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The GIGABYTE Z77X-UD4H Review.

The GIGABYTE Z77X-UD4H is a mix between the UD3H and the UD5H. Exactly in between the two, with more features than the UD3H and less than the UD5H, the UD4H incorporates the latest GIGABYTE technologies at a reasonable price. Buyers of the UD4H will also get some newer features; the eSATA/SATA flexible I/O, new heatsink design, and improved T-Topology memory routing. The best part is that this board the UD3H and the UD5H all have the same overclocking features and their OC DNA seems to be the same.

The Box, Accessories, and Board:

The box isn?t exciting, just very similar to what we have seen since day one. However the marketing on the box says a lot about the quality of this board.


The accessories are very simple, just like the UD3H. We have four SATA6GB/s cables, an SLI bridge, and an I/O shield.


The motherboard?s heatsinks and PCB really match very well. You might even mistake this motherboard for the Z77X-UP4 TH or the Z77X-UP5 TH, however there is no Thunderbolt here. Instead of Thunderbolt you get more connectivity and OC features and get to save some money at the same time if you compare it to the Z77X-UP4 TH. Five fan headers are placed around the board, however you only get control over two of them, the others run at various speeds.


Here is the backpanel:
1. 6x USB 3.0
2. PS/2 Keyboard & Mouse
3. D-SUB, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort
4. S/PDIF Digital
5. 2x eSATA6GB/s
6. 1GBit RJ-45 LAN
7. 7.1 Audio Outputs


Here we have the top half of the motherboard. The VRM is a 8+2+1 (CPU+iGPU+VTT/IMC) the DRAM has its own 2 phase VRM. The socket area is simple to insulate, everything is pretty spaced out. The OC features are in great locations, there is no POST code behind the 24-pin.


The lower half is more interesting. We have 8 SATA ports and the ability to run 3-way CrossFireX.


The two gray ports are SATA6GB/s from Marvell. The four black ports are SATA3GB/s and the two white are SATA6GB/s all from Intel. There is also an extra power connector for extra PCI-E power. The fact that this power connector is an SATA power connector means that it also provides extra 3.3v which is what the PCI-E slots use a lot.


These are some of the OC features.


These are the PCE-E slots. From left to right:
PCI-E 1x > PCI-E 16x (16x)>PCI-E 1x>PCI-E 1x> PCI-E 16x(8x)> PCI>PCI-E 16x(4x)
All the 16x slots are PCI-E 3.0 except the last 16x (4x) slot which is 2.0.
Here the heatsinks:

And the other side:


Now the naked motherboard is below.

Circuit Analysis:


Here we have the naked motherboard so that we can take a look at some of its features to better understand it.


Here we have the VRM, each phase is made up of two MOSFETs, one high-side and one low-side. It is driven by an IR3564A which is a 4+1 phase PWM. GIGABYTE uses 4 doublers to double 4 PWM phases to 8 phases.


Here we have the MOSFETs. The high-side is a 4921N and low-side is a 4935N both from ON Semiconductor and rated at good specs. The high-side is rated for 58A@38W or 22A@5W which is more likely. These are strong and very good rated MOSFETs, better than the Renesas MOSFETs that are on the UD5H, and the same quality MOSFETs as the UD3H. However the UD3H uses two low-side MOSFETs per phase, but the UD4H has more high-side MOSFETs for more current output. IR3598 are used as doublers and dual drivers.


Here we have the memory VRM, driven by a IR3570 which is a 3+2 phase PWM which also drives the VTT. Here GIGABYTE uses some Renesas MOSFETs, same as the UD5H, in a two phase configuration to supply the vDDQ.


Here we have that IR370A, beautiful digital PWM.


Here we have an interesting group of ICs. We first have a Marvell SE9172 (software RAID) which provides its ports either to the internal SATA ports or external eSATA ports. There are the PCI-E switches, a lot of them and in different varieties. The four NXP switches in a row are PCI-E 3.0 and switch 8x PCI-E 3.0 between the first 16x slot and the second. The fifth PCI-E 3.0 switch is used with the Marvell SATA controller to send the two SATA6G ports either to the back panel (eSATA) or the internal ports (SATA). You could call this port swapping a form of flexible I/O. The two other Pericom PCi-E 2.0 switches are used to switch 4x bandwidth between the 16x (4x) slot and the 1x slots. Then we have 2x 64Mbit BIOS ROMs for 8MB BIOSes.


