Introduction

Gigabyte launched the Z77X-UD4H, a new socket LGA1155 motherboard model designed to fill the gap between the $144.99 Z77X-UD3H and $179.99 Z77X-UD5H.
It is built with Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable 4 construction, featuring 2 oz copper layer, temperature, humidity, and electrostatic protection features.
The LGA1155 socket is powered by a 11-phase VRM that draws power from an 8-pin EPS connector.
The socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (electrical x16/NC/NC, x8/x8/NC, x8/x4/x4, depending on how they’re populated).
3-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX are supported. Other expansion slots include three PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and a legacy PCI.

It also includes the addition of two new technologies:
Intel Smart Connect Technology is designed to update programs by periodically waking your computer from sleep/standby mode for a short time.
This function works with applications that automatically get their data from the Internet, such as Microsoft Outlook*, Microsoft Windows* Live Mail and Seesmic*.

Intel Rapid Start Technology gets your device up and running faster from even the deepest sleep.
This means users will be able to experience almost zero power draw from their PC,
but be able to resume Windows 7 is a few seconds without having the PC go through a full system boot.
With Intel Rapid Start Technology the previous session resumes to the exact as it was, so that applications are still in the same state and no application data is lost.

In addition, the Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H supports the Virtu Universal MVP,
which allows you to combine the performance of the integrated graphics processor available in the CPU with the performance of any video card installed.
This is similar to what occurs with the Hybrid SLI and ATI Hybrid Graphics technologies, with the notable difference of not being limited to GPUs from a specific manufacturer.

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H include:

Socket: LGA1155
Chipset: Intel Z77 Express
Super I/O: ITE IT8728F
Parallel ATA: None
Serial ATA: Four SATA-300 ports and two SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset (RAID 0, 1, 10, and 5)
and two SATA-600 ports controlled by a Marvel 88SE9172 chip (RAID 0 and 1)
External SATA: Two eSATA-600 ports shared with the two SATA-600 ports controlled by the Marvell chip
USB 2.0: Six USB 2.0 ports available through three headers on the motherboard
USB 3.0: Eight USB 3.0 ports, four controlled by the chipset and four controlled by a VIA VL800 chip;
six soldered on the motherboard rear panel and two available through one header on the motherboard
FireWire (IEEE 1394): None
Thunderbolt: None
On-board video: Controlled by the CPU; VGA, DVI-D, DisplayPort, and HDMI connectors
On-board audio: Produced by the chipset together with a Realtek ALC892 codec (7.1+2 channels,
24-bit resolution, 192 kHz sampling rate, 97 dB SNR for the outputs, and 90 dB SNR for the inputs)
On-board LAN: One Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by a Realtek RTL8111F chip
Buzzer: No
Infrared interface: No
Power supply required: EPS12V
Slots: Two PCI Express 3.0/2.0 x16 slots (working at x16), one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (working at x4),
three PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, and one PCI slot (ITE IT8892E bridge chip)
Memory: Four DDR3-DIMM sockets (up to DDR3-2800, 32 GB maximum)
Fan connectors: One four-pin connector for the CPU cooler and four four-pin connectors for auxiliary fans
Extra features: Two BIOS chips, POST diagnostics display, support for TPM, and voltage monitoring points
Number of CDs/DVDs provided: One
Programs included: Motherboard utilities
More Information: www.gigabyte.us
Average Price in the U.S.: $165.00


Slots

The Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H comes with two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (working at x4), three PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, and one PCI slot.
The two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots are controlled by the CPU, with the first slot working at x16 when only one video card is installed,
and with both working at x8 when two video cards are installed. Since these slots are controlled by the CPU,
it will offer PCI Express 2.0 bandwidth (8 GB/s at x16) when a “Sandy Bridge” CPU is installed, but PCI Express 3.0 bandwidth (16 GB/s at x16) when an “Ivy Bridge” CPU is used.
The third PCI Express x16 slot is 2.0 and works at x4. If you plan to install a dual-slot video card in this slot, you will have to buy a case with at least eight slots.
(Computer cases usually have seven.)
When installing dual-slot video cards, you “kill” the slot immediately to the left of the slot being used (looking at the motherboard with its rear connectors facing up).
Since the Intel Z77 chipset doesn’t support standard PCI slots, the motherboard uses an ITE IT8892E bridge chip to connect the standard PCI slot to a PCI Express x1 lane.
The PCI Express x16 slots support both SLI and CrossFireX technologies.

