GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi Review

INTRODUCTION:
The Intel Z77 chipset is undoubtedly a worthy successor of the P67 and Z68 chipsets. Boasting native support for USB3.0, PIC-E3.0, 1600MHz DDR3, and Intel’s 22nm Tick-Plus architecture, it really is an upgrade path you wouldn’t want to miss. With that said, motherboard manufacturers are on the race to deliver the best out of the chipset. Slapping it with their own features, making it look sexier than your average girlfriend, and the rest follows.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi Motherboard.

Today, we are going to take a look, and review what GIGABYTE has to offer for the Z77 chipset: The Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi motherboard. It’s GIGABYTE’s mid-to-high-end Z77 offering, has all the cool features found on your favorite Z77 chipset, and GIGABYTE just added it with the stuffs we all love from them. You probably know that we’ve already did an unboxing, and preview of this one, and first impressions are great. Performance should be great too, but we have yet to check it out in this review. Will it impress me? Lets find out!

ABOUT GIGABYTE:

GIGABYTE was founded in 1986, establishing our uncontested position in continuous technological innovation. By focusing on key technologies and achieving strict quality standards, GIGABYTE has been regarded as an innovative and trusted motherboard leader in the globe. To keep pace in a rapidly changing world, we have offered a comprehensive product line covering Graphics Cards, PC Components, PC Peripherals, Laptops, Slate Devices, Desktop PCs, Network Communications, Servers and Mobile Phones. We dedicate to building up a full-range digital life, responding promptly and sonorously to consumer desires and needs.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Processor

  • Supports 3rd Gen. Intel® 22nm CPUs and 2nd Gen.
  • Intel® Core™ CPUs (LGA1155 socket)

Chipset

  • Intel Z77 Chipset
  • VIA VL810 USB 3.0  controller
  • 2 Marvell SE9172 SATA 3 controller
  • VIA VT6308 1394 controller
  • Intel GbE LAN controller
  • Atheros GbE LAN controller
  • 8 Channel ALC898 Audio controller

Memory

  • Supports 2 Channel DDR3 with 4 DIMM slots

Expansion Slots

  • 1 x PCI Express x16 slots (@x16)
  • 1 x PCI Express x16 slots (@x8)
  • 1 x PCI Express  x4 slots
  • 3 x PCI Express  x1 slots, 1 x PCI slots
  • Internal I/O Connectors
  • 5 x Serial ATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 4 x Serial ATA 3Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x m-SATA connector
  • 1 x IEEE 1394a connector
  • 3 x USB 3.0/2.0 connectors (supports 6 ports)
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 connectors (supports 4 ports)
  • 1 x CMOS,1 x Restart, 1 x Power switch
  • 1 x OC-PEG connector
  • 1 x TPM pin header

Rear I/O  Connectors

  • 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s connector
  • 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 1 x HDMI connector, 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x DVI-D connector, 1 x D-Sub port
  • 2 x LAN ports
  • 1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector
  • 1 x IEEE 1394a connector
  • 6 x audio jacks 

FEATURES:
First up, there’s the new and improved Ultra Durable branding, which is even made much more durable than its predecessor by employing new ‘safeguard’ features such as high temperature, humidity, electrostatic, and power failure protections. GIGABYTE achieved these feats by doubling the copper of the PCB, and employing a new Glass Fabric PCB, which protects the board from humidity. They also added High ESD Resistance ICs which are rated with higher electro-static discharge (ESD) resistance than traditional IC implementations, protecting the motherboard, the components and the PC in general against some nasty potential damage caused by static electricity. If these are not enough to blow your socks off, GIGABYTE also added DUAL BIOS chips, Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs and an Anti-Surge ICs. This is clearly a motherboard, done right. More details: Ultra Durable 4

Ultra Durable 4. What’s not to like?

What defines, and separates this motherboard from the others, is the bundled WiFi+BT PCI-E card. This lovely expansion card supports the latest Bluetooth 4.0 and IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity. Take note that this expansion card also supports the Smart Ready Technology, so transferring files to your smartphone/iPhone will be faster, and easier .

Exclusive Bluetooth 4.0/WiFi Expansion Card.

