Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3P Review
Published: 22nd July 2011 | Source: Gigabyte | Price: £131.99 @ Aria |
The 'Middle-Child' analogy we started off with proves to be an apt explanation of the Z68XP-UD3P. Whereas the older child gets by purely on being the biggest, and the youngest one has few expectations, the middle child has to work really hard and make every bit of its talent count to be noticed.
The UD3P definitely makes the absolute most of everything it's given. It's almost voracious in its use of each morsel of performance.
Initially we were very disappointed with the overclocking performance. No matter how much we tinkered and tweaked, which is something that there is a distinct lack of on the LGA1155 platform, it just wouldn't play ball past 4.6 GHz. Even the bargain basement Biostar hit 4.7 GHz and most of the other boards we've tested have been good for 4.8 GHz.
However this performance deficit is solely a number one. In actuality the UD3P performs pretty much as well as any other motherboard we've seen. Sure there are the odd tests in which those few extra MHz are found wanting, but we'd bet a pound to a penny that in daily use you'd never notice.
Indeed the main star of the show is, as it was with the Z68 UD5, the Intel Rapid Storage Technology. Plug in a SSD of your choosing, select XHD in the BIOS, install Windows to your main drive as normal then install the IRST driver and link the SSD to the HDD and within a couple of minutes you've got all the capacity of a mechanical drive with most of the speed of the SSD for a nth of the price. The kit used today comes to about £140 for the SSD and Spinpoint and you'll struggle to get a 1TB SSD for that money. You'd struggle to get a 128GB SSD for that money.
The benefits of doing this are clear for all to see in our results. Yes a pure SSD only arrangement will be a little bit quicker, but in terms of power per pound it's tough to beat the UD3P with IRST. Everything you use feels the benefit and hence the system is capable of performing far beyond what a glance at the overclock would lead you to believe.
So if you're the kind of person who just wants cheap, at around £140 the Z68XP-UD3P isn't the bottom of the line, but it looks great and is rock-solid. Yes if you believe that overclocking numbers are the sole reason for existing, regardless of how usable that performance is, then look elsewhere.
But for the rest of us, those with bills to pay, the Z68 Ultra Durable (which gives the UD series its name) is a workhorse of a board that will just get on and do with the minimum of fuss. If you aren't going to take advantage of the IRST there are better performing options for the money, the truly brilliant Sabertooth P67 springs to mind, but for an all-rounder that can still put a smile on your face, the UD3P is a great board and worthy of our OC3D Silver Award.