GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H LGA1150 Motherboard

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

It's here, the much anticipated Intel 'Haswell' launch has finally arrived! To honor the launch of the latest and greatest Intel desktop processors we are going to be posting up multiple reviews today. This particular article is on one of GIGABYTE's Intel Z87 LGA1150 motherboard. The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H is going to be one of many Intel Z87 motherboards from GIGABYTE and, at first look it might just be a winner! Though would we expect much else from GIGABYTE? Before we start delving into the features of the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H, it's worth noting that it will hit the streets with a MSRP of $179.99. The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H isn't at the top of the GIGABYTE Z87 product stack,  but that doesn't mean that it wont be a great board.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

As you can see, the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 motherboard has a lot going on. We will certainly be covering these in more detail as the day progresses, but for starters some of the key features of the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H are; Durable Black Solid Caps, 15u Gold Plated CPU Socket, Intel LAN with High ESD Protection, All IR Digital Power Design, 2X Copper PCB, Quick Buttons, Debug Dislplay, OC-PEG (PCIe Power supplied by a SATA Power Connector), Eight (8) SATA 3 6Gbps ports, 10 USB 3.0 ports, New Heat Sink Design, On/Off Charge 2, Exclusive UEFI DualBIOS, SLI/Crossfire Support, and a Gaming Headphone Amplifier.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 motherboard is part of the Ultra Durable 5 Plus series. Last year GIGABYTE brought us the Ultra Durable 5 technology with the Intel Z77 motherboards

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

One of the changes to the Intel Z87X-UD3H over the previous generation is the heat sinks. The Ultra durable 5 Plus features an 'Ultra Cool' aspect. The newly designed heat sinks on the Z87X-UD3H will according to GIGABYTE 'offer uncompromisingly efficient cooling on key areas of the motherboard including the PWM area and chipset'. Hopefully the new heat sinks on the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H LGA1150 motherboard will live up to the expectations offered by GIGABYTE, if nothing else they'll look good in your system.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

Once again GIGABYTE is taking advantage of the all digital power delivery on the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H. The PowIRstage controllers from International Recifier that GIGABYTE uses supply the CPU and Memory with power that comes with a high amount of precision control. This will aid in fine tuning the CPU vCore and DIMM vCore while overclocking, giving us the ability to squeeze out all of the potential from the fourth gen Intel Core processor.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

If you have ever created a paper weight out of a motherboard due to corrupted BIOS (guilty on several occasions), you know how important this next feature can be.  GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 5 Plus motherboards offer the 'Ultra Safe' UEFI DualBIOS. Having UEFI DualBIOS will protect you in a number of situations, anything from a power failure during a BIOS flash (learned the hard way not to flash during a thunder storm), to a virus, or even corrupting the BIOS during a failed overclocking attempt. If any of these circumstances occur the secondary BIOS can be used to repair the primary UEFI BIOS.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

The new Ultra Durable 5 Plus uses a new black solid capacitor. The new black caps on the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H are guaranteed to perform at peak efficiency for a minimum of 10K hours! If you don't feel like doing the math that's ~14 months straight! In addition to the 10K hours, they offer an ultra-low ESR regardless of the CPU loading.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 5 Plus motherboards offer 10 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports per board. Each of the ports also features its own fuse, this way if one fuse fails we don't lose the entire stack of USB ports, only that particular port.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

GIGABYTE has totally revamped their UEFI BIOS, it is quite different and it certainly took some getting used to. Beyond that it's great. We're going to dedicate a page to the new UEFI DualBIOS shortly so we wont spend to much time on it here. In the slide above, while it's a little tough to make out due to the size of the slide, the edges of the UEFI BIOS feature current settings, frequencies, temps, and fan speeds. Overall a really sharp new look to the UEFI from GIGABYTE. More on it later though.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

While the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H LGA1150 motherboard isn't a gaming board per se, GIGABYTE knows that it will be used by gamers since not everyone will want a board out of the G1 series of GIGABYTE Gaming motherboards. The engineers and design team have implemented a built-in gaming headphone amplifier. The amplifier is a high-capacity amp with the ability to drive loads up to 600 Ohms with a fuller range of dynamic sound. It should also deliver crisp details with less distortion than traditional motherboards. While it may be specifically designed for gamers, it is also ideal for professional audio usages according to GIGABYTE!

