Gigabyte Z68AP-D3 Review
Introduction and Technical Specifications
It's fairly well-known, or at least should be by now, that the Intel Core i5-2500K is the processor that we consider to be the best value on the market. It provides huge performance, both stock and overclocked, at a very reasonable price indeed. So it's not a surprise that it is a very popular choice.
So if you can get a good processor for a reasonable price, then obviously it behooves you to seek out a suitably high performance/low cost motherboard to put your new toy in. The market is awash with motherboards around the £150 mark that will all perform well, but what do you do if you're on a tighter budget?
So far the cheapest LGA1155 motherboard we've reviewed was the Biostar TZ68A+, which performed pretty well even if it looked like it was made out of LEGO.
Today's review, the Gigabyte Z68AP-D3 undercuts the Biostar by a tenner and is available for a eye-popping £80. Does it manage to still give good enough performance to be worth a look or is it a trim too far?
Looking through the table there isn't anything that particularly stands out as being trimmed off the specifications to get the price so low. The excellent ALC889 audio chip is there, as is Intel's brilliant Rapid Storage Technology. The only thing that hints at why the D3 is so competitively priced is the 4pin ATX 12v rather than the 8pin EPS number.
(Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.)
- Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/ Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1155 package
- L3 cache varies with CPU
- Intel® Z68 Express Chipset
(Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)
- 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
* Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
- Dual channel memory architecture
- Support for DDR3 2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
- Support for non-ECC memory modules
- Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
|Onboard Graphics||Integrated Graphics Processor: |
- 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200
- Realtek ALC889 codec
- High Definition Audio
* To configure 7.1-channel audio, you have to use an HD front panel audio module and enable the multi-channel audio feature through the audio driver.
- Support for S/PDIF Out
- 1 x Realtek RTL8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
- 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 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
* The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX1_2 and PCIEX1_3 slots. When the PCIEX1_2 slot or the PCIEX1_3 slot is populated, the PCIEX4 slot will operate at up to x1 mode.
- 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
(All PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
- 2 x PCI slots
- Support for AMD CrossFireX™ technology
* The PCIEX16 slot operates at up to x4 mode when AMD CrossFireX™ is enabled.
|Storage Interface||Chipset: |
- 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3_0, SATA3_1) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
- 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2_2~SATA2_5) supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices
* The SATA2_5 connector will become unavailable when the mSATA connector is installed with a solid state drive.
- Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
* When a RAID set is built across the SATA 6Gb/s and SATA 3Gb/s channels, the system performance of the RAID set may vary depending on the devices being connected.
Etron EJ168 chip:
- Up to 10 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 6 ports available through the internal USB headers)
- Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel
|Internal I/O Connectors|
- 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
- 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
- 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
- 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
- 1 x mSATA connector
- 1 x CPU fan header
- 2 x system fan headers
- 1 x power fan header
- 1 x front panel header
- 1 x front panel audio header
- 1 x S/PDIF Out header
- 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
- 1 x clearing CMOS jumper
- 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
|Back Panel Connectors|
- 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
- 1 x parallel port
- 1 x serial port
- 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
- 1 x HDMI port
- 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
- 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
- 1 x RJ-45 port
- 3 x audio jacks (Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
- iTE IT8728 chip
- System voltage detection
- CPU/System temperature detection
- CPU/System/Power fan speed detection
- CPU overheating warning
- CPU/System/Power fan fail warning
- CPU/System fan speed control
* Whether the CPU/system fan speed control function is supported will depend on the CPU/system cooler you install.
- 2 x 32 Mbit flash
- Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
- Support for DualBIOS™
- PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
- Support for @BIOS
- Support for Q-Flash
- Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
- Support for Download Center
- Support for Xpress Install
- Support for Xpress Recovery2
- Support for EasyTune
* Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.
- Support for Smart 6™
- Support for Auto Green
- Support for eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D)
- Support for ON/OFF Charge
- Support for Cloud OC
- Support for 3TB+ Unlock
- Support for TouchBIOS
- Support for Q-Share
- Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
- Intel® Smart Response Technology
- LucidLogix Virtu
* Make sure the monitor cable has been connected to the integrated graphics port on the back panel.
- Support for Microsoft® Windows® 7/Vista/XP
- ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 21.5cm
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