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On Board Peripherals

The Intel Z87 chipset is a single-chip solution, which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip has six SATA-600 ports, supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5). The Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH comes with four additional SATA-600 ports, controlled by one Marvell 88SE9230 chip (supporting RAID 0, 1, and 10). The SATA ports are installed on the motherboard edge and rotated 90°, so the installation of video cards won’t block them.

Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 THFigure 5: The four SATA-600 ports controlled by the Marvell chip (gray) and the six SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset (black)

The Intel Z87 chipset supports 14 USB 2.0 ports and six USB 3.0 ports. The Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH offers four USB 2.0 ports, available through two headers located on the motherboard. There are 10 USB 3.0 ports, all of them controlled by the chipset. Two of them (available through a header) are connected directly to the chipset, while the other eight (six located at the rear panel and two available through a header) are connected to four USB 3.0 ports from the chipset by way of two Renesas μPD720210 hub chips.

The Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH doesn’t support FireWire ports.

The portrayed motherboard has two Thunderbolt 2 ports at the rear panel, controlled by one Intel DSL5520 chip.

This motherboard supports 7.1+2 audio format, i.e., eight channels plus two independent channels for audio streaming. On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using the Realtek ALC898 codec, which is an outstanding solution, providing an impressive 110 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, with 24-bit resolution. This means you are able to capture and edit analog audio (e.g., converting LPs to CDs or MP3, converting VHS to DVDs or any other digital format, etc.) with this motherboard without adding any background noise.

The analog audio outputs are independent only if you use a 5.1 analog speaker set. If you install a 7.1 analog speaker set, you will need to use the “line in” jack. There is an optical SPDIF output.

The portrayed motherboard has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, controlled by two Intel I217V chips.

The Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH comes with a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module. This module supports IEEE 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0.

Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 THFigure 6: Wi-Fi/Bluetooth hardware

In Figure 7, you can see the motherboard rear panel with a shared PS/2 keyboard/mouse connector, six USB 3.0 ports, DisplayPort output, HDMI output, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, optical SPDIF output, and the analog audio jacks.

Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 THFigure 7: Motherboard rear panel

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Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master’s degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.