Intel’s Z77 motherboards are finally upon us in anticipation of Ivy Bridge processors waiting in the wings. It appears there’s plenty of life left in Socket 1155. It began with H67 and P67 motherboards which were the original product for Socket 1155. Then the Z68 chipset provided a marriage of these with overclocking abilities and added features. Now with Ivy Bridge on the horizon, Intel has released both the Intel Gigabyte Z77X Motherboard and Z75 chipsets that still use Socket 1155 and have significantly more features.
Traditionally, Intel uses a different socket with new releases but seeing this is a Tick with Intel’s Tick Tock strategy, socket 1155 stays with a sigh of relief for Z68 Gen. 3 owners. Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge are compatible with Z77, Z75, and Z68 Gen. 3 motherboards.
Intel’s intentional delay of Ivy Bridge can be debated for some time but looking at the dismal desktop market and OEM overstocks, it makes sense as Intel still reins the performance king with Sandy Bridge and the delay undoubtedly helps Intel’s partners manage their inventory levels.
Gigabyte is known for making excellent performance motherboards, and we have our hands on their budget offering of the Z77 series called the Z77X-UD3H. So let’s get it to our lab and see what features and overclocking prowess this powerful motherboard has in store.
Gigabyte has had a solid reputation in motherboard selection for many years. Their products range from the enthusiast to the budget seeker. You just cannot go wrong with their product.
Quality and long-term performance has always been their forte’ and that trend does not stop today with their latest Z77X-UD3H. The UD3 aesthetics has migrated to Gigabyte’s midnight black look we have seen on their UD5 and UD7 products and in our opinion, needed to.
The blue pastel aesthetics of yesteryear are rather meh and the monochromatic look is what the consumer likes best. Black looks great in any system build and blends nicely with any hardware.
The UD3H is laid out well as Z77 motherboards do not change much seeing they still use socket 1155. Looks aside, performance is what most look for and the Z77X-UD3H does not let us down. Gigabyte’s new UEFI bios are wonderful. The interface is aesthetically pleasing and it may not be as robust as top-tier enthusiast motherboards but it has every adjustment necessary; it is very easy to understand/navigate and that is what we all like when making a choice. Both the Novice and the pro will love Gigabyte’s 3D Bios.
Gigabyte’s EasyTune6 has not really changed in some time and a few of the adjustments in ET6 simply will not work with Sandy Bridge processors. They have very little wiggle room with the BCLCK (reference clock) so ET6 becomes more of a monitoring tool rather than an overclocking tool.
EasyTune6 needs an overhaul in our opinion but in fairness, really has nothing to do with the motherboard’s performance. We hit EasyTune6 a bit hard but as mentioned this should not be considered a deal breaker at all. As of recent, we have seen some very robust overclocking software from other manufacturers and we view Gigabyte as one of the leaders.
We are also associated with our other blog post which is on the Gigabyte GA F2a85x up4 Motherboard.
Overclocking the Z77X-UD3H was a breeze. Within 20 minutes, we reached our 2600K’s high bench able overclock of 5.3GHz which is excellent for a budget motherboard.
Some consumers will buy top-tier motherboards to simply have the best but we are always fans of great value as well. Why buy something you don’t need when you get still get high performance for less money? And the Gigabyte Z77X-UD3 is an excellent example of that, as it performs extremely well and gets our strong recommendation.