The Intel Z77 chipset will be released by the end of this month, but we had the privilege of getting the Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H for a “first look” article. It will be a top mainstream socket LGA1155 motherboard targeted to the forthcoming “Ivy Bridge” processors (third-generation Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors) and also supporting the current “Sandy Bridge” models (second-generation Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors). Let’s see what the Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H will have to offer.
The Intel Z77 will be an upgraded version of the Z68 chipset with the same basic features (Intel Smart Response Technology and Virtu video switching technology), plus native support to four USB 3.0 ports. It will also include the addition of two new technologies: Smart Connect (allowing the computer to receive emails and refresh webpages while it is in sleep mode) and Rapid Start (faster boot times).
In addition, the Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H 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.
Gigabyte has already announced 12 different motherboard models based on the Intel Z77 chipset. With so many models, it is difficult to compile a single table that fits our layout. Therefore, we are breaking down the models into two tables, one with the XL-ATX and ATX models, and another with the microATX models. We won’t describe the Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI and the Z77X-UD3H-WB WIFI models, as they are simply a version of the Z77X-UD5H and the Z77X-UD3H models bundled with a PCI Express x1 expansion card containing IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n wireless networking and BlueTooth 4.0. This card is also included with the G1.Sniper 3 motherboard.
|PCI Express x16||4 (x16/x0/x16/x0 or x16/x0/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8)||3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)||3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)||3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)||2 (x16/x4)||2 (x16/x4)||2 (x16/x4)|
|PCI Express x1||2||3||3||3||3||2||2|
|Price||NA||USD 200||USD 170||USD 150||USD 125||USD 120||NA|
* The motherboard has only four “real” USB 3.0 ports that are expanded to eight using hub chips.
|PCI Express x16||3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)||3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)||2|
|PCI Express x1||1||1||1|
|Price||NA||USD 140||USD 115|
Figure 1 shows you the Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H motherboard.