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.
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 1920×1080 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 1920×1080 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!