GIGABYTE Z87X-UD5H Motherboard Review
Features and Motherboard Layout
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
- Supports 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processors
- GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 5 Plus Technology
- IR® Digital CPU Power Design
- GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™
- 15µ gold plated CPU socket
- Multi-GPU Support
- Durable black solid capacitors
- GIGABYTE On/Off Charge™ 2 for USB devices
- Dual Intel® LAN with high ESD Protection
- New Heatsink design with 7 onboard fan connectors
- Realtek ALC898 with High Quality 110dB SNR HD audio
- Onboard Quick Buttons
- Supports CFOS Speed Internet Accelerator Software
- 10 USB 3.0 ports
For the Z87X-UD5H, GIGABYTE went with a flat black color scheme, peppered with gold and chrome highlights, making for a nice looking design. There are two heat sinks connected via a heat pipe for cooling the CPU VRMs and a stand alone unit for the Z87 chipset. All heat sinks are finned aluminum units with the chipset sink being of the low profile variety. GIGABYTE has really stepped up there game lately with their board layouts and designs, providing plenty of space around critical areas to appeal more to the enthusiast crowd. They even managed to find a non-intrusive placement for the CMOS battery, out of the way yet highly accessible.
GIGABYTE did a wonderful job with the board's back layout with nothing but traces and solder points shown. This ensures that there is no possibility of crushing or otherwise mangling sensitive chips placed on the board backside, especially problematic in and around the CPU back plate.
GIGABYTE included the following ports in the Z87X-UD5H's rear panel assembly: a PS/2 keyboard and mouse port, 6 USB 3.0 ports, two Intel GigE NIC ports, 2 HDMI video ports, a DisplayPort video port, an optical S/PDIF audio output port, and 6 analog audio ports. Notice that GIGABYTE also included port covers for all the integrated video ports to keep the particulate matter out. Note that all rear panel USB 3.0 ports are tied to the Z87 chipset's USB 3.0 device lanes through Renesas hub chips integrated into the board's PCB.
GIGABYTE designed a total of seven device ports into the Z87X-UD5H - three PCI-Express x16 slots,three PCI-Express x1 slots, and a PCI slot. For the PCI-Express x16 slots, the board supports full x16 bandwidth with a single card, x8 / x8 bandwidth with dual cards, and x8 / x4 / x4 in a tri-card configuration. Note that the secondary PCI-Express x16 slot is forced to x4 speed mode when a card is placed in the tertiary PCI-Express x16 slot. The spacing between the primary and secondary PCI-Express x16 slots accommodates use of cards with up triple slot coolers. Additionally, the primary PCI-Express x1 slot remains accessible no matter what video card configuration is implemented.
In the upper left corner of the board are the S/PDIF input, front panel audio, IEEE 1394 (FireWire), and Trusted Port Module headers.
To the lower left of the tertiary PCI-Express x16 slot are the on board USB 2.0 and serial port headers, as well as several 4-pin system fan headers.
On of the on board USB 3.0 headers, the front panel header, and the CMOS clear jumper are located in the lower left corner of the board. The USB 3.0 header is tied to the Z87 chipset's USB 3.0 device lanes through a Renesas hub chip integrated into the board's PCB. Note that the front panel headers are multi-colored for easy identification of pin assignments.
The Intel Z87 Express chipset's cooler is a large, low profile aluminum heat sink just below the PCI-Express x16 slots. The heat sink is black with gold and chrome accents with the GIGABYTE name featured prominently across is chrome plate.
The 10 on-board SATA 6Gb/s ports are located just below the chipset cooler. The six Intel Z87-controlled ports are to the right of the port block (black colored ports) with the four Marvell-controlled ports to the left (grey-colored ports). To the right of the SATA ports is an SATA power port used to provide extra power to the PCI-Express bus when multiple video cards are seated in the board. Simply connect it to a SATA power connector from your PSU.
The on-board DDR3 memory slots are located in the lower right quadrant of the board, just below the CPU socket. Dual Channel memory mode is enabled by seating memory modules in like colored slots. The board supports up to 32GB of memory running at a maximum speed of 3000MHz. Note that memory speeds above 1600MHz are considered overclocked speeds and are outside of the official Intel stock memory speed specifications. To the lower left of the memory slots are the Intel Z87 chipset controlled USB 3.0 header, the 2-digit diagnostic LED, and the 24-pin ATX power connector. The diagnostic LED can be used in conjunction with the table provided in the user manual to identify and troubleshoot board boot-related issues.
To the lower right of the DIMM slots are the voltage measurement points, the power, reset, and BIOS reset buttons, the Dual BIOS switch (SB), and the active BIOS switch (BIOS_SW). The active BIOS switch is used to switch between the primary and backup BIOS. With the switch set to the 1 position (default), the main BIOS is active. In the 2 position, the backup BIOS is activated. The Dual BIOS Switch is set to enabled (the 1 position) by default. Dual BIOS is disabled with the switch in the 2 position. The voltage measurement points allow for direct board voltage measurement using a volt meter.
While the VRM heat sinks to above and to the right of the CPU socket appear to close in, there is more than adequate room for most CPU coolers. The CPU power chokes and capacitors are placed far enough back so as to not impede cooler interfacing with the CPU. To maintain optimum CPU operation under harsh overclocking conditions, GIGABYTE integrated a full 16 power phases into the CPU's digital power delivery system.
To the left of the CPU socket are a system fan header, two CPU fan headers, and the CMOS battery. The header labeled CPU_OPT was added for use with water cooling systems to power or monitor the system's integrated pump. Placement of the CMOS battery in this location allows for easy and almost unobstructed access to it even with a larger CPU cooler in use.
The on-board 8-pin ATX12V power connector as well as an additional system fan header are located to the upper right of the CPU socket, just under the rear panel assembly.