Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H LGA 1150 Motherboard Review

The motherboard we are checking out today is the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H which is on the lower end of the pricing spectrum but offers a solid feature set and looks to have all the ingredients of a winner. This motherboard is still very much focused on the enthusiast and overclocking crowd offering a very solid list of overclocking features.

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Overclocking

Overclocking with the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was almost a fantastic experience. Clocking the CPU was easy and I hit 4.7GHz from setting load-line calibration and increasing the CPU voltage to 1.30v and that was it. At default DDR3 1600MHz speeds this test system chugged along through Prime95 load testing without skipping a beat. Unfortunately when I cranked the memory speeds up I ran into problems. I went for DDR3 2400MHz speeds at the RAM’s rated 1.65v. This was absolutely unequivocally a no go. The system wouldn’t POST but did recover from the failed attempt nicely presenting me with a menu asking me if I wanted to continue, restore defaults or enter the UEFI. Interestingly enough the board showed DDR3 2400MHz at 1.5v in the UEFI and confirmed as much in the EasyTune software. (This setting was an error on my part.) However this was not the case. CPU-Z and Sandra both confirmed that the RAM speed was indeed only DDR3 1600MHz.

After tweaking the settings for some time I arrived at DDR3 1866MHz at DDR3 1.65v. What interests me about this is that I know this CPU can do DDR3 2400MHz at 4.7GHz as I’ve done it before. The board and its design, or at least on some level be it hardware or firmware does factor in to some degree as to what can and cannot be done with your RAM overclock. Again I was simply shocked that this motherboard wouldn’t do what has been possible on most of the LGA1150 motherboards I’ve tested thus far.

4.7GHz (100x47) DDR3 1866MHz

When it comes to overclocking I can’t say I’m dissatisfied with the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H, but I’ve seen better.

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Conclusions

Dan's Thoughts:

OK, so how was the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H? It didn’t have the optical boot issue or the bad mouse support I saw on the Z87X-UD5H. Still this board is a bit quirky. Not only does it do weird things in the classic BIOS with regard to mouse and keyboard behavior but it suffers from DPC latency issues, and we will be looking more into this. Additionally I’m concerned about the poor performance of the Intel i217v controller with this motherboard. This is a controller I’ve tested onboard multiple Z87 chipset based motherboards and I can say easily that this one had the worst performance of any I’d seen to date. I even had the problem of the BIOS screen capture utility causing hard locks of the system. One final issue I had was concerning the Marvel 9172 controller which hung on me twice while trying to configure the RAID0 array for benchmarking controller performance.

I’m not blown away by the overclocking either but given the $160 price point I can forgive some of these issues. I won’t say "run away" if you see the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H or are thinking about buying one. What I am saying is that you should wait for a UEFI update to sort out some of these issues as this motherboard has some growing up to do.

Kyle's Thoughts:

My experience with the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was close to perfect. Keep in mind that when I have it here on my test bench I am looking into areas that Dan does not and vice versa. So Dan has some complaints that I do not.

While I was expecting to see the UEFI BIOS mouse tracking issues, these were not prevalent. The tracking is not perfect, but I did not have the terrible issues that we had with the UD5H. I actually prefer to use the old style BIOS with these new GIGABYTE motherboards but it is simply because of the learning curve that is required to use the slick new interface. The new UEFI BIOS is slickly done and well designed, but nothing like you have previously used and therefore takes a while to get familiar with.

The motherboard itself, while not overly equipped with features, but not under-equipped at the $150 price point (the price has dropped $10 since we have started this review), seems to be very well designed and built with overclocking in mind.

Gigabyte’s software has come a long way with this generation of motherboard. I used its fully automatic driver and BIOS update software from the Windows desktop without issue.

Gigabyte’s Smart Quick Boost software worked near seamlessly allowing me to use its 3 levels of predefined overclocking up to 4.5GHz CPU clock, 1866MHz memory clock, at a 1.28v vCore. Which happens to be exactly what we use for our benchmark testing.

If you read our last ASUS Sabertooth Z87 review you will note where we had issues holding our 4.5ghz/1866MHz overclock for the 48 hours of testing successfully. It seems that the issues we are having with this are not associated with the motherboard, but the Intel Core i-7 4770K that we have been using for testing over the last couple of months. It seems that electromigration has damaged our CPU, at least in an overclocking sense when stressed for long periods of time. It seems that it has also been damaged for high GHz (4.8) for short periods of time. That all said, we had the same results with this Gigabyte motherboard that we have had with the two previous high end motherboards we have reviewed in that these would not hold a 48 hour 4.5GHz overclock. Since this review we have pulled our two month "old" testing 4770K and replaced it, and are now back on track with our stress testing.

Working off the Smart Quick Boost settings I could replicate Dan’s 4.7GHz / 1866MHz at 1.3v vCore with good stability. Also, given some of the shortcomings he saw the memory overclocking, I am wondering if his 4770K is becoming "stressed" as well after a couple months of abuse. Surely we are learning more about Haswell as we are moving forward.

The Bottom Line

The Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H is a solid motherboard with a some quirks that seem to be BIOS maturation issues more than hardware problems to be concerned with. Hitting the $149.99 mark with Free Prime Shipping surely gives it a bit more value in the overview however. We think this is a great piece of hardware that has a few BIOS fixes in front of it, but after that, it is very likely to be a great buy for the sub-$150 category.

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