Intel’s Z77 chipset already comes with plethora of nifty features, and this GIGABYTE motherboard didn’t skimped on each and every features that comes with the said chipset. First off, there’s the LUCID VIRTU MVP, which at a glance, is a computing-life changing feature: It improves the PC’s visuals, gives it faster response time, improves video processing, and media playback, while still taking power consumption into account. Best of all, the LUCID VIRTU MVP  also features Hyperformance, which eliminates redundant rendering tasks and predicts potential synchronization issues in the graphics delivery pipeline, producing faster frame rates, sharper visuals and reduced tearing. I am going to test this feature later.

LUCID VIRTU MVP, in GIGABYTE’s eyes.

There are tons of other features that comes with this motherboard such as the ‘patent pending’ 3D POWER and 3D BIOS technology, but lets save it for the latter part of this review. Lets head over to the unboxing of the motherboard. Boy oh boy, I can’t wait!

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H Unique Features.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H Unique Features.

PACKAGING/CONTENTS:
GIGABYTE is well-known to be very straightforward when it comes to packaging, and this motherboard is no exception. Up front, you’ll be greeted by the all white GIGABYTE packaging, along with the notable features of the motherboard.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi Packaging: Front.

The back of the packaging is much busier than I thought. Here you will see the specifications, and most of what the Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi has to offer. Pretty interesting to read, and to be honest, I learned some things here.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi Packaging: Back.

Opening the main packaging reveals a much more sturdy box that hold all the bundled items inside. Open that one up, and you’ll see 2 layers of cardboard that separates the well protected motherboard, and the other contents.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi Packaging: Motherboard tray.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi Packaging: Contents tray.

The contents of the packaging includes the User’s Manual, Guide Booklet, Installation Discs, 2xSATAII cables(Blue), 2xSATAIII cables(Black), the WiFi+BT card(w/ manual), Two External Antennas,  SLI Bridge, Front Panel USB3.0 Ports, the I/O Plate, and the GIGABYTE sticker that lets you brag that you have an awesome GIGABYTE motherboard inside your chassis. Awesome bundle, but to be honest, I’d love to see a Crossfire Bridge there too.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi Packaging: Contents.

CLOSER LOOK:
Removing the protective anti-static bag reveals the beauty of this one of a kind ATX motherboard: Heat-sink is covered in GIGABYTE Blue, the matte Black PCB is stunning, components are carefully laid out, gawd it’s a good example of beauty and simplicity. Sure, the new look is far from the smexy GIGABYTE P67,  and Z68 styling that has been once drooled over by many, but to be honest I love this new look as it pretty much reminds me of GIGABYTE back in the days. Adding to that, GIGABYTE informed me that the newly designed heat-sink cools components way much better than their last P67/Z68 heat-sink design.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi Motherboard. Looks immaculate.

Even with large protruding VRM heat-sinks, there’s plenty of clearance, and room to breathe around the socket area of the motherboard. The 4 DIMM slots are well spaced too, giving enough room for large HSFs, and tall RAM heat-sinks. There are about 3 well placed fan headers around this area as well, for your push-pull HSF setup, or for your top mounted fans. Neat.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi.

Just below the socket area is the mSATA slot that can be used to install a SSD that allows users to easily take advantage of advanced SSD-based technologies like Intel Smart Response and Intel Rapid Start Technology. However, using the mSATA port renders one of your SATAII ports useless.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi: mSATA slot.

GIGABYTE strategically placed their ON/OFF button, CMOS button, and Reset Buttons at the top right edge of the motherboard. The Debug LED also accompanied them on this spot. This is a nice move, because if you have a long PCI-E card, things will be harder to see at the bottom. Positioning these at the top also gave more room for the headers at the lower part of the motherboard.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi: Top right edge.

Surprisingly enough, the nicely positioned switches, and Debug LED, has been accompanied by voltage read points too. This is a great feature because overclockers, and power-users alike can now measure the voltages real-time, and at hardware level. It really gave me an idea that this motherboard could suit well with test benches. Awesome feature.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi: Switches and Votage Read Points.

Still looking at the top, it’s evident that GIGABYTE is not joking around when it comes to power delivery: There are about 12 Phases of pure power that is ready to be unleashed, and all of those phases are utilizing GIGABYTE’s 3D Power All Digital Engine. Delivering precise power to the most power-hungry components of the motherboard, while at the same time improving stability.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi: Socket Area.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi: VRM Area.