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Features

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H comes equipped with an Intel Gigabit LAN, in fact it seems that all of the GIGABYTE 8 series motherboards come equipped with the Intel Gigabit LAN. The Intel Gigabit I217-V LAN offers 9KV of ESD protection as well as several other performance enhancing features like Jumbo Frame supports and advanced interrupt handling to reduce CPU overhead.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H will support 2-way NVIDIA SLI and 3-way AMD CrossFire. Of course all of the PCIe x16 slots are running PCIe Gen3 as well.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

On board the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H is a grand total of six fan headers. One CPU fan header (4pin), Opt Fan (Optional CPU Fan header (4pin), and four system fan headers (three 4pin, one 3pin).

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

The new GIGABYTE EasyTune software has some serious fan control options for you to use. It's always nice to silence the fans when watching a movie or increase the cooling during those extended nights of gaming!

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

The EasyTune software allows you to tune each individual fan connected to the various fan headers.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

The Intel LGA1150 socket on board the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H features 15 μ Gold Contacts. This translates to .000381mm of gold plating, offering better conductivity and protection.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H features three of the usual buttons that we find on many of the motherboards these days, Power, Reset, and an onboard clear CMOS. If you're doing some serious overclocking of multiple graphics cards you may need a little extra power delivered to the PCIe x16 slots, to achieve this GIGABYTE has a SATA power connector next to the SATA ports that will deliver additional power.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

With the launch of the GIGABYTE 8 series, it seems they are also revamping their software. GIGABYTE now has an App center that will centralize all of the GIGABYTE software on your system. Above we can see that there is everything from the @BIOS, USB Blocker, EasyTune, EZ Setup, and Live Update. There just might be something to the App Center.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

The EasyTune App allows us to tweak our system to get the most out of it. We can do this manually with individual system settings, or as a Smart QuickBoost. The QuickBoost can range from Light, Energy Saving all the way to Extreme or an Auto Tuning session. We will certainly be checking these settings out later in the day!

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

I have used the @BIOS before and have never had any issues, haven't used this version yet but I don't foresee any problems with it either.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

GIGABYTE has an EZ Setup that will allow us to change several of the system settings like the Disk Mode, Smart Response Technology, Rapid Start, Smart Connect, and XHD (Extreme Hard Drive).

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

We also have access to GIGABYTE USB Blocker. This app will allow the system to block certain USB Devices by the system.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

GIGABYTE On/Off Charge 2 will automatically pop up when you plug your smart phone or tablet in and give you any available functions for that particular device.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

Once again we can see how the USB ports are laid out with a single fuse per USB port. This prevents losing all of the USB ports if the fuse blows, we will only lose the single USB port tied to that particular fuse.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

The new Intel Iris graphics will offer up to 2.6 times the performance of the previous generation for gaming, offer frame rate conversion for a smoother video playback. The most impressive aspect to me is the support for the latest 4K Ultra HD Collage Display.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

If you're fortunate enough to have been an early adapter to the latest 4K resolution, you're in luck. The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H natively supports that resolution on both the Mini DisplayPort 1.0 and HDMI 1.4 ports on the I/O panel.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Motherboard Retail Packaging & Bundle

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging and Bundle

GIGABYTE changed up the colors of the motherboards, as well as the packaging. While it isn't an overly dramatic change, I dig it. I look at the packaging and it catches my eyes but doesn't overwhelm the senses. In addition to the GIGABYTE name in the corner we have the Z87X-UD3H emblazoned on the front. Along the bottom edge we have the Ultra Durable 5 Plus logo and a little bit of information regarding the Ultra Durable 5 Plus. Here it talks about the Ultra Cool, Ultra Performance, Ultra Safe, and Ultra USB 3.0.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging and Bundle

The back of the retail packaging for the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Z87 motherboard delivers no shortage of marketing text. Here we can find out details and the key features that GIGABYTE is emphasizing.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging and Bundle

When we first opened up the retail packaging for the Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 motherboard it was sitting a little crooked inside the box. Turns out that one of the cardboard supports had given way during shipping. I suppose that a next day air trip from Taiwan to Chicago can't be to easy, good news is that it survived without any issues!

