The Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH is a real high-end motherboard targeted to the enthusiast user who wants to build a high-end computer using one a “Haswell” CPU (fourth-generation Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7 processors) and wants all the possible bells and whistles.

The highlights of this motherboard include the two Thunderbolt 2 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, Bluetooth 4.0, IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 10 USB 3.0 ports, 10 SATA-600 ports, five PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (four can be used at the same time), a high-end voltage regulator circuit with 16 phases, active cooler for the voltage regulator supporting liquid cooling out of the box, hardware overclocking buttons, and more.

Another important feature of this motherboard is the presence of a PCI Express switch chip, which makes it possible for the motherboard to have many additional features and the ability to switch bandwidth automatically to the device that is requiring it. Because of this, all PCI Express x16 slots are controlled by the CPU, supporting CrossFireX and SLI arrays with up to four video cards, which is impressive.

The only drawback we see with this motherboard is the way the USB 3.0 ports are configured. The Z87 chipset supports six USB 3.0 ports, but the manufacturer wanted to add ten. While two of them are connected directly to the chipset, the other eight are connected to four USB 3.0 ports of the chipset, by way of two hub chips. If you use two or more ports that are actually connected to the same USB 3.0 port on the chipset at the same time, the performance will drop.

Another constructive criticism is regarding the audio codec: Gigabyte could have used the Realtek ALC1150 chip instead of the ALC898. Afterall, we are talking about a motherboard that costs more than USD 400.


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