z68X-UD7-B3 and installed all the usual stuff along with the latest version of "Touch BIOS", I discovered it's done in Windows. Instantly I thought to myself it was just another halfhearted piece of software that would let you adjust some things that can be done in the BIOS.....how wrong I was, though!

"Touch BIOS" is essentially your BIOS in Windows, and not just your BCLK / Multiplier / Core Voltage, but everything that's in the BIOS. The integration into Windows also means that the mouse is extremely easy to use; the mouse in your standard EFI BIOS just never feels as smooth. Of course, in Windows you've got drivers installed, mouse sensitivity set correctly and all that jazz.

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We've seen a lot of companies integrate the EFI BIOS system in many ways. The "Touch BIOS" system is kind of the best of both worlds as you can opt for that traditional BIOS that you've become so accustomed to if you want, or you can opt for this full on graphical interface within Windows.

Something else I like is that GIGABYTE are listening to feedback. My understanding is that initially there was just text at the main screen. A few people said it would be nice to have words corresponding to what each section is; "Overclock", "Boot Disk" and etc. So what did GIGABYTE do? They added it to the latest version.

For me the only thing I can really think that I'd like to see is to have the ability to make the window longer and not have the need to scroll if you're on a monitor with a higher resolution. Apart from that, though, "Touch BIOS" does a good job at offering us a new way to edit our BIOS options.

Test System Setup and Overclocking


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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

Today we'll be looking at the GIGABYTE Z68X-UD3H-B3 against a number of other boards including its big, big, big brother; the Z68X-UD7-B3 which we've already found ourselves extremely pleased with. We've also got a couple of other Z68 boards included and an X58 one; they can all be seen in the above image or in each of our graphs.

When it comes to overclocking, the Z68X-UD3H-B3 carries with it the same EasyTune 6 Quick Boost functionality that is present on the Z68X-UD7-B3 and many other GIGABYTE boards.

What that means is we can fire up EasyTune 6, hit level 3 and get 4.2GHz or when Intel SpeedStep kicks in, it can be as high as 4.39GHz. We tested it on the UD3H today to make sure it worked with no issues. Of course, as you would expect, it ran fine and when the CPU was in use SpeedStep did kick the speed up to 4.39GHz.

Because we have only just tested the Z68X-UD7-B3 and we included the performance results at level 3 Quick Boost, we haven't retested it today on the UD3H. Instead we've just opted to go into the BIOS and do some manual overclocking to see what we could get out of the board.

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Overclocking wasn't as strong as the Z68X-UD7-B3 which is what we expected. What we did end up with, though, was a solid 5.09GHz. This should yield some strong performance over the stock 3.4GHz clock and we'll see how it compares to some of the other boards we've tested.

Let's get started!

CPU Benchmarks


AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com
Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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At stock you can see that the performance between the UD7 and UD3H is very similar. Most boards line up pretty close to each other at stock. When we're at 5.09GHz the UD3H performance is strong.

CPU Benchmarks Continued


HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99
Developer Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br
Product Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br
Download It Here

HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

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At stock you can see that our HyperPi score lines up with most of our other stock setups. When overclocked you can see a big boost in performance and really, it's not that far behind the boards that have another 150MHz on it.


AutoGK

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.55
Developer Homepage: http://www.autogk.me.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.autogk.me.uk/
Download It Here

AutoGK stands for Auto Gordian Knot; it is a suite of transcoding tools that are compiled into an easy to install and use utility. It allows you to transcode non-protected DVDs and other media to Xvid or Divx format. For our testing purposes we use a non-DRM restricted movie that is roughly 2 hours in length. This is transcoded to a single Xvid AVI at 100% quality.

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Under AutoGK we see some good performance from the UD3H and its stock speed was a little quicker than some of our other setups. You can see how much time is shaved off the whole process when we overclock, though.

Storage Benchmarks


AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com
Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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USB 2.0 and SSD performance lines up with the other boards which is what we would expect. Apart from a little fluctuation here and there, very little separates all our boards at the moment.