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging and Bundle

Once we remove the GA-Z87X-UD3H motherboard from the retail packaging we can see the accompanying bundle, it looks a little on the lite side. Should get the job done though.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging and Bundle

The bundle that comes with the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H is a little on the lite side compared to some that we have seen in the past. Then again, this isn't a board for those looking for all the bells and whistles, this is a board that will get the job done for most people without any issues. The Z87X-UD3H LGA1150 motherboard comes with four SATA cables, an SLI Bridge, I/O shield, Driver and Utility Disc, and the manuals you will need to get started.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Motherboard Layout & Features

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The new look of the GIGABYTE boards is pretty slick. It isn't overly flashy, and it's not exactly understated. Overall I think it is a good look. That wouldn't make me buy it, haven't found a board yet that makes me want to buy it based on the way it looks. If it doesn't have the performance it isn't going in my system!

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H features the typical four DIMM slots and will support up to 32GB of DDR3 DRAM. Looking at the corner of the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H there is a series of buttons, a power button, reset button, as well as a clear CMOS button. Just above the right side of the four DIMM slots we can see the 4pin CPU fan header as well as the optional CPU 4pin Fan header. Just above the 24pin motherboard power plug there is a 3pin system fan header and the P.O.S.T. code LED just to the right of that. At the lower left hand corner of the DIMM slots we can see an internal SuperSpeed USB 3.0 header. Just along the edge of the Z87X-UD3H we can see a series of voltage check points, here we can check the VCore, VDIMM, VIOD, VRING, VAXG, VSA, VIOA, and VRIN

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H features eight SATA ports, each and every one of them is a SATA III 6Gbps, though only six of them are native to the Intel Z87 chipset. The remaining pair are controlled by a Marvell 88se9230 SATA III controller. On the right side of the SATA III ports is a SATA power plug, while this is conveniently placed by the SATA ports, it doesn't do anything for them. Instead it will supply additional power to the PCIe x16 slots which may be needed when running multiple overclocked GPU's. To the left of the SATA ports there is a 4pin system fan header. Working our way up the edge of the board we can see the front panel pin-out including the power and reset switches, hard drive activity light, power LED, and the system speaker. Above the front panel stuff we have a second internal SuperSpeed USB 3.0 header, and a handful of internal USB 2.0 ports (three to be exact, but who's counting).

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

Spinning the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H around once again we can pick up where we left off. Just pass the three USB 2.0 headers we have the COM port, T.P.M.(Trusted Platform Module), 4pin system fan header, SPDIF out, and the front panel audio header, and the SPDIF in. Rounding the corner of the Z87X-UD3H we can catch a glimpse of the shiny new durable black solid capacitors as well as several of the IC's that make up the sub-systems of the board. The first and most noticeable is the ITE IT8892E PCI bridge chip. Continuing to the left we can find the Realtek ALC898 high definition audio codec, and what should be the Intel I217-V Gigabit Ethernet controller. The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H features 3 PCIe x16 slots that will support 2-way NVIDIA SLI, or 3-way AMD CrossFireX. Just in case you were wondering why the Z87X-UD3H doesn't support 3-way SLI, the third PCIe x16 slot runs at x4 borrowing lanes from the CPU, NVIDIA won't support SLI in configurations that utilize a x4 slot. In order for the Z87 chipset to support 3-way SLI a PLX chip would need to be added to the mix to supply additional PCIe lanes. In addtion to the 3 PCIe x16 slots there is three PCIe x1 slots as well as a PCI slot.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H features a single 8pin CPU power plug, though you can get away with a single 4pin power plug if that is all your power supply has.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The area around the latest Intel LGA1150 socket is pretty wide open. On the outskirts we have the heat sinks to keep the PWM's cool during those long nights of gaming. Just under the edge of the heat sinks we can the eight chokes that make up the power phases on the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The I/O panel of the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 motherboard doesn't feature any of those pesky old school USB 2.0 ports, nothing but the latest SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports here, six of them to be exact. All driven by the Intel Z87 chipset through a Renasas uPD720210 4-port USB 3.0 hub controller. In addition to the six USB 3.0 ports, we also have a 15pin D-Sub VGA port, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, a pair of eSATA ports, six 3.5mm audio jacks, and an optical SPDIF out port.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

GIGABYTE has totally overhauled their UEFI interface for the Intel Z87 platform. Instead of having to search for status information of your CPU, Memory, or System information there is real time information on either side of the interface.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

The UEFI DualBIOS on the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H has the ability to have a custom page made. You can add the BIOS options that you want access to when you first head into the BIOS.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

GIGABYTE is allowing us to tweak the background image as well. While this is a cool idea, I would likely never take advantage of it, but I'm sure there are those that would.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

Many of the settings within the UEFI DualBIOS are able to be adjusted in real-time. To the right of many of the settings there there is a switch that looks like a toggle switch, click on that and then hit the apply button and that setting or settings will be adjusted right then and there.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H UEFI DualBIOS