Here we have a VL800 made by VIA Labs (part of VIA) is a 4-port USB 3.0 controller, not a hub.


Here we have an ALC892, not the best audio codec, but better than the VIA one on the UD3H. The UD5H has far superior audio with its ALC898 and TI audio amplifiers and Creative software package. However if you have your own audio card or aren?t an audiophile then you won?t notice the difference between the UD5H and the UD4H.


A Realtek RTL8111F is the workstation class Realtek NIC, it is decent, better than the UD3H?s Atheros NIC but not as good as the UD5H?s Intel NIC.


A Realtek RTL8111F is the workstation class Realtek NIC, it is decent, better than the UD3H?s Atheros NIC but not as good as the UD5H?s Intel NIC.


Here we have the IT8728F, the Super IO, which actually supports a lot of fan control. However because the pins are shared and GIGABYTE takes advantage of the such like PS/2 among other things, these shared pins are used for some functions instead of fan control.


The iTE8892E is a PCI-E 1x to PCI bridge, it provides two PCI slot outputs, however on the UD4H only 1 PCI output is used.

BIOS:








Overclocking:
First off let?s cover the awesome LLC on these GIGABYTE boards, the UD4H is no exception. I only tested the 3 strongest levels, since I feel no one uses the others:

Just awesome at Turbo.
So I do a few things for every board to test overclocking ability. First is max BCLK on air, then max CPU frequency on air. If I have time then I can do LN2 testing to see max CPU frequency, and if time permits I can also do some memory testing.
First off Air BCLK:


Very nice BCLK for Air.


Easy 5.3ghz, I just need to remember to use the same Antec 920 Khuler to test instead of my air cooler because I get that extra 0.5ghz with it.
This time I had time for LN2 testing, I did a very quick CPUz run:


Not a bad score.
I also did some quick testing with PSC, right now my best PSC is really crappy old Corsair kit, however I was able to do some nice testing:


But 1M was stable, not 32M, I am sure with more tweaking I could do it.

Benchmarks:



















Conclusion:

The Z77X-UD4H is a really great deal when it comes to motherboards under $200. The VRM is hefty enough to handle LN2 overclocks, and more fashionable(in terms of aesthetics) than the UD3H. The overclocking features are wonderful for the everyday overclocker and do prove useful for easy benching. The memory overclocking on this board is pretty good, the only issue being you need to know what timings to set for certain types of memory and you need to mess with the slew rates for certain types of memory. The features of the board are plenty, however not as much as the UD5H. We have 6 USB 3.0 ports in the rear and one internal USB 3.0 header. We also have two extra SATA6G ports which can be used in the front or back.

The motherboard?s performance is pretty good in benchmarks and audio/SATA testing alone. The Audio tests could be better, but it?s an ALC982, so you can?t expect as much as the ALC898 or ALC889. There are a few issues, one of them is the fact that only 2 fan headers can be controlled and the other 3 are set at different levels by default. While it is a new board its UEFI is as mature as that of the UD5H. Prices of $139, $159, and $174 for the UD3H, UD4H, and the UD5H respectively. For $15 more you get more phases, and a lot better I/O. However if you don?t have a need for dual LAN, more SATA, or more USB 3.0 and you don?t care about having an audio upgrade then the UD4H would allow you to put $15 of your budget elsewhere like a faster SSD or overclocked GPU. Overall the Z77X-UD4H was born the middle child, so if you want more than the UD3H but don?t need as much as the UD5H, then the UD4H might be the right board for you.
X99 Main Rig
(10 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 5960X Extreme Edition @ 4.5GHz Always Changing VisonTek R9 290 G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB (4x4GB) DDR4 @ 3200MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 128GB M.2 PCI-E 4x SSD Apotop 256GB SSD 1.82TB NAS Noctua NH-D15 with both fans 
OSPower
Win7 Pro Enermax 1000W 
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X99 Main Rig
(10 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 5960X Extreme Edition @ 4.5GHz Always Changing VisonTek R9 290 G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB (4x4GB) DDR4 @ 3200MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 128GB M.2 PCI-E 4x SSD Apotop 256GB SSD 1.82TB NAS Noctua NH-D15 with both fans 
OSPower
Win7 Pro Enermax 1000W 
  hide details  
Reply