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?

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UEFI BIOS

The Z87X-UD4H utilizes dual 128Mbit flash ROMs. These are licensed American Megatrends Inc. UEFI BIOS ROMs. These support the following standards; 4.PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0a. UEFI isn’t exactly new, but this generation GIGABYTE pulled out all the stops and revamped its interface for this generation. First and foremost, the mouse support is improved compared to the last GIGABYTE motherboard I looked at. That being said it isn’t nearly as fluid as their competitor’s offerings.

It is notable for being the only one I know of which operates at 1920x1080 resolution. Despite its complex appearance the UEFI is actually remarkably simple in nature.

The CPU, Memory and System status readings are just that. These flank the central window pane to make use of the extra screen real-estate offered by running in 1080P resolutions instead of standard VGA resolution and then being scaled to fit your monitor. In VGA mode, these status panes are not available.

Version "F7" was used for all testing and screenshots. As is always the case with these newer GIGABYTE motherboards, the screen capture utility would randomly cause hard locks of the system. Sometimes I could get multiple screenshots without incident, sometimes not. There seems to be no particular cause in some sections of the BIOS, while other sections of the UEFI such as advanced CPU core settings hard locks the system every time. This particular motherboard was worse about this than the other GIGABYTE motherboards I’ve tested as of late. This is the reason why there are slightly fewer than normal BIOS screenshots.

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The central pane is where all the tuning occurs. The settings are divided into categories. These include home, performance, system information, BIOS features, peripherals, power management, and save & exit. Frankly the BIOS has far too many options and menus to cover these all in detail so we’ll stick to the tuning aspects of the BIOS. This is also where you’ll find differences between GIGABYTE models equipped with this new style UEFI menu.

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The home menu has some basic performance settings to choose from. CPU base block, PCIe clock frequency, base clock ratio, system memory multiplier, CPU Vcore, PCH vore, DRAM voltage and PCH core voltage. The use of sliders or direct keying of values is permitted for most options. The boot sequence can also be adjusted here. A simple drag and drop menu facilitates this.

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The performance menu’s frequency menu gives you the same options the home menu essentially gives you, although a few more are present. There is a CPU upgrade option, processor graphics clock, and XMP options. The memory tab gives you even more options for RAM tuning. Primarily you gain additional overclocking profiles similar to what you see on ASUS’ ROG motherboards. You also gain DDR voltage settings, interleaving options and sub-timings. The sub timings are your memory latency values. Unfortunately this is one of the many things I couldn’t screenshot due to the hard locking problem.

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The voltage menu gives you four submenus. These are advanced power settings, CPU core voltage control, chipset voltage control and DRAM voltage control. The CPU voltage control menu has CPU VRIN external override, Vcore offset, CPU graphics voltage or VAXG, CPU RING, CPU system agent voltage, and I/O voltages. The chipset voltage control menu is less cluttered having only two settings. PCH core and PCH IO voltage. DRAM voltage control is even more simplistic as it has only a DRAM CH A/B voltage setting.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the look of the UEFI and enjoy many aspects of its functionality. For those that don’t the classic BIOS is still available. My main issue aside from the hard locking during screen capturing problem is the depth of some of the menus. By that I don’t like to have to traverse two or three submenus just to get to a menu with only one setting in it. This UEFI also duplicates several settings as I covered in the beginning in multiple places. There is simply no need for this. So while I think it’s a good solution overall, the more I use it the more I can see ways to streamline it. All things that should be obvious to GIGABYTE and should have been done prior to release.

Still the UEFI is overall very easy to use and unless your reviewing the motherboard, you probably won’t be banging your head against the wall with the screen capture feature hard locking your system.