 

The Legit Reviews Test System

Before we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 8 Enterprise 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. We completely overhauled our test setup for the Intel Core i7-4770K processor launch, so we are starting over from scratch when it comes to testing everything. For this review will be comparing Intel Z77, Intel Z87 and AMD FM2 platforms. These platforms are aimed at mainstream users and all feature integrated graphics, so it will be interesting to see how the systems compare. We understand that there is a significant price difference between some of the processors we will be testing, but the platforms are targeted to the same consumer group.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Test System

The Intel Z87 platform that we used to test the Intel 1150 processors was running the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H motherboard with BIOS F6b that came out on 5/20/2013. The Corsair Dominator Platnium 8GB 2133MHz memory kit was set to XMP 1.3 memory profile settings, which is 1.5v and 9-11-11-31 1T memory timings. The Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD uses 19nm NAND and was using M310 firmware.

testsysteminfo_550

 Here is a quick look at the CPU-Z information for our main test system that we'll be doing the testing on.

Intel LGA1150 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Core i7-4770K

Motherboard

Intel DZ87KL-75K Click Here

Memory

8GB Donimator 2133MHz Click Here

Video Card

ASUS GeForce GTX670 DirectCU II Click Here

Hard Drive

Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD

Click Here

Cooling

Corsair H100i

Click Here

Keyboard

Corsair K90

Click Here

Mouse

Corsair M95

Click Here

Power Supply

Corsair AX860i

Click Here

Operating System

Windows 8 64-Bit

Click Here

Futuremark 3DMark 2013

3Dmark Fire Strike Benchmark Results - For high performance gaming PCs

Use Fire Strike to test the performance of dedicated gaming PCs, or use the Fire Strike Extreme preset for high-end systems with multiple GPUs. Fire Strike uses a multi-threaded DirectX 11 engine to test DirectX 11 hardware.

3DMark Fire Strike

 Fire Strike Benchmark Results - Intel HD Graphics:

Futuremark 3DMark 2013 Firestrike

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 system with the latest Intel HD Graphics 4600 was 270 points faster overall than the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming system with the previous generation Intel HD Graphics 4000. That's a jump of 40% over the previous generation!

Futuremark 3DMark 2013 Firestrike

Benchmark Results: Plugging in our ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II there is a whole point separating the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H and the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero. Compared to the Intel Z77 system the GIGABYTE and ASUS Z87 systems were in the ball park of just over 50 points ahead, though much of that score is likely coming from the ASUS GTX 670 graphics card. If we look at the Physics sub-scores we can see that our Intel Haswell systems are roughly 12% faster than the Ivy Bridge system when it comes to the processor..

SiSoftware Sandra 2013 SP1a

Sisoftware Sandra 2011 SP5

The Sisoftware Sandra 2012 SP3 benchmark utility just came out a few weeks ago and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. Sandra 2012 comes with support for Virtualisation (Virtual PC/Server, Hyper-V, VMware) and GPGPU (OpenCL, DirectX 11 DirectCompute), but today we will be using the program to look at memory and CPU performance!

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Sandra 2013 SP1a Memory Benchmark Scores

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was a hair behind our other systems today. It was still able to average 27.8GB/s memory bandwidth. Only ~.35GB/s behind the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero which had an aggregate performance of ~28.1GB/s.

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 Screenshot

Battlefield 3 (BF3) is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released in North America on October 25, 2011 and in Europe on October 28, 2011. It does not support versions of Windows prior to Windows Vista as the game only supports DirectX 10 and 11. It is a direct sequel to 2005's Battlefield 2, and the eleventh installment in the Battlefield franchise. The game sold 5 million copies in its first week of release and the PC download is exclusive to EA's Origin platform, through which PC users also authenticate when connecting to the game.

