Overclocking With Gigabyte Z77X Motherboards - HotHardware

Overclocking With Gigabyte Z77X Motherboards

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In between chipset releases, manufacturers typically pump out numerous motherboard variations, adding this or that feature or optimizing boards for a particular function. Unsurprisingly, folks like us enjoy tinkering with those boards when granted the opportunity to see if they offer anything special, over and above plain-Jane products.

Gigabyte is one manufacturer that is never short on SKUs, and with a trio of its Z77-based motherboards in hand, we wondered what any red-blooded hardware enthusiast would: How far can we overclock these puppies? We especially wanted to find out how well they would overclock compared to one another, so we put together a test bed, outfitted it with a Corsair liquid cooler, and got busy.

Before we dig into the overclocking fun, let’s introduce the motherboards we used and check some baseline benchmark numbers.

Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H
The first of the three (technically, we’re going in alphabetical order here) is the Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H. The UD4H features a simple color scheme, with a black PCB and black and silver components accented with dark blue. There are sizable heatsinks on the Southbridge and the left side of the CPU socket, but the one north of the CPU looks somewhat sawed-off.

This mainboard features Gigabyte’s 3D Power engine and the associated all-digital PWM controller array. There’s a big red power button on the PCB itself, along with less conspicuous reset and CMOS switches. You can physically toggle between two BIOSes with the BIOS switch, and there are physical voltage measurement points on board and a debug LED display, too.

The UD4H supports essentially any Intel socket 1155 chip, as well as up to 32B of DDR3-2800(OC) memory.



Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H
Specifications & Features
 CPU:

Chipset:

Memory:





Graphics:



Audio:

Connectivity:

Slots:




Storage:









USB 3.0:






Form Factor:
Support for Intel Core i7/i5/i3 and Pentium and Celeron processors in the LGA1155 package

Intel Z77 Express Chipset

4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
Dual channel memory architecture
Support for DDR3 2800(OC)/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
Support for non-ECC memory modules
Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules

Integrated Graphics Processor:
D-Sub, DVI-D (1920x1200), HDMI (1920x1200), DisplayPort (2560x1600)
Support for 2-Way AMD CrossFire / NVIDIA SLI technology

Realtek ALC892 codec, High Definition Audio, 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel, Support for S/PDIF Out

Realtek GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)

2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot (running at x16 and x8)
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 (running at x4)
3 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots
1 x PCI slot

Chipset:
2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10

Marvell 88SE9172 chip:
2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors on the back panel
Support for RAID 0 and RAID 1

Chipset:
Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
Up to 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (available through the internal USB headers)

VIA VL800 chip:
Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel

ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm 


To supports the graphics processors integrated into Intel's Socket 1155 processors, there are on board display connectors that includes a D-Sub port, DVI-D port (with a maximum resolution of 1920x1200), HDMI port (1920x1200), and DisplayPort (2560x1600), and the UD4H supports up to 2-Way CrossFire or SLI setups as well, if you go the discrete graphics route. Altogether, there are seven expansion slots, including two PCI-E 3.0 slots with x16 and x8 electrical connections, four PCI-E 2.0 slots (one at x4 and three at x1), and a single PCI slot.

     

The Z77 chipset provides a pair of SATA 6Gbps and four SATA 3Gbps connectors that support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10; a Marvell chip offers two more SATA 6Gbps and two eSATA 6Gbps connectors, which support RAID 0 and 1 too.

In total, the UD4H offers fourteen USB ports consisting of eight USB 3.0 (four each via the chipset and a VIA chip) and six USB 2.0 (via internal headers). Six of the USB 3.0 ports are on the back I/O panel, which also includes a LAN port, PS/2, optical S/PDIF, and six audio jacks.

     

Gigabyte was modest with the accessories included with this board. In the box was mostly what you’d expect from any mainboard, including a manual, driver CD, installation guidebook, I/O shield, two-way SLI bridge, and a handful of SATA cables.
 

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Seems like the UP5 board is the best for price/preformance unless you need the features that the UD7 board but for the extra $150 it may not be worth it. I would want to see what a H100i or Thermaltake 2.0 extreme cooler could do with the chip on those boards and what their temps were. I know the H55 is a good budget AiO cooler but I don't know many people that would use it when trying to do some big overclocks in the 4.7-4.8 range.

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Yeah Clixxer I agree but that typically seems to be the sweet spot in Gigabyte MB's. The 5's are awesome, the 7's are blown out , and any thing under 5 seems to be lacking to some degree to me. Just for reference here Gigabyte is and has been one of my favorite MB producers for 5+ years now so I have watched every series they put out. I also love there enhanced (double Copper) PCB's for added grounding, cooling, and resistance in construction.

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After ABIT bit the dust I started using Gigabyte boards and after much research my next PC will be a Gigabyte. And I agree with both of ya the 5's seem to have the most bang for the buck.

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I`ve been using gigabyte mobo`s for like 10 years and never had any mayor problems , so definitely they`ve got what it takes to stay on top , hopefully my new rig will also have some of their new and reliable board .

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This is a good replacement motherboard for a broken PC. Its worth the upgrade!!Smile

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I got a Gigabyte motherboard but is a motherboard really that important? I didnt spend much money on it because imo other things like CPU and GPU are way more important.

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Dude MoBo is one of the most important things depending on what you are trying to build. SATA ports, USB ports, Overclocking, RAM speed, ect are all dependent on how good the mobo is.

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Well i didn't overclock my PC at all yet.. Havent played any games i can run on 100% max and it has 2 usb 3.0 ports i think? But i dont have any USB 3.0 devices and also it costed me only 69 euro because it was in discount from 99 :)

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Heh i'm all about getting a deal. I wasn't saying its a bad choice just that a motherboard can be very important depending on the type of build you are doing. 

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A custom build i got Z68AP-D3 but when i overclock my stuff it stops working after a few days...

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