Memory Support

Intel socket LGA1155 CPUs have an embedded memory controller, meaning that it is the processor,
not the chipset, that defines what memory technologies you can have and the maximum amount of memory that is possible. The motherboard, however,
may have a limitation as to how much memory can be installed.
The integrated memory controller from socket LGA1155 processors supports DDR3 memories up to 1,333 MHz (“Sandy Bridge” CPUs) or up to 1,600 MHz (“Ivy Bridge” CPUs).
According to Gigabyte, the Z77-UD4H supports memories up to 2,800 MHz.

The Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H has four memory sockets. Since DDR3 memory modules can be found in capacities up to 8 GB,
you can have up to 32 GB with this motherboard if you use four 8 GB modules.
In order to enable the dual-channel mode, you must install two or four memory modules.
On the Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H, the first and third memory sockets are gray, while the second and fourth are black. When installing two memory modules, use the gray sockets.

On Board Peripherals

The Intel Z77 chipset is a single-chip solution, which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub).
This chip supports two SATA-600 ports and four SATA-300 ports, supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5).
This motherboard has two additional SATA-600 ports, controlled by a Marvell 88SE9172 chip, supporting RAID 0 and 1.
These two additional ports are shared with the two eSATA-600 ports available, so they cannot be used simultaneously.
The SATA ports are installed on the motherboard edge and rotated 90°, so the installation of video cards won’t block them.
The Intel Z77 chipset supports 14 USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports. The Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H offers six USB 2.0 ports through three headers located on the motherboard.
It also offers eight USB 3.0 ports, six on the motherboard rear panel and two available through one header on the motherboard.
The four additional USB 3.0 ports are controlled by a VIA VL800 chip.
The Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H doesn’t support FireWire ports.

This motherboard supports 7.1+2 audio format, i.e., eight channels plus two independent channels for audio streaming.
On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using the Realtek ALC892 codec, which is a mid-range solution,
providing 97 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 90 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs,
with 24-bit resolution. These specifications are perfect for the average user.
if you plan to convert and edit audio from analog sources you might want to grab a motherboard with an signal to noise ratio of at least 100 dB. The one Gigabit Ethernet port is controlled by a Realtek RTL8111F chip.

Other Features
This motherboard has two BIOS chips, so if the main BIOS chip is corrupted by a virus or a bad BIOS upgrade, you can still recover the motherboard.
The Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H has a POST diagnostics display, so you can see, through a two-digit code, which component is preventing your computer from turning on.
This motherboard supports the installation of a TPM (Trusted Platform Module), in charge of storing encryption keys in order to increase the security of the computer.

Voltage Regulator

The CPU voltage regulator circuit of the Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H has eight phases
for the CPU main voltage (Vcc a.k.a. Vcore),
two for the CPU VSA (a.k.a. system agent) voltage,
and one for the embedded GPU (VAXG). Therefore, it uses an “8+2+1” configuration.

The voltage regulator is controlled by an IR3564 integrated circuit,
which uses a digital design. For the main voltage and the VSA voltage,
the motherboard uses one IR3598 integrated circuit instead of a discrete driver transistor.
One integrated circuit is used per two phases, as each one has two MOSFETs inside.
Two NTMFS4921N MOSFETs are used per phase as the “low side” and the “high side” transistors.
On the single phase for the VAXG voltage,
one RJK03B7DPA MOSFET is used as “driver” and two RJK0393DPA MOSFETs are used as “low side” and “high side.”
The Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H uses solid electrolytic capacitors.
All coils on this motherboard are ferrite-core models, which can provide up to 20% improvement in efficiency.


Overclocking
The Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H has voltage monitoring points,
allowing you to monitor the chipset voltage (PCHIO), the memory termination voltage (DDRVTT),
the memory voltage (VDIMM), the CPU PLL voltage (CPUPLL), the CPU VSA voltage, the CPU VTT voltage,
and the CPU main voltage through a voltmeter.

Listed below are the overclocking options. Here is a list the most important ones:

Base clock: From 80.00 MHz to 133.33 MHz in 0.01 MHz increments
CPU graphics clock: From 400 MHz to 3,200 MHz in 1 MHz increments
CPU core voltage: From 0.800 V to 1.900 V in 0.005 V increments
CPU graphics voltage: From +0.000 V to +0.350 V in 0.005 V increments
CPU VTT (“I/O”) voltage: From 0.800 V to 1.700 V in 0.005 V increments
CPU PLL voltage: From 1.200 V to 2.200 V in 0.005 V increments
Memory controller (“IMC,” “System Agent,” VCCSA) voltage: From 0.715 V to 1.400 V in 0.005 V increments
Memory voltage: From 1.100 V to 2.100 V in 0.005 V increments
Memory reference voltage: From 0.695 V to 0.810 V in 0.005 V increments
Memory termination voltage: From 0.593 V to 1.934 V in 0.007 V increments

Conclusions

The Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H is an awesome mid-range motherboard,
targeted to users who want to buy a good-quality product with more features than entry-level products,
but don’t want to spend a lot of money on a high-end model.