Battlefield 3 Screenshot

Battlefield 3 debuts the new Frostbite 2 engine. This updated Frostbite engine can realistically portray the destruction of buildings and scenery to a greater extent than previous versions. Unlike previous iterations, the new version can also support dense urban areas. Battlefield 3 uses a new type of character animation technology called ANT. ANT technology is used in EA Sports games, such as FIFA, but for Battlefield 3 is adapted to create a more realistic soldier, with the ability to transition into cover and turn the head before the body.

battlefield-3-intel

Benchmark Results: On the low settings the Intel Z87 systems struggle to run Battlefield 3 at 1920x1080 as they averaged between 29 and 30 frames per second, the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was a fuzz ahead of the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero, but in a benchmark using FRAPS that difference is almost to close to call a win either way. Looking at the performance of the MSI 'Ivy Bridge' system it's pretty apparent that the Haswell systems are significantly faster. The Ivy Bridge system averaged 21.863 frames per second at 1920x1080 while the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H averaged 29.67 frames per second. A performance increase of 35.7%! At 1280x1024 the Z87X-UD3H averaged 43.882 frames per second, a jump of 35.5% over the average of 32.381 frames per second on the Intel Z77 system!

Battlefield 3 - ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II

battlefield-3-gtx670

Benchmark Results: With the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II plugged in, we don't see much of a difference in the systems. The MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming motherboard came out on top by ~1%, well within this Id10T's margin of gaming error. With that being said and noted, the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was able to average 107.563 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 76.722 frames per second at 1920x1080.

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

On March 5th, 2013 Square Enix released Tomb Raider, billed as a reboot of the franchise. In Tomb Raider, the player is confronted with a much younger Lara Croft who is shipwrecked and finds herself stranded on a mysterious island rife with danger, both natural and human. In contrast to the earlier games Croft is portrayed as vulnerable, acting out of necessity, desperation and sheer survival rather than for a greater cause or personal gain.

Tomb Raider Settings

The game has been built on Crystal Dynamics's game engine called the "Crystal Engine" and the graphics look fantastic. AMD and Crystal Dyanmic's worked on a new technology called TressFX Hair, which AMD describes as “the world’s first in-game implementation of a real-time, per-strand hair physics system” for this game title. We set the image quality to ultimate for benchmarking, but we disabled TressFX Hair under the advanced tab to be fair to NVIDIA graphics cards that don't support the feature.

Tomb Raider - Intel HD Graphics

tomb-raider-intel

Benchmark Results: Tomb Raider gave the edge to the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H by a small margin compared to the ASUS Maximus VI Hero, though it's a much more significant margin when we look at the previous generation Intel 'Ivy Bridge' platform. The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H averaged 58 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 38.033 frames per second at 1920x1080. The MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming 'Ivy Bridge' averaged 37.3 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 24.5 frames per second at 1920x1080! That's an improvement of 55% with the Intel HD Graphics 4600 over the HD 4000!

Tomb Raider - ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II

tomb-raider-gtx670

Benchmark Results: With the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II installed into our systems were are seeing very little performance differences between the systems. The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was able to average 68.667 frames per second at 1280x1024h and 51.967 frames per second at 1920x1080.

Hitman Absolution

Hitman: Absolution is an action-adventure stealth DirecX 11 video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix. It is the fifth entry in the Hitman game series, and runs on IO Interactive's proprietary Glacier 2 game engine. This game title uses the Glacier 2 game engine and was released on November 20th, 2012.

hitmanabsolution_550.

We benchmarked Hitman: Absolution with Ultra Settings.

Hitman Absolution - Intel HD Graphics

hitman-absolution-intel

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 motherboard and Intel Core i7 4770K were able to sustain playable frame rates, well at least at 1280x1024. At 1280x1024 the GIGABYTE board was able to average 29.433 frames per second. Once we increased the resolution our average dropped to 20.5 frames per second. Still much faster than the Intel 'Ivy Bridge' system that averaged 23.533 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 16.4 frames per second at 1920x1080!

Hitman Absolution - ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II

hitman-absolution-gtx670

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was able to average 44.367 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 32.2 frames per second at 1920x1080. This was .9 fps or 2.1% faster at 1280x1024 and .833 fps or 2.7% faster at 1920x1080.

Metro Last Light

Metro: Last Light is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features action-oriented gameplay with a combination of survival horror elements. It uses the 4A Game engine and was released in May 2013.

Metro: Last Light

Metro Last Light was benchmarked with Ultra settings

Metro Last Light - Intel HD Graphics

metro-intel

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was once again able to take a slight lead of the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero motherboard. But that's not the big news, at 1280x1024 the Z87X-UD3H was able to outperform the Intel 'Ivy Bridge' system by 6.553 fps or 38%! Increasing the resolution to 1920x1080 the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was able to average 16.717 frames per second which is 36.6% faster than the 12.24 fps average on the MSI Z77A-GD65. 

