Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review Page: 1

Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review  

Introduction

It seems that £150 is the sweet spot for the Z87 motherboards, with a veritable plethora of options ranging from some mATX boards all the way up to some feature-rich offerings.

We've already seen a couple of motherboards from Gigabyte at a little above this price, the Sniper M5 and the Z87X-OC both were extremely high performers. If you fancy a model a that's a little cheaper and a bit more generic than the bright orange or bright green available from those particular boards then the UD4H could be just the ticket.

Long-time hardware fans will remember that the X58-UD3R was one of the best price/performance motherboards, and the X68 UD5 and Z77 UD5 both had a lot to offer. Lately the mid-range model from Gigabyte has been the UD4, and that's what we have up for review today, in UD4H guise. Indeed all of the main Gigabyte models now have an H on the end of their name.

We already know that the Z87 is extremely robust and nearly any model from any manufacturer will be worthy of purchase, so let's find out what the UD4H has to offer to tempt your wallet.

Technical Specifications

Casting your eye down the specification table shows that the Z87X-UD4H is very much a regulation Z87 motherboard with all the standard features one would expect to find and no particular quirks or additions to it. For a lot of us this can be a good thing as a more well-rounded offering allows you to mould it to your own needs, rather than having to rein it in from a particular direction dominating proceedings.

CPU
  1. Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1150 package
  2. L3 cache varies with CPU
(Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.)
Chipset
  1. Intel® Z87 Express Chipset
Memory
  1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
  2. Dual channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR3 3000(O.C.) / 2933(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2600(O.C.) / 2500(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2200(O.C.) / 2133(O.C.) / 2000(O.C.) / 1866(O.C.) / 1800(O.C.) / 1600 / 1333 MHz memory modules
  4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
  5. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
(Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)
Onboard GraphicsIntegrated Graphics Processor:
  1. 1 x D-Sub port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200
  2. 1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200
    * The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connection by adapter.
  3. 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160
    * Support for HDMI 1.4a version.
  4. 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 3840x2160
    * Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version.
  5. Maximum shared memory of 1 GB
Audio
  1. Realtek® ALC898 codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for S/PDIF In/Out
LAN
  1. Intel® GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots
    1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
      * For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.

    1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
      (The PCIEX16 and PCIEX8 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
      * The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.

    1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
      * The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX1_2/3 slots. The PCIEX1_2/3 slots will become unavailable when a PCIe x4 expansion card is installed.
      * When installing a x8 or above card in the PCIEX4 slot, make sure to set PCIE Slot Configuration in BIOS Setup to x4. (Refer to Chapter 2, "BIOS Setup," "Peripherals," for more information.)

    1. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
      (The PCIEX4 and PCI Express x1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)

  1. 1 x PCI slot
Multi-Graphics Technology
  1. Support for 2-Way AMD CrossFire™/2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ technology
    (PCIEX16 and PCIEX8)
Storage InterfaceChipset:
  1. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5) supporting up to 6 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  2. Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
Marvell® 88SE9172 chip:
  1. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3 6/7) or 2 eSATA 6Gb/s connectors on the back panel, supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
    * Use either the GSATA3 6, 7 connectors or the eSATA connectors at a time.
  2. Support for RAID 0 and RAID 1
USBChipset:
  1. Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (available through the internal USB header)
  2. Up to 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (available through the internal USB headers)
Chipset + 2 Renesas® uPD720210 USB 3.0 Hubs:
  1. Up to 8 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (6 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
Internal I/O Connectors
  1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 1 x PCIe power connector
  4. 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  5. 1 x CPU fan header
  6. 1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
  7. 4 x system fan headers
  8. 1 x front panel header
  9. 1 x front panel audio header
  10. 1 x S/PDIF In header
  11. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  12. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 headers
  13. 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  14. 1 x serial port header
  15. 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  16. 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
  17. 1 x power button
  18. 1 x reset button
  19. 1 x Clear CMOS button
  20. Voltage measurement points
  21. 2 x BIOS switches
Back Panel Connectors
  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  2. 1 x D-Sub port
  3. 1 x DVI-D port
  4. 1 x HDMI port
  5. 1 x DisplayPort
  6. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  7. 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  8. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors
  9. 1 x RJ-45 port
  10. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller
  1. iTE® I/O Controller Chip
H/W Monitoring
  1. System voltage detection
  2. CPU/Chipset/System temperature detection
  3. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed detection
  4. CPU/System overheating warning
  5. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan fail warning
  6. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed control
BIOS
  1. 2 x 128 Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AMI EFI BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0a
Unique Features
  1. Support for Q-Flash
  2. Support for Xpress Install
  3. Support for APP Center
    @BIOS
    EasyTune
    EZ Setup
    ON/OFF Charge2
    USB Blocker
Bundle Software
  1. Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
  2. Intel® Rapid Start Technology
  3. Intel® Smart Connect Technology
  4. Intel® Smart Response Technology
  5. cFosSpeed
Operating System
  1. Support for Windows 8/7
Form Factor
  1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