The highlights of this motherboard include the presence of eight USB 3.0 ports,
two additional SATA-600/eSATA ports, three PCI Express x16 slots supporting SLI and CrossFireX,
a decent voltage regulator circuit, a POST diagnostics display, two BIOS chips,
voltage monitoring points, an adequate audio codec for mainstream users, independent analog audio jacks,
and more. At it’s given price point with the features this board has makes this board a great purchase.

Well,

It’s 2013 and I’m working on a few things for the new year. For 2013 I will be doing product reviews for Gigabyte and I’m working on a current review as of now. Once the review is done the review will be posted here as well as other forums around the net.
Keep an eye out for a review that should be uploaded in about 2 weeks.

Also, I’m trying to decide on a next review and I’m really interested in Thunderbolt for PC. I really want to do a Raid0 ssd review with thunderbolt and compare it to some other forms of external storage and raid0 with ssd’s. Keep an eye out for this one, it’s sure to be an awesome comparison with external storage for Thunderbolt equipped motherboards.

null

Dual Port Thunderbolt™ Motherboards

null

GIGABYTE motherboards, the very first to offer fully certified dual onboard Thunderbolt™ ports. Capable of connecting up to 12 devices plus 3 digital displays simultaneously, with breathtaking data transfer speeds that can transfer 1TB of data in only five minutes, GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ motherboards offer the fastest connection interface ever on the desktop PC

Daisy Chain Technology – Up to 12 devices + 2 Display monitors

null

GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ motherboards allow users to daisy chain up to 12 devices simultaneously via an incredible bi-directional 10Gbps data pipeline that includes both PCIe and DisplayPort traffic. GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ motherboards redefine desktop PC connectivity to make it far easier to connect multiple high speed storage devices and HD displays to your PC than ever before.

null

Dual Thunderbolt™ – Fast, Flexible and Simple Connectivity for your Motherboard
GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ motherboards are the first to be certified by Intel featuring dual Thunderbolt™ ports directly on the motherboard back panel I/O, with each Thunderbolt™ port supporting a maximum data transfer speeds with simultaneous bi-directional data transfer at speeds of up to 10Gbps – this means you can transfer a full HD 1080p movie in under 30 seconds.

GIGABYTE’s dual port Thunderbolt™ implementation ensures the absolute maximum potential connectivity, with support to connect up to 12 individual devices simultaneously, with each port offering full 10Gbps bandwidth.
GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 5
High Current, Low Heat CPU Power Zone Design Features IR Digital Power Controller and IR3550 PowIRstage® Ics
The GIGABYTE motherboard employ award winning GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 5 technology that includes high current capable components for the CPU power zone including IR3550 PowIRstage® ICs from International Rectifier, 2X Copper PCB and high current Ferrite Core Chokes rated up to 60A, which together are able to deliver up to 60°C* cooler temperatures than traditional motherboards. Featured on a range of new motherboards based the Intel®X79 and Z77 Express Chipsets, GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 5 technology is the next evolution in quality motherboard design..

 

null
The revolutionary GIGABYTE 3D BIOS application is based on GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™ technology and is available to consumers in two exclusive modes of interaction, providing enthusiast and mainstream users with a choice of unique and powerful graphical interfaces.

At the heart of this exciting 3D BIOS technology is a pair of physical BIOS ROMs containing GIGABYTE’s exclusive in-house designed UEFI BIOS technology. With a superior graphical interface capable of 32-bit color imaging and fluid user-friendly mouse navigation, UEFI DualBIOS™ makes BIOS configuration a new and exciting experience for novice and experienced users alike. UEFI BIOS also brings native support for large hard drives on 64-bit operating systems.

null
GIGABYTE 7 series motherboards take advantage of the latest connectivity and expansion bus technologies available on the Intel platform. The 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor platform debuts the new PCI Express gen. 3.0 expansion bus, allowing users to take advantage of the next generation, high-bandwidth discrete graphics card solutions.
* PCIE Gen.3 is dependent on CPU and expansion card compatibility.