Metro Last Light - ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II

metro-ll-gtx670

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 motherboard was able to average 63.237 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 47.473 frames per second at 1920x1080. At 1280x1024 this is a improvement of nearly 1.8 fps or2.9% over the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming 'Ivy Bridge' system. Once we bumped up the resolution to 1920x1080 the average frame rate dropped to 47.473 frames per second on the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H, though it's still nearly 1.9% faster than the Intel 'Ivy Bridge' system.

Cinebench

MAXON; CINEBENCH R11.5:

MAXON recently released CINEBENCH Release 11.5, an advanced hardware testing suite that assesses a computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on the same powerful technology as MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. The new version of CINEBENCH includes the ability to more accurately test the industry’s latest hardware, including systems with up to 64 processor threads, and the testing environment better reflects the expectations of today’s production demands. A more streamlined interface makes testing systems and reading results incredibly straightforward. Again, higher Frames/Second and point score equal better performance.

Cinebench R11.5

Cinebench R11.5 was able to put a 100% load across all the cores on all of the processors, which makes this a great benchmark to look at multi-core platforms.

Cinebench R11.5 Results

Benchmark Results: The fourth generation Intel Core i7 4770K certainly brought it's a-game to Cinebench. On both the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero and the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H it scored 8.56 points when using all of the available cores. When we ran the single core test the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero step up the game with a score of 1.77 which is faster than the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H score of 1.73.

X264 HD Video Encoding Benchmark

x264 HD Encoding Benchmark

Simply put, the x264 HD Benchmark is a reproducible measure of how fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It's nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other. We are using x264 HD v5.0.1 for this test.

x264 HD Encoding Benchmark

This application did fairly well when run on 12 threads, as you can see from the screen shot above. The first pass was not using all of the processing power available on the cores, but on the second pass all 12 threads were at ~95% load.

x264 HD Encoding Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero was able to squeeze out a slight lead over the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H during the first pass of the x264 HD Video benchmark, though we're talking about less than .5%. The roles were reversed on the second pass where the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was .03 frames per second or less than .2% faster. Both of the Intel 'Haswell' systems were more than 10 frames per second faster than the 'Ivy Bridge' system during the first pass and 3.8 frames per second faster during the second pass.

Rightmark Audio Analyzer Performance

RightMark Audio Analyzer

The RightMark Audio Analyzer suite is designed for testing quality of analog and digital paths of any audio devices, be it a sound card, an MP3 player, a consumer CD/DVD player or an acoustic set. The results are obtained by playing and recording test signals passed through the tested audio path by means of frequency analysis algorithms. The latest version of RightMark Audio Analyzer can be found here.

RightMark Audio Analyzer Results

Rightmark Audio Analyzer Comparison Chart

Rightmark Audio Analyzer Audio Performance Benchmark Results

The GIGABYTE Z77X-UD3H was able to hold its own in the Rightmark Audio Analyzer and managed an overall score of Very Good. Looking at the individual scores though, it wasn't quite up to par with the ASUS Maximus VI Hero which also scored an overall of 'Very Good'.

Intel Z87 SATA III 6Gbps Performance Testing

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance
ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

The SATA III 6Gbps performance testing was completed using a Corsair Force GT 240Gb SATA III 6Gbps SSD.

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was the slowest of the three systems we tested today in the CrystalDiskMark SATA testing. Though we are talking about a difference of only 1% on the sequential read, the Z87X-UD3H averaged 506.2MB/s Sequential Read while the fastest board averaged 511.4MB/s. The Sequential Write speed was pretty much the same deal, the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H averaged 442.5MB/s while the ASUS Maximus VI Hero averaged 4.2MB/s higher which is again only 1%.

HD Tune Pro 4.01 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z87 HD Tune Pro 5.50 Write Benchmark Results

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

Intel Z87 HD Tune Pro 5.50 Read Benchmark Results

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

 

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

Benchmark Results: HD Tune 5.50 wasn't so kind to the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H, we saw an average read of only 309.8MB/s and an average write of only 291.0MB/s. This is quite a bit slower than we expected to see, but we are in early stages of the BIOS so results may change by the time these hit the retail floors.

Intel Z87 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance Testing

Thermaltake BlackX 5G SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Dock

There are a number of different Super Speed USB 3.0 host controllers out there. In order to know which ones perform the best we run a series of tests that will put the controller through the ringer and see how it comes out on the other side. Each of our motherboards uses a different Super Speed USB 3.0 controller and you can find the below.