At this angle, you can clearly see  the new heat-sink’s wavy design, and how the one piece heat-pipe runs across the them. At the corner is the 8pin power connector, and another fan header.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi: Top left edge.

Looking at the I/O port side of the motherboard, we can see that GIGABYTE ditched out the old PS/2 ports. That made way for a lot of display connectivity ports such as the VGA, DVI, HDMI, and Display Port. Joining these ports are the 2xUSB2.0 ports, 1xFireWire port, 1xeSATA port. Dual Gbe LAN chips are also present, and sharing their I/O housings are 4xUSB3.0 Ports. There’s also the 7.1 Realtek ALC898 Audio ports, that supports X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity® and EAX® Advanced HD™ 5.0 technologies(Brilliant!). One thing though: I’d love to see a clear CMOS switch here, and they could just replace the VGA port with that. Adding to that, they could at least add one universal PS/2 port, since a lot of gaming keyboards works well with PS/2 port.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi: I/O Ports.

Heading at the lower part of the motherboard reveals the nicely laid out expansion slots, headers, SATA ports, and the large South-bridge heat-sink. There are about  3xPCI-E(x1) slots, 3xPCI-E(x16) slots, and one PCI slot, from which all of the PCI-E(x16) slots are running at PCI-E 3.0 standards. GIGABYTE also added that the last PCI-Ex16 slot will only be enabled if an Ivy Bridge CPU is installed.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi: Expansion slots.

Focusing on the header side of things, we can clearly see that this motherboard comes jam-packed with headers. The Red USB header is for the On/Off Charge feature of the motherboard that enables your devices to charge of up to 40% faster than by using conventional USB ports. Also present below from the left are the  Audio, SPDIF out, FireWire, TPM, Front Panel, On/Off Charge USB header, Fan header, BIOS switch, eSATA port, and a pair of USB3.0 headers. Pretty beefy.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi: Lower are.

The BIOS Switch is a pretty nifty feature that allow the user to switch from the main BIOS, to the backup BIOS. Pretty handy if you wanna try out a new BIOS version, without sacrificing the old one, and or if you want to easily change OC profiles. Would be nicer if this has been placed at the top along with the CMOS/Reset buttons too. But that’s too much to ask for, I think.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi: Headers and BIOS switch.

Zooming in at right edge of the motherboard, there’s another fan header present along the lines of the SATA ports. There are about 8 SATA ports, from which 4 of them are SATAII ports, and the remaining 4 are SATAIII ports.  There’s also the OC-PEG port located at the extreme right of the ports, which enables the user to use a SATA power connector to provide more stable PCIe power when using 3-way and 4-way graphics.

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi: SATA Ports.

Lets now take a look at what really makes this motherboard different from the normal GA-Z77X-UD5H: The PCI-E expansion card. This expansion card as I’ve already stated before, supports the latest Bluetooth 4.0 and IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity. I have seen some motherboard manufacturers doin’ the same thing lately with their Z77 offerings, but this one is what I like the most. Since the wireless features are slapped into an expansion card, you don’t have to worry about replacing the whole motherboard if the WiFi card gave you some nasty headaches. It looks cool in matte Black too. Be advised though that in order to enable the Bluetooth feature of the expansion card, you have to plug GIGABYTE’s additional USB2.0 header cable to it. Otherwise, Bluetooth wont work.

WiFi + Bluetooth Expansion card.

BIOS/UEFI:
If you love MSI’s ClickBIOSII, wait until you see GIGABYTE’s 3DBIOSII. Both are great, sharp, and responsive, but this one from GIGABYTE my friends, is packed with noob friendly goodness.

GIGABYTE’s 3DBIOSII. So sharp.

Upon entering the BIOS/UEFI, you’ll be greeted by a nice 3D layout of a GIGABYTE motherboard. Hover your mouse over any of those grayed out sections, and a pop-up will appear, giving a hint on what that section does. Click it, and a window with tabulated menus, and slider based settings will appear, making it easier for newbies to overclock, and change settings.

User friendly? Yes, indeed.

If you’re an advanced user, you might want to check out the advanced icon, which will bring you to the holy grail of overclocking goodness. Click that one, and the GIGABYTE M.I.T will greet you like an old friend.

GIGABYTE UEFI BIOS: M.I.T. main menu.

There’s to many settings to mention about GIGABYTE’s advanced BIOS settings, so we’ll focus on M.I.T. alone. First up, is the M.I.T Current Status, which will give you detailed, and timely readouts from your current processor and memory.