Memory Benchmarks


Sisoft Sandra

Version and / or Patch Used: 2011
Developer Homepage: http://www.sisoftware.net
Product Homepage: http://www.sisoftware.net
Buy It Here

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No surprise under SiSoft Sandra with memory performance being very similar across the board.


AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com
Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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AIDA64 gives us a much better idea of memory performance and you can see at stock it again lines up with a lot of our other boards. Overclocking really helps yield some strong performance, though, especially in the write department.

Gaming Benchmarks


3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/
Buy It Here




3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/




Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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We can see that overclocking helps boost our P 3DMark 11 score slightly, but very little changes in all the other tests. That's of course due to the fact that CPU speed isn't an issue here; instead it's all on the video card.

Temperature and Power


Core Temperature

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At stock the Z68X-UD3H-B3 puts out some great numbers coming in a little lower than the other boards we've looked at. Overclocked the CPU of course warms up, but it continues to be at a very comfortable level.


Power Draw Tests

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Like heat, the UD3H runs a little lower than the competition when it comes to idle power draw. Even at load it's the lowest which is pretty impressive.

Z68 Specific Tests


Lucid Virtru

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Unlike the UD7, the UD3H carries with it onboard video which means Lucid Virtu support. As for encoding speed, it falls in line with our other Z68 boards which carry the same feature.

Final Thoughts




At $169.99 US the Z68X-UD3H-B3 is just under half the price of the Z68X-UD7-B3 which comes in at $349.99 US. This really paints a picture to what GIGABYTE have done with the Z68 platform. With 10 different models listed on the Newegg site starting at $119.99 US and going up to $349.99 US, they've really covered every budget and user.

This compares to companies like ASUS who have two boards at $199.99 US and $209.99 US, or someone like ASRock on the other end of the scale who have three boards with the most expensive being $189.99 US and the cheapest being $114.99 US.

The Z68X-UD3H-B3 and Z68X-UD3P-B3 at $169.99 US are the prices you'll pay to get in on the sexiness that's associated with an all-black PCB. Below that you'll be looking at a blue PCB and that light blue / white setup when it comes to connections.

With so many boards, though, it can be a little confusing as to what is what. There are only really a few things you need to know when it comes to the naming. If the model number carries a H then you're looking at a board with onboard video, exactly like the Z68X-UD3H-B3 we looked at today. If a board carries the UD label instead of just the D label then it's an Ultra Durable board and carries all those yummy features associated with the UD label. Then there's just the numbers after the UD or D. As you climb up in numbers you're looking at higher end boards, UD2, UD4, UD5 and UD7.

GIGABYTE has got a Microsite for the Z68 platform and if you want to find out which model is exactly for you based on features, I'd highly recommend you look at the page which compares all the models; it will really help when deciding which board to buy.

The Z68X-UD3H-B3 brings with it some great features. The big thing is from an aesthetics point of view, the all black design looks great and while the UD3H doesn't carry as large a setup when it comes to the heatsink, it still looks great. You've then also got the advantages of the Touch BIOS system which bridges the gap for people who want to become a bit adventurous.

Alongside those shared features, the UD3H carries with it onboard video which means Lucid Virtu can be used and also means you don't need a video card to get up and running. I'd love to see this board in an mATX version; a nice mATX case with a window looking into an all-black mATX board with no video card would look fantastic.

The UD3H sounds so wonderful, though. Why bother with the UD7 at twice the price? The same reason you'd choose the UD3H over the Z68A-D3-B3 at $119.99 US. More features, stronger overclocking and just overall, you're getting a board that's designed for a higher end user who has some more cash to splash.

The GIGABYTE Z68X-UD3H-B3 carries with it a look that is better than more expensive options including easy overclocking via EasyTune6 and the latest BIOS editing software, Touch BIOS. This is a great option for people who want a great looking board that carries onboard video and won't break the bank.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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