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Testing of the USB3 was done using the "Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station . The drive used was an Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was slightly slower than the other competitors in our USB 3.0 testing. Though it was still putting up some solid numbers, the average Sequential Read of the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was 411.8MB/s and the Sequential Write was 355.9MB/s.

HD Tune Pro 5.00 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune 5.50 Read Benchmark Results

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune 5.50 Write Benchmark Results

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Testing of the USB3 was done using the "Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station . The drive used was an Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was able to hit an average read of 239.4MB/s and an average write of 229.1MB/s. It's slower than the ASUS Hero Z87 motherboard but faster than the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming motherboard.

Power Consumption

CPU Power Consumption

Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with the power supplies, case fans, video cards and hard drives. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements, Prime95's in-place large FFT's were run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load for maximum power consumption and heat. Curious about real world scenarios, we decided to drop Furmark and ran 3DMark 11 on the performance preset and took the maximum power consumption during the first GPU test.

fGIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Power Consumption

Benchmark Results: Power consumption was pretty constant across the board with the exception of the Prime95 load. At idle the boards ranged between 57 and 59 Watts at the wall with the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H falling in the middle at 58 Watts. Running 3DMark Firestrike our two Intel Z87 boards were both pulling a peak of 232 Watts while our Intel Z77 system was 1 Watt lower at 231. Prime 95 gave me the opposite results of what I expected, the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming motherboard with the Intel Core i7 3770K 'Ivy Bridge' processor pulled only 135 Watts at the wall, The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H and ASUS Maximus VI Hero were pulling 30 Watts more at the wall! It was expected that the latest and greatest would be more power efficient, but our results show different. It could have something to do with early BIOS revisions compared to a much more mature BIOS build for the Intel Z77 Platform, or it could simply be the way that Prime95 loads up the different processors.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Overclocking

Overclocking greatly varies due to what hardware is being used and who is doing the overclocking. Always remember that no two pieces of hardware will perform the same, so our results will differ from what you might be able to get.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Extreme Overclocking Setting

The Intel Core i7 4770K runs at a non-turbo speed of 3.5GHz and turbo will ramp the processor up to as high as 3.9GHz as we can see above. Since we are using a K series processor which has an unlocked multiplier we will be able to increase the default x35 multiplier to achieve our overclock today. This is the easiest way to overclock K series processors and should provide us with some great speeds.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Extreme Overclocking Setting

The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H has several different options that we can play with in the BIOS, and I decided to just go for broke with the extreme setting. We were running a little blind on this one, this is the first run with our Intel Core i7 4770K and overclocking and weren't quite sure what to expect. Once we selected the Extreme setting we saved our settings and exited the BIOS.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Extreme Overclocking Setting

First thing we needed to do was to see how fast our processor was running and I was happy to see that it was running comfortably at 4.7GHz!

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Extreme Overclocking Setting

Curious as to how stable the system was I fired up the System Stability Test in AIDA64, right off the bat we spiked our temperatures and started seeing the CPU throttling down. The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H set the vCore of our Intel Core i7 4770K at 1.417! This caused our chip to run to hot even for our Corsair H100i AIO Water cooler. The vCore was to high so without changing anything else in the BIOS I backed the vCore down to 1.25 for a starting point.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Extreme Overclocking Setting

It turns out that 1.25 vCore was enough to boot the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H into Windows without an issue, but as always, the million dollar question is: Is it stable?!

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Extreme Overclocking Setting

Firing up AIDA64 once again we ran the stability test for 15 minutes without any issues or hiccups. While this isn't the most definitive test of stability, it is a good indicator if the system doesn't crash under a heavy load like this.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Extreme Overclocking Setting

Even under the Corsair H100i water cooler, the temperature of the Intel Core i7 4770K spiked as high as 85 degrees Celsius. The average temperature was lower, right around 72 degrees Celsius on each of the cores.

I tried pushing the Intel Core i7 4770K beyond the 4.7GHz mark, nothing that I did was making any difference. We increased the vCore to 1.3 and started seeing core temperatures higher than I would like to.  We may play with a little redneck cooling in the near future just to see if we can get a little further and see how much it would take.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Extreme Overclocking Setting

We fired up Cinebench at 4.7GHz under both settings. Running at the extreme preset as is we scored 10.13 points in Cinebench.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Extreme Overclocking Setting

Once we reduced the CPU vCore on our Intel Core i7 4770K our temperatures dropped and we did get any of the scaling that we were getting. With our the throttling down of the CPU our score jumped to 10.3.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Extreme Overclocking Setting

3DMark Firestrike saw an overall improvement of 154 points overall. The CPU heavy Physics score jumped from 11218 all the way up to 13406 points, a jump of 19.5%!