 



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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

Up Close

It finally seems that Gigabyte have moved away from their white boxes, and it's definitely for the better in our opinion. The UD4H packaging also is extremely clear with the model name front and centre and the majority of the features and technology logos on the reverse. 

Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review     Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review  

Although black and red is so common as to be the default hardware colour these days we very much like the looks of the UD4H. There is a nice simplicity to it. It is a fine line between being minimalist and being plain and the UD4H nicely straddles that line.

At the top right of the PCB are the power, BIOS selector, reset and CMOS clear switches. We'd rather the CMOS clear be moved a little further away, those with chubby fingers need not apply, but it makes sense to keep them all clustered together.

Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review     Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review  

The CPU area is very clear with lots of room available for even the most enormous of cooling options. The placement of the CMOS battery is rather strange, but it's still a big step ahead of just below the first PCI Express slot. Speaking of which there is a lot of room between the two, enabling a large amount of airflow in multi-GPU setups. 

There are 8 SATA 6Gb/s ports, six from the chipset itself and 2 further ones controlled by the Marvell 88SE9172 chip.

Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review     Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review  

Round the back there are six USB 3.0 ports, all four types of display output as well as a GigaLAN, combined PS2 and two eSATA ports.

Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review     Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review  



Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review Page: 3

Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

Test Setup

Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H
Intel Core i7-4770K
Club3D HD7970 Royal Ace
Corsair Vengeance Pro 2400MHz
Corsair AX1200i
Corsair Neutron GTX
Corsair H100i
Windows 7 x64  

Overclocking

It might be lacking the more obvious overclocking direction that the Sniper and Z87X-OC have but that doesn't mean that the UD4H isn't an eager overclocker. 4.9GHz is an excellent result and right at the limits of what we can attain on our i7-4770K. 

One of the elements that has been, there is no other way to say it, dodgy on recent Gigabyte mid-range boards has been the vDroop so we're delighted to report that these issues have been fixed so comprehensively that the loadline calibration option has all-but disappeared from the BIOS and the overclocking stability is rock solid. Excellent.

Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Overclocking     Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H BIOS    

Power Draw

With this dedication to ensuring good power delivery it's not surprising that the Gigabyte UD4H is one of the least power efficient Z87 motherboards we've tested, especially in the overclocked CPU scenario.  

 



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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

AIDA64

In AIDA64 we have a little bit of a tale of two halves. At stock the Gigabyte UD4H is unimpressive, with some very low scores in both the CPU and memory bandwidth tests. Overclocking completely flips this around though with some of the best CPU results we've obtained and very good, albeit it not chart-topping, memory bandwidth.

CPU

Memory

 



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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

SiSoft Sandra

Our AIDA64 results are replicated here with the UD4H's stock performance being decidedly average and yet it is like a beast unleashed when you overclock it, with some of the best results we've seen and, in the MultiMedia test, the best result we've seen on our i7-4770K.

Processor Arithmetic

 

Processor MultiMedia

 



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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

Sandra Cryptography

In the Sandra cryptography bandwidth test the UD4H performs at the level one would expect both in the stock and overclocked results, due to the clockspeed heavy nature of the benchmark. If anything it emphasises how great the GD65 is.

CineBench

The eternal battle between stock performance and overclocked performance is highlighted perfectly in Maxon's CineBench R11.5. At stock the UD4H is only akin to the D3HP, that is half a point behind our other stock results. Half a point in CineBench is an enormous amount. Yet with the 4.9GHz overclock in place it gives us the highest score we've yet attained from our i7-4770K. A tale of two results indeed.

 



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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

wPrime95

At the risk of repeating ourselves we see the same disparity between the stock and overclocked results as we saw in CineBench. At stock the UD4H is the slowest system we've tested, even beaten out by the reference Intel motherboard. Yet with the overclock in place it's knocking on the door of the very fastest times. This certainly is one for the overclockers.

x264 Benchmark v5

Another calculation-heavy test and another fastest and slowest result for the Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H. It's quite surprising to see such a mid-range motherboard perform so poorly at stock yet be so blistering once you've overclocked it.

