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Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H, Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H, MSI Z77A-GD65 or something else?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone!

A little backstory first:

A couple of days ago I started to OC my rig's i5-2500k following the guidelines of a certain guide (on this very forum!) for SB-processors on ASRock mobos. All seemed to be going well, until at 4.6ghz - whilst trying to find the right offset voltage - the PC started to randomly shut down whilst in idle. I thought maybe the OS had gotten corrupted, so I loaded up my Default profile from BIOS and booted up just to make sure. The PC still shut down so I thought yeah, I'll just reinstall and continue with the OC'ing. During installation however the PC shut down - yet again! Then I noticed it sometimes shut itself down right after pressing the power button, so I thought damn it all to hell, I think I bricked something.

I tried with an another PSU - still the same.
Another graphics card - still the same.
It shut down whilst booted up on an USB stick, so it couldn't be the hard drives either.
Memtested the memory on my roommates PC, no errors.
Swapped out his CPU with mine, was stable for an hour and then it hit me; my ASRock had failed me. ;__;

So now I need a new motherboard. I've tried reading up as much as I can, and I've seen three models pop-up most often in discussions:

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H
MSI Z77A-GD65

I've heard that the UD3H has the best VRM out of these three, so it should be the obvious choice for overclocking purposes, right? The D3H costs around 134€, UD3H around 143€ and GD65 around 155€ here in Finland, so in that regard I would also go with the UD3H. Only bad thing is, that I could get the D3H from a certain vendor in 3 days, but I'll have to wait for the UD3H for 7-10 days, it's agony!

I've also thought about switching to Haswell, but is it really worth it? In all the 4670k vs 2500k tests I've seen, the performance boost - gaming wise - has not really been that major, and I don't think my 2500k will be the bottleneck in ANY game I happen to play, not when it's overclocked at least. What do you - the good people of OCN - think about this situation?

Also, a bit offtopic, but how much of a negative effect on overclocking does having a 4x4gb kit of RAM - when compared to having a 2x4gb kit - have exactly? I've really been thinking of upgrading my RAM to a 4x4gb Corsair Vengeance Blue 2133MHz -kit, as I really like the aesthetics of them and I think they'd look really nice on the new mobo. Plus I really, really, really like the look of all 4 DIMM-slots being used, rather than just two.

Anyone who read this far, I thank you and salute you! I can imagine there have been loads of threads like these in the past, but I didn't see any made in the last couple of months, so I thought I'd make one of my own.
Edited by stubari - 1/9/14 at 5:16pm
post #2 of 11
D3H and UD3H have the exact same VRM. The only difference between boards is perks such as onboard buttons, debug LED, and double thick PCB. Also voltage read points.

As far as VRM on GB vs MSI. IIRC GD65 has 5 analog phases doubled to 10. GB Boards have true 6 phase digital design. They also support offset overclocking which MSI lacks. The only issue with GB boards is limited fan control as well as people complain about VIA USB issues.

You can also take a look at GD55 which is also a good board.
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post #3 of 11
I've thoroughly enjoyed my MSI z77a-gd65 gaming edition motherboard. I'm not an experienced overclocker and was able to get my system at 4.5ghz (i5 3570k) stable 24/7 no problem. With a little more experience and time spent in the bios I feel that my board would surely take me far into OC'ing. On the other hand, I've never actually owned a Gigabyte board, so you can take my information with a grain of salt = P
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeXel View Post

D3H and UD3H have the exact same VRM. The only difference between boards is perks such as onboard buttons, debug LED, and double thick PCB. Also voltage read points.

As far as VRM on GB vs MSI. IIRC GD65 has 5 analog phases doubled to 10. GB Boards have true 6 phase digital design. They also support offset overclocking which MSI lacks. The only issue with GB boards is limited fan control as well as people complain about VIA USB issues.

You can also take a look at GD55 which is also a good board.

Oh, I thought the D3H had 4 phases and the UD3H had 6? (Source: http://sinhardware.com/index.php/vrm-list) Or am I just reading the table wrong, I am a beginner at these things after all and before today I had never even heard the word (or abbreviation to be exact) 'VRM'. smile.gif

-When it comes to the onboard buttons / debug LED, I really don't care.
-A double thick PCB could be worth the 9€ difference on it's own in my opinion.
-The MSI lacking the offset overclocking is kind of a big deal, as I really want my 2500k to last as long as possible.
-For the last 6 months - after I bought a new case + fans - I've kept my case fans at a 100% all the time, so I really don't mind the limited fan control.
-What kind of USB issues?

What about GD55, what kind of VRM does it have and is it restricted to fixed overclocking like the GD65?
Edited by stubari - 1/9/14 at 5:08pm
post #5 of 11
There is Z77X-D3H and Z77-D3H. The first is almost the same as UD3H. The second is very budget board with a blue PCB.

Some people have hard time getting USB ports to work on UD3H/D3H. Although I see less complains from Windows 8 users...

GD55 has 6 phase analog VRM design (which stands for voltage regulator module which controls power delivery to your CPU). All decent MSI Z77 boards lack offset overclocking. The lower end use offset though for some reason.

Some MSI users use auto voltage and use LLC to control maximum voltage under load to get what I call "fake" offset mode. It won't work if your CPU needs more voltage than auto settings supplies at max LLC.
Edited by DeXel - 1/9/14 at 5:15pm
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeXel View Post

There is Z77X-D3H and Z77-D3H. The first is almost the same as UD3H. The second is very budget board with a blue PCB.

Well I'll be damned, I've misread the Z77-D3H listed there as Z77X-D3H! And as I said before, I don't care about the onboard LED/power button/reset button, and the differences in USB/SATA -connectivity are also all the same to me. So the only thing better about the UD3H would be the double thick PCB, how important would you say that is?
post #7 of 11
Doesn't really matter, but €9 isn't a big difference either.
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post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeXel View Post

Doesn't really matter, but €9 isn't a big difference either.

True, the only main difference would be the delivery time. 1-3 days for the D3H against the 7-10 for the UD3H. But when you think about it in the long term, it would probably be wiser to wait the extra week and take the UD3H. Plus I'm probably RMA'ing my GTX770 for coil noise, hoping it's a good enough reason for the vendor to throw me a new one, so I'll probably have to wait for that to arrive for a couple of weeks. rolleyes.gif

But that's offtopic enough.. When I made this thread I thought the UD3H would be the best choice and you've made me think so even more, maybe this whole thing was just my way of confirming that I should indeed choose it over the others. So thanks a bunch for replying! smile.gif

PS. Speaking of offtopic, anyone got anything to say about my 'RAM-dilemma'? Would the 4x4gb kit harm the mobo's ability to OC a lot, or is it just a minor thing? I really would like to have all the DIMM-slots filled, but if the cost is too big in terms of OC-ability, I won't do it.
Edited by stubari - 1/9/14 at 5:54pm
post #9 of 11
RAM shouldn't affect CPU overclock, but you might have to tinker more to get above 1600Mhz 4 sticks working together. It was especially hard on GB Z77 boards since they tightened sub-timings very much unlike other manufacturers.
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post #10 of 11
I personally use auto-voltage and LLC on my OC to drop CPU usage, not really worried about degradation but more the power usage from the wall over time lol. Seems to work fine for me.
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