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Extreme Overclocking Setting

On the Frequency page of the GIGABYTE UEFI BIOS the only settings that are different than the defaults are the CPU Clock Ration which we have set at x47 and the Extreme memory Profile (X.M.P.) which is set to Profile 1.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Extreme Overclocking Setting

We kept our Uncore Ratio at 1:1 with our CPU Core ratio and set it at x47. If you have this board and CPU combination give these settings a try, if they work for you Great! Let us know, if not, be sure to let us know what did work for you.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 motherboard is the first motherboard with the Intel LGA1150 socket to come across my bench and after seeing the numbers today, I think the Haswell platform is going to be a great platform for those looking for a complete upgrade from an older system. Not totally sure if it would be a worth while upgrade from an 'Ivy Bridge' system, but probably worth it from a Sandy Bridge system. With a retail price of $179.99 the Z87X-UD3H has a solid price point for the features that it offers.

GIGABYTE has done a lot with the Z87X-UD3H since the last generation. While it's partially a cosmetic change as well as a functional change, I dig the new Black Solid Caps. It's always been a bit of an eyesore having the silver caps on a black PCB, but aesthetics have never been a huge concern of mine, just an added bonus when it works out in my favor.

GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Performance Review

Some of the above features we have seen before on GIGABYTE motherboards, stuff like the On/Off Charge, SLI/CrossFire support, OC PEG power, Quick Buttons, and several others aren't new. There's definitely plenty on the Z87X-UD3H that is new. All of the SATA ports on the Z87X-UD3H are SATA III 6Gbps, the previous generation had native support for only two SATA III ports, the Z87 chipset has native support for six SATA III ports. In addition to the SATA III Ports, the Z87 chipset will support six SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports. GIGABYTE has added a Gaming Headphone Amplifier to the Z87X-UD3H motherboard to improve your audio experience.

The strength for the Intel 'Haswell' Core i7 4770K is clearly the Intel HD 4600 Graphics. In all of our gaming tests and synthetic graphics test the results were nothing short of impressive. Our average performance gain was easily over 35%! Only one game was below that, and even in Hitman Absolution we saw a performance gain of 25% at both resolutions over the Intel Core i7 3770K processor and Intel HD 4000 Graphics. Though we saw gains greater the 35% as well, in Tomb Raider we saw gains of 55% at both resolutions. We went from 24.5 frames per second at 1920x1080 up to 38.033 frames per second with our Haswell system. This brought a game that wasn't exactly playable with low frame rates to a playable frame rate at 1920x1080 on integrated graphics.

We didn't have a lot of time to truly dial in the overclocking capabilities of the Intel Core i7 4770K we are using. What time we did have was rather productive and we were able to push our chip to 4.7GHz! From what I've heard through the grapevine 4.7GHz is a relatively high overclock for the 'Haswell' processors. More impressive was the fact that the presets in the GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS were able to take us right to 4.7GHz. Granted we had to dial back the vCore from 1.417 Volts to 1.25 Volts due to the amount of heat we were getting from the 4770K. I'm a little surprised that GIGABYTE has a preset on the Z87X-UD3H motherboard that could quite easily nuke a processor if the right cooling isn't being used. Even with our Corsair H100i water cooler we were experiencing throttling at that voltage. Once we dialed back the voltage though we were golden! I would almost expect to see an aggressive preset like this on a board like the G1.Sniper 5 or the Z87X-OC Force which is built for the overclocker. Ultimately, if you're playing with the extreme performance preset in the UEFI BIOS make sure you have cooling that can handle it.

The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H is available now for $189.99 shipped on Amazon. It's not clear yet as to what the median price for Intel Z87 motherboards are going to be, if it is comparable to Intel Z77 'Ivy Bridge' motherboard prices $179.99 won't be to bad for a board like this one. There's always a little bit of risk being an early adopter of new technology, GIGABYTE has us covered and has a three year warranty to back up their motherboards. Hopefully we wont ever need to take advantage of it, but it's there if we need it.

Legit Bottom Line: While the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Intel Z87 motherboard is our first full review on Intel Z87 motherboards. I'm confident that GIGABYTE has set the bar high. If you're looking to upgrade to an Intel 'Haswell' system the Z87X-UD3H will be a great choice for you!