GIGABYTE UEFI BIOS: M.I.T. Current Status.

Second one would be the Advanced Frequency Settings sub menu, where you’ll be able to adjust your CPU’s Base Clock, Clock Ratio, and Memory Settings. This is where you’ll spend most of your time if you’re going to overclock your CPU.

M.I.T.’s Advanced Frequency Settings.

Advanced Frequency Settings: CPU Core Features.

The Advanced Memory Settings will take you to the memory settings sub menu from which you can set your XMP profiles, if your RAM does support it. You can also manually overclock your DIMMs here.

M.I.T.’s Advanced Memory Settings.

The Advanced Voltage Settings will let you fiddle with almost any voltage settings. I’m not a pro overclocker but I’m sure that this one will be very useful for the pros who wants to squeeze most out of their chips.

M.I.T.’s Advanced Voltage Settings.

TEST SYSTEM/PROCEDURES:
To provide precise test results, the test systems will run on an updated copy of Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1. BIOS, Chipset, and Video Card drivers will be updated too, as much as possible. No other softwares are running while benchmarks are on going. Below are the test system’s specifications:

Intel Test System (GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB):

Processor Intel Core i5 3570K
Motherboard GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H-WB (BIOS:Latest)
CPU Cooler ANTEC KUHLER H20 620
Memory Kingston HyperX Genesis Grey 4x2GB DDR3 1600MHz
Videocard SAPPHIRE HD7750
HDD/SSD Kingston SSDNow V200 128GB
Power Supply Cooler Master Silent PRO Gold 800W
LCD Monitor ACER X193HQ 18.5″ / Devant 37″ LCDTV
OS Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 (Updated)

AMD Test System:

Processor AMD FX-6100
Motherboard ASRock 990FX Extreme4
CPU Cooler ANTEC KUHLER H20 620
Memory Kingston HyperX Genesis Grey 4x2GB DDR3 1600MHz
Videocard Club3D HD6870X2
Hard Drive Kingston SSDNow V200 128GB
Power Supply Cooler Master Silent PRO Gold 800W
LCD Monitor ACER X193HQ 18.5″
OS Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

NOTE: For simple performance comparison purposes, I have added my AMD Test System’s results. Adding to that, the AMD test system uses a dual GPU video card, so we really can’t count on the system’s GPU Benchmark results. PASSMARK is also a new addition to my benchmarking set of tools so you wont be seeing the AMD test system’s PASSMARK performance. I just sold it, FYI.

PERFORMANCE (CPU):
wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton’s method for estimating functions.

Lower is better.

PASSMARK PerformanceTest allows you to objectively benchmark a PC using a variety of different speed tests and compare the results to other computers. - No AMD test system comparison here.

Higher is better.

AIDA64. It is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for home users. We’ll use the built-in CPU, and FPU benchmark tools of AIDA64 to determine the system’s CPU performance.

Higher is better.

CINEBENCH R11.5 is a real-world cross-platform test suite that evaluates the computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation.

Higher is better.

RESULTS: No doubt that the Intel Core i5 3570K contributed a lot of horse power in the GIGABYTE Z77 motherboard’s performance, beating the AMD test system on all comparison tests. Truth must be told that it absolutely  left the AMD test system behind.  -By a mile.

PERFORMANCE (MEMORY):
PASSMARK PerformanceTest allows you to objectively benchmark a PC using a variety of different speed tests and compare the results to other computers. - No AMD test system comparison here.

Higher is better.

AIDA64 is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for home users. We’ll use the built-in memory benchmark tools of AIDA64 to determine the memory’s performance.

MB/s = Higher is better. ns = Lower is better.

RESULTS: Again, the AMD test system is no match to that of the Gigabyte Z77 motherboard, as seen on AIDA64′s memory benchmark results.

PERFORMANCE (GAMING):
First up in the gaming performance test is Futuremark’s 3DMARK11. It is the latest version of the world’s most popular benchmark for measuring the 3D graphics performance of gaming PCs.

Higher is better.

Resident Evil 5, is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. It’s one of my favorite PC games mainly because I’m a fan of the series. It also has a built-in benchmarking tool to measure your PC’s performance. It’s only DX9 and DX10 compatible, though.

Higher is better.

