Provided by: Gigabyte
No compensation was received for review of this product.
At a price point of $209.99, the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H-WB is in the mainstream category of Z77 motherboards.
Benchmarks – The Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H-WB performed well. All benchmarks are as expected when using the hardware combination that I used. There was only one benchmark that performed poorly. The Marvell SATA6G controller had slower performance when using the Kingston HyperX 3K SSD. I wasn't able to get the full performance from the SSD.
Board Layout – The overall layout was clean. Heatsinks are low and don't cause any clearance issues with CPU coolers. The PCI slot is in between two PCIe 16x slots. This slot will be covered in Tri-Fire and Tri-SLI setups. The bottom PCIe 16x slot is very close to the lower pin connections as well. I can imagine that there will be a tight squeeze if a GPU is in the bottom slot. The debug LED and power/reset buttons are in the upper right corner and easily seen and reached.
UEFI BIOS – Gigabyte does an excellent job with their 3D BIOS. The layout is clean and user friendly. The 3D option is very unique and provides a quick and simple map of the motherboard.
Pre-bundled Accessories – Gigabyte provides a good amount of accessories. This is the WiFi edition. There is an included PCie 1x card that provides both Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities. Two antenna are used for the dual band signals. There are 4 SATA cables. Last, 3.5" 2 port USB 3.0 adapter, with a front pin header, is also included.
Pre-bundled Software – Gigabyte loads GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB with software. They included the usual Gigabyte utilities; @BIOS, Easy Tune 6, eXtreme Hard Drive, Auto Green, ON/OFF Charge, Q-Share, and 3D Power. Intel software is provided: Intel Rapid Start, Intel Smart Connect, and Intel Smart Response. The Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB also has Lucid Virtu MVP included.
Wireless – This is the WiFi edition. Gigabyte included a GC-WB300D card that provides dual band WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. I was limited with my router and was only able to test the 2.4GHz band and not the 5GHz band. The transfer speed was limited because of my limitations.
LAN – The Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB has dual Gigabit LAN. There is both an Intel GbE and Atheros GbE LAN included. Both tested equally fast.
USB 3.0 – The only way to test the Intel USB 3.0 connection is to use the front panel connection that is next to the SATA ports. This is most likely why there was an included 3.5" adapter. The bottom two front panel connectors and the rear USB 3.0 ports are controlled by two VIA VL810 chips. Both tested equally as good, with the Intel being just a tad faster.
SATA 6G – There are 4 total SATA 6G ports. Two are controlled by the Intel Z77 chipset. The other two use a Marvell 88SE9172 chip. I found that the Intel controller had no issues. However, the Marvell controller didn't test my SSD to it's fullest capability. I lost about 30-50% performance, depending on the specific test.
Peripherals – There are many provided connections for peripherals. Internally, there are three front panel USB 3.0 connections, two USB 2.0 headers, and a IEEE 1394a header. On the rear there are fpur USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA 6Gb/s connection, and an IEEE 1394a port. When using the iGPU, there is a D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI, and DisplayPort.
Performance Tuning – Gigabyte does a good job with the amount of options in the BIOS for overclocking control. Luckily, the processor that I am using is an unlocked i5 3570k. I didn't need to adjust the base clock at all. I only disabled all of the features that might cause stability problems, and changed the power options to extreme performance. CPU ratio was changed to 46 and the CPU voltage needed to increase to 1.4V for stability. I believe my overclock was more limited to the processor I was using, rather than the motherboard. 3570K processors seem to hit a wall around 4.6-4.7GHz.
The Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB is right on the edge of mainstream and enthusiast when looking at motherboards. The UD5H is jam packed with features, some of which will probably go unused. However, it is nice to know that they are there, if needed. For instance, Gigabyte likes to integrate the mSATA slot with many of their motherboards. This slot is used for the advanced Intel Rapid Start and ISRT features. I currently use an SSD as the main drive so those technologies are unnecessary for me. There are many people out there with mechanical drives that could benefit from the mSATA connection. My only problem is that mSATA drives are still pricey when compared to their regular SATA counterparts. The lowest price 30GB mSATA runs around $50. 60GB internal SATA SSD drives can be found for around the same price.
The biggest draw to the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB are the networking capabilities. First, there is dual gigabit LAN connections. One connection is an Intel GbE and the other is an Atheros GbE. My simple network testing didn't show much of a difference between the two. Next, is the included WiFi. The included card uses a dual band N300 adapter. I was only able to test the 2.4GHz band because of the router I am using. Also, as a bonus, Bluetooth is integrated into the N300 adapter.
The only real problem I ran into was with the Marvell 88SE9172 SATA6G connection. The drive I tested with is a Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB. That SSD has a rated read speed up to 555 MB/s and write speed rated up to 510 MB/s. The Intel SATA 6G controller had no problems getting close to those numbers. The Marvell controller showed a 30-50% drop in performance using the same tests. While it seems that this is the limit of the controller, consumers might be unaware of that performance drop. Many see SATA 6G and figure they will get the maximum speed, especially when they are paying for the more expensive motherboard. A simple step up to the Marvell 88SE9182 would have averted this problem.
Overall, the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB is a good motherboard and no different from the regular UD5H. The premium over the traditional UD5H is only $20, but it's well worth it if you want to go wireless. Generally, a simple N150 wireless card will run about $10-15. A Bluetooth adapter will run between $8-15 and take up a USB 2.0 port. The added $20 gets a dual band N300 WiFi card with built in Bluetooth. The Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB is a great motherboard for any mainstream user that wants a ton of features at a reasonable price.
- 3D Power
- 12 Phase Power Design
- 3D BIOS
- Ultra Durable 4
- Lucid Virtu MVP
- Up to Ten USB 3.0 ports
- Dual Gigabit LAN
- Included WiFi/Bluetooth Card
- Optional M-SATA port
- Debug LED
- Voltage Monitoring Contact Points
- Realtek ALC898 With Support For X-FI Xtreme Fidelity, EAX, and Advanced HD
- Dual BIOS
- DDR3 2400+ (O.C.) Support
- Degraded Marvell SATA6G Performance
- Last PCIe 16x Slot Very Close To Bottom Pin Headers
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