by Rob Williams on September 6, 2013 in Intel Motherboards
At its $160 price-point, GIGABYTE’s Z87X-UD3H brings a fair bit to the table. It offers a plethora of SATA and USB ports, for starters, even going as far as to include two internal USB 3.0 headers. Past that, it has a solid layout, and perhaps best of all, features one of the best EFI implementations we’ve ever seen.
After that in-depth look, I have to say that I’m very impressed with GIGABYTE’s Z87X-UD3H. At its price-point of about $160, it offers a lot, and thanks to the massive improvements we’ve seen with the company’s EFI and software suite (namely EasyTune), I find myself wrapping-up this review in rather joyous spirits – GIGABYTE has built a thoroughly good board here.
Starting on the hardware side of things, GIGABYTE is offering quite a bit of functionality on its $160 option. Users will have 8x 6Gbps SATA ports to make use of, and at least 6x USB 3.0 (at the back). Those who need more USB connectivity have a plethora of internal options to use – 6x 2.0 and 4x 3.0. Everything else, from fan header selection to connectivity at the back give any user looking for an affordable Z87 board a lot to work with.
Performance-wise, we saw a couple of oddities with regards to SATA performance, which is something we can’t quite understand. While it’d be easy to assume that the board’s performance is a bit lacking because it’s a sub-$200 offering, the logic doesn’t really check out. Both ASUS’ and GIGABYTE’s boards tap into Intel’s chipset, and both delivered very different results. That said, while GIGABYTE’s SATA performance leaves a bit to be desired, it’s unlikely to be considered an actual issue unless you’re RAID 0’ing more than one SSD – aka: you’re not going to notice the difference in the real-world.
Apart from this, performance checked-out overall, having matched ASUS’ slightly beefier option.
Can I talk about the EFI again? Ok, good.
Given what we’ve seen from GIGABYTE these past few generations, I didn’t expect to be left that impressed with the solution on this board. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was supposed to be changed (though looking through the net, it clearly wasn’t a secret leading up to the launch). Yet, here I am, touting it as being amazing.
GIGABYTE’s Z87 EFI
First and foremost, the new EFI is easy-to-use, either with a mouse or keyboard. It looks fantastic, especially when your monitor supports 1080p. It’s feature-packed, as one would expect, and offers some other nicities, such as the ability to create and customize your own menu (or multiple), and while I’d always prefer the main options area to be stuck to the left side of the screen, some might enjoy the “dashboard” design here. Overall, a great EFI.
I’d be remiss to not mention the software package again as well. While it doesn’t really strike me as being that “ultimate” as ASUS’ AiSuite III does, it’s certainly suitable for getting certain things done quickly. It’s with EasyTune where most of the good stuff is done, from configuring your fans to overclocking. Again, I’m not a fan of the “hugeness” of the app, but that seems like a rather minor complaint at the end of the day.
Having tackled this board from a number of angles, I’m left impressed enough to award GIGABYTE’s Z87X-UD3H an Editor’s Choice award. It’s spec’d well, has a solid design layout, boasts a top-rate EFI, and finally delivers an EasyTune app that’s worth using. Well done, GIGABYTE.