Just Cause 2 is an open world action-adventure video game developed by Avalanche Studios, published by Eidos Interactive, and distributed by Square Enix. It is the sequel to the 2006 video game Just Cause.

Higher is better.

RESULTS: Can’t talk about it much really, since the AMD Test System as I have said earlier, is using a much more powerful GPU. I would love to update the scores but I just sold the motherboard and the CPU to a friend.

PERFORMANCE (STORAGE):
PASSMARK PerformanceTest allows you to objectively benchmark a PC using a variety of different speed tests and compare the results to other computers. We will use PASSMARK’s Storage benchmarking tool to check out the storage performance of the system. - No AMD test system comparison here though.

Higher is better.

Crystal Disk Mark measures the sequential reads/writes speed of your storage devices. It also measures random 512KB, 4KB, 4KB (Queue Depth=32) reads/writes speed.

Higher is better.

Higher is better.

RESULTS: Well look at that! The Z77 motherboard from GIGABYTE managed to beat the shite out of my AMD test system’s storage performance. Great performance from the Z77 chipset’s native SATAIII controller.  I feel bad for my AMD test system’s results.

PERFORMANCE (OVERCLOCKING):
Overclocking is well written all over GIGABYTE’s name, and truth must be told that it’s where this board shines the most. We easily reached 4.6GHz with 46 CPU Clock Ratio, C1E leaved Auto, and CPU PLL Voltage at 1.65v. That’s just it. XMP settings works well with this board too, and to my surprise, it even has automated timing settings if your RAM supports XMP. Told yah it was easy. - And fun at the same time.

Lower is better.

Higher is better.

Higher is better.

Higher is better.

RESULTS: Charts wont lie, and I must say that the GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H is up to it name, bringing strong overclocking performance across the benchmarking softwares we used. Resident Evil 5 gained the most, with an additional 61% to the game’s FPS. Adding to that, the i5 3570K @ 4.6GHz surpasses even the stock performance of the  i7 3770K on Cinebench’s CPU benchmark. Really nice.

PERFORMANCE (VIRTU MVP):
Lucidlogix’s Virtu MVP  is a gawd sent software-based technology that’s only available on some motherboards utilizing the Intel Z77 Chipset. Though bringing Two features, we’ll only test the MVP’s Hyperformance feature which allows you to combine your CPU’s IGP, with your Discrete GPU for increased gaming performance. Lets check out if it is really worthy.

Higher is better.

Higher is better.

RESULTS:  I wont believe it if I haven’t witnessed it myself. The Lucidlogix Virtu MVP’s Hyperformance really works. To my surprise, the MVP’s Hyperformance mode even beat the overclocked i5 3570K’s gaming performance.

VALUE & CONCLUSION:
 To tell you guys the truth, I’m pretty much impressed on what this motherboard has to offer, whether it’s in terms of performance and features. We saw great stock performance on most of the tests, and  overclocking results are pretty solid too. Feature wise, this motherboard is just impressive. With full Z77 features on board, you’ll be sure to experience most of what the Z77 chipset has to offer. Adding to that, it has a nice overclocker friendly features, and easy to use BIOS that newbies, and veterans would love to have.

This board is solid like its southbridge’s heatsink, I tell you.

The GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi retails for a guesstimated TPC price of 12, 000 Pesos by the time of this writing. That puts it below the ASUS Maximus V Gene’s price, and a little above the MSI Z77A-GD65. To top things off, the motherboard also comes with a non BT+WiFi variant, that considerably lowers its cost, giving you more value for your money. With 3 Years Manufacturer warranty, and the proven GIGABYTE customer support to back you up, that’s value right there, waiting to slap you in the face.

BOTTOM LINE: If you’re looking forward to upgrade to a socket LGA1155 based motherboard, you wont go wrong with the GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB. It offers a solid performance that will surely keep you happy for years to come.

PROS:

  • Great out of the box performance
  • Solid overclocking performance
  • BIOS is top-notch
  • Heavy on features
  • Layout and design

CONS: 

  • Bundled softwares are a bit outdated

Leo Bien Durana

Leo Bien Durana, commonly known as a tech loving Homo sapien, family of Hominidae, is Tech Porn's Chief Editor, and Dragon Slayer. He loves to sip coffee, and stares at pairs of round melons most of the time.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - Pinterest - Google Plus