Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD4H LGA 1150 Motherboard Review

The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD4H looks to be a solid bargain and a good value for the money. While this motherboard looks great on paper the devil is in the details and all it takes is one or two quirks to knock a product out of the running in a market literally filled with excellent motherboards. So how did the Z87X-UD4H fare?

Introduction

GIGABYTE is one of the largest motherboard manufacturers in the world. Founded in 1986 GIGABYTE has become a world leader in motherboard manufacturing and has even branched out into other areas of computer hardware and consumer electronics. GIGABYTE is still typically best known for its enthusiast class motherboards. Like the product lines of other manufacturers GIGABYTE has crafted products in a wide range of price points and feature sets in order to appeal to increasingly broader audiences.

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The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD4H is based on Intel’s Z87 Express chipset. The Z87X-UD4H is a feature rich solution but is hardly the apex motherboard in GIGABYTE’s lineup. The feature set is broad as the Z87X-UD4H offers 8x SATA ports, 2-Way SLI/CrossfireX support, 10x USB 3.0 ports, headphone amplifier, and more. However it lacks Thunderbolt, multiple LAN ports, WiFi support or other features found on higher end motherboards. I’d categorize this as a mid-range offering. Nonetheless it’s got strong feature set for enthusiasts.

Like all GIGABYTE motherboards, the Z87X-UD4H features solid construction and design elements. In particular the Z87X-UD4H features an 8-layer PCB, 10k capacitors, 16 phase power, PowIRstage IR3553IC’s, UEFI Dual BIOS, high ESD protection, a gold plated CPU socket, 2x Copper PCB and more.

Main Specifications Overview:

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Detailed Specifications Overview:

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Packaging

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The packaging for the Z87X-UD4H is fairly basic but offers adequate protection during shipment. Our sample arrived damage free. The bundle is lean but contains the basics you’ll need to get started. The following accessories are included: driver disc, installation guidebook, user manual, GIGABYTE case badge, SLI bridge, I/O shield, 4x SATA cables.

Board Layout

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The layout of the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD4H is excellent. I have two issues with the Z87X-UD4H’s layout. The first issue I have with it is the location of the CPU fan and option headers. I’d prefer these to be on the other side of the CPU socket, though the head sinks and power phase locations don’t make much sense for that configuration. The second issue I have is the location of the clear CMOS and reset switches, or rather the proximity to one another. I just don’t think the design shows any foresight as it’s very easy to accidentally clear the CMOS while trying to reset the motherboard. I’ve complained about this "feature" time and time again. The "problem" it poses is a minor annoyance or inconvenience at worst. While these things do bother me I don’t necessarily consider either of these issues to be a deal breaker in the grand scheme of things.

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The CPU socket is flanked by large and impressive looking MOSFET coolers. These are on the bulky side but shouldn’t pose a problem for installation of most CPU cooling solutions. The proximity of the DIMM slots is probably worse in that regard. Naturally though use of low profile CPU coolers or self-contained water cooling units would solve any potential clearance issues you could encounter.

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The Z87X-UD4H has four color coded black and gray DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR3 memory. Memory clock speeds up to DDR3 3000MHz are supported via overclocking. The DIMM slots are closer to the CPU socket than I’d like but I can hardly blame GIGABYTE for that as it’s a problem with the technology itself and thus the blame falls on Intel. The BIOS switches, power on, reset, and clear CMOS buttons are all right next to the DIMM slots for easy access. The DIMM slots are far enough away from the expansion slots as to prevent interference with the installation of modules with a large graphics card installed.

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The chipset itself is housed underneath a large flat heatsink directly in front of the motherboard’s many SATA ports. The heatsink itself is well machined and gives a very polished/ finished look to the motherboard. The red GIGABYTE logo attached to it is also a nice touch offering a good contrast against the all black PCB and cooling hardware. Directly flanking those you’ll find the system fan header and ATX4P power connector. Essentially an auxiliary power connector for the PCI-Express slots utilizing a SATA power cable instead of using up a PCIe 6-pin connector or ancient 4-pin MOLEX plug.

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The expansion slots are configured optimally for 2-Way SLI/CrossfireX configurations. A legacy PCI slot is also provided if your into that sort of thing. The motherboard operates at an 8x8 configuration with dual PCIe graphics cards. When using the last PCIe x16 slot (x4 electrical) the PCIEX_2 and PCIEX_3 slots are disabled as they share bandwidth. Obviously this motherboard isn’t ideal for 3+ graphics cards, or more than 2 multi-GPU cards. So anyone looking for such an option will need to climb the product stack just a little higher.

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The Z87X-UD4H offers a great deal of connectivity on the I/O panel. 1x RJ-45 Ethernet port, 6x USB 3.0 ports, 1x PS/2 keyboard or mouse port, 1x DVI-D ports, 1x DSUB (SVGA), 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 2x SATA and 6x mini-stereo jacks.