 



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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

PC Mark

We're beginning to run out of new ways to express the same sentiment, namely that the UD4H is very average out of the box but comes alive when you overclock it. Looking purely at the final PC Mark score for a moment, the stock test is the worst in Vantage and only the Maximus VI Extreme saves it from the bottom of the pile in PC Mark 7. Yet once we overclock the UD4H it is only the Gigabyte Z87X-OC that betters it in either Vantage or 7.

PC Mark Vantage

PC Mark 7

 



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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

Resident Evil 6

Normally our 3D tests are so heavily reliant upon the GPU that our scores are identical, and it's the same situation here. However it is worth noting, if only for the sake of consistency, that in Res6 the Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H is both at the bottom at stock and the top when overclocked. Certainly it's so close that it's not worth putting much weight upon the result, but it's curious nonetheless.

Unigine Valley

Unigine is relentless stable and we're certainly not going to worry about a tenth of a frame here and there. 

 



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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

Unigine Heaven

Unigine once again proves what a GPU intensive benchmark it is with the UD4H almost indistinguishable from our other tested motherboards.

0xAA

 

8xAA

 



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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

3D Mark Vantage

Contrary to our earlier results, or perhaps more in keeping with a GPU heavy test, 3D Mark Vantage shows the UD4H in a good light whether it's overclocked or at stock. Not quite graph-topping but darn close.

 



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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

3D Mark 11

The good performance we saw in 3D Mark Vantage continues into 3D Mark 11 with the P-score, the one most likely to show a differential in the available horsepower, right up there with the best of the rest.

 



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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

3D Mark

In 3D tests at least the UD4H is phenomenally consistent, capable of delivering good results whether at stock or overclocked. It wont break world records, but neither is it as disgraced as it was in the calculation heavy benchmarks.

 



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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Review

Conclusion

With the motherboard market being more crowded than the underground at rush hour, especially around this £150 price point, does the Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H have enough to make it stand out from the crowd?

Certainly the looks go a long way for it. Gigabyte have held on to their blue colouring for as long as we care to remember. Indeed you have to go back to the days when an AGP port was considered cutting edge to find their volume selling option in anything but blue. Lately things have changed and whether it's the orange of their world-record targeted OC range or the lurid green of the Sniper's, it seems that Gigabyte are finally freed from the shackles of blue plastic. The UD4H is an all-black affair with only the heatsinks getting some colour to highlight your system, and they've chosen a beautiful red. We think it looks spectacular. It would be easy to complain that the heatsinks are lacking in any artistic flair, and they are, but equally they aren't depressingly functional either. They neatly straddle the line of looking nice, without being so ornate that they limit your creativity.

Performance is a mixed bag. We know that most people purchase a motherboard and just run their system at stock settings, and for these we have to offer a certain level of caveat emptor. The 3D results are excellent but the calculation performance and even the PC Mark results are bordering on disappointing. When you're matching the vastly cheaper D3H motherboard and being spanked by options that are only a tenner more such as the Sniper M5 or the MSI GD65 then it takes a particular need for this exact colour scheme to make it worthy of recommendation over any alternative. It isn't poor, but your socks will remain firmly on and your jaw exactly where you left it.

The same cannot be said for the overclocked performance. Firstly the power issues that have plagued a few select models in the Gigabyte range have finally been banished to the history books, and the UD4H is a prize because of it. 4.9GHz was our maximum stable overclock, and that's as good as we've seen from our CPU on 24/7 voltages. It's not just a case of big clock-speed, average performance either as the UD4H was relentlessly high on our graphs. Going head to head with the very best more often than not. The overclocked performance is so good that, when at stock, you can almost feel the UD4H straining at the leash.

This isn't the first product that benefited enormously from an overclock, the Club3D Radeon cards spring to mind, and the stock performance is good enough to not detract from our final evaluation. It's worth remembering that if you plan to run it at the defaults then it's merely adequate, but boy if you overclock it then you will be left with a big grin on your face. We wouldn't go so far as to say it's a Jekyll and Hyde motherboard, because the stock isn't that bad, but it's perhaps Tony Stark and Iron Man. For that reason we'll award it our OC3D Gold Award.

      

Thanks to Gigabyte for supplying the Z87X-UD4H for review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.