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.
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.
|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
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
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.
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.