What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD4H LGA1155 Motherboard Review

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
Test Setup & Testing Methodology

Test Setup & Testing Methodology


For this review, we have prepared eight different test setups, representing all the popular platforms at the moment, as well as most of the best-selling processors. As much as possible, the four test setups feature identical components, memory timings, drivers, etc. Aside from manually selecting memory frequencies and timings, every option in the BIOS was at its default setting.

Z77X-UD4H-107.jpg


For all of the benchmarks, appropriate lengths are taken to ensure an equal comparison through methodical setup, installation, and testing. The following outlines our testing methodology:

A) Windows is installed using a full format.

B) Chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) are installed.

C)To ensure consistent results, a few tweaks are applied to Windows 7 and the NVIDIA control panel:
  • UAC – Disabled
  • Indexing – Disabled
  • Superfetch – Disabled
  • System Protection/Restore – Disabled
  • Problem & Error Reporting – Disabled
  • Remote Desktop/Assistance - Disabled
  • Windows Security Center Alerts – Disabled
  • Windows Defender – Disabled
  • Screensaver – Disabled
  • Power Plan – High Performance
  • V-Sync – Off

D) All available Windows updates are then installed.

E) All programs are installed and then updated, followed by a defragment.

F) Benchmarks are each run three to eight times, and unless otherwise stated, the results are then averaged.

Here is a full list of the applications that we utilized in our benchmarking suite:
  • 3DMark Vantage Professional Edition v1.1.0
  • 3DMark11 Professional Edition v1.0.2
  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition v2.70.2200 Beta
  • Cinebench R11.529 64-bit
  • MaxxMEM² - PreView v1.91
  • SiSoft Sandra 2011.SP5
  • SuperPI Mod 1.8 WP
  • Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark v1.0.0.0
  • wPRIME version 2.06
  • X3: Terran Conflict Demo v1.0

That is about all you need to know methodology wise, so let's get to the good stuff!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
Overclocking Results

Overclocking Results



It wouldn't be an HWC motherboard review if we didn't include some overclocking results, so we thoroughly tested out this motherboard capabilities, especially with regard to its auto-overclocking functionality.


Auto Overclocking

Z77X-UD4H-108th.gif

Click on image to enlarge

The Z77X-UD4H features two types of automatic overclocking. Within EasyTune6, there is Quick Boost and the newer Auto Tuning feature. The Quick Boost feature is super simple, you just select one of the three presets, click on the big bright button, the system reboots and the automatic overclock is achieved. Obviously, we went straight to the Quick Boost 3 preset, and as you can see below it worked!


Z77X-UD4H-109th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

From 3.9Ghz to 4.68Ghz in the time it takes to reboot is pretty damn impressive if you ask us. The preset even managed to set a pretty high memory frequency with loose but not horrendous timings. Voltage-wise things are reasonable as well. Although it utilizes a high 1.320V to 1.356V core voltage when under load, that is to be expected from a preset settings that has to account for both good and bad overclocking processors. Users can easily manually decrease that a few notches at will. Most importantly of all, the system passed our stability tests so clearly it was a stable overclock. Both the excellent result and the stability are two things that are often lacking when attempting an auto-overclock, so kudos to GIGABYTE for getting it right.


Z77X-UD4H-110th.gif
Z77X-UD4H-111th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The second auto-overclocking feature is the new Auto Tuning functionality. It is also software-based, but it does not utilize presets, and thus takes quite a bit longer (5-20 minutes). Within Windows, Auto Tuning slowly increases the system frequencies and does some stress testing at each level until it finds the limit, reboots, and voila! The overclock is set.


Z77X-UD4H-112th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The software once again achieved a very impressive auto-overclock on both the processor and memory front, but it wasn't stable. Simply put, it didn't choose a high enough vCore for our processor. 4.8Ghz at 1.26V is simply too optimistic, at least for our particular engineering sample chip. Light tasks were not an issue, but SuperPI would fail and anything more intensive than that would cause a BSOD. Re-running the utility gave us a different overclocking result, but it was basically the same as the Quick Boost 3 preset.


Manual Overclocking

Z77X-UD4H-113th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

As you can see, our manual overclocking was actually pretty close to the Auto Tuning result, albeit with quite a bit more vCore. This is very similar to what we initially achieved in the Core i7-3770K launch article, and the differences are probably attributable to us using a tiny bit more voltage in this case. The highest temperatures hit were well into the mid-90C's, which is obviously too high, but that was partly attributable to very high ambient temps (ie: super-heating of the house in order to not freeze to death from -30C outside temperatures).

On the memory front, we were able to achieve DDR-2412 using our G.Skill TridentX F3-2400C10D-8GTX kit’s stock 10-12-12-31 timings, albeit with a tighter tRFC and Command Rate. The limiting factor was the kit itself, or more accurately our self-imposed 1.65V voltage limit. Having said that, increasing the voltage or further loosening the timings just isn’t a worthwhile tradeoff in our opinion.

Overall, the Z77X-UD4H was joy to use when overclocking. No weird issues or random reboots, perfect system recovery when we did push things too far, and a mature bios with all the overclocking settings we needed. We will have to give Auto Tuning another try with a retail processor, since perhaps it is just not optimized properly for our engineering sample.
 
Last edited:

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
System Benchmarks

System Benchmarks


In the System Benchmarks and Gaming Benchmarks section we will show a number benchmark comparisons of the Core i7-3770K and GIGABYTE Z77X-UD4H using the stock speed, with the Quick Boost 3 auto-overclock preset applied, and using own our manual overclock. This will illustrate how much performance can be gained by overclocking the i7-3770K using this motherboard. For full comparisons of i7-3770K versus a number of different CPUs have a look at the Intel i7-3770K Ivy Bridge CPU Review.


SuperPi Mod v1.5


When running the SuperPI 32MB benchmark, we are calculating Pi to 32 million digits and timing the process. Obviously more CPU power helps in this intense calculation, but the memory sub-system also plays an important role, as does the operating system. We are running one instance of SuperPi via the HyperPi 0.99b interface. This is therefore a single-thread workload.

Z77X-UD4H-114.jpg


wPRIME 2.03


wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k, where k is the number we're sqrting, until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration, starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum. This is a highly multi-threaded workload.

Z77X-UD4H-115.jpg


Cinebench R11.5


Cinebench R11.5 64-bit
Test1: CPU Image Render
Comparison: Generated Score


The latest benchmark from MAXON, Cinebench R11.5 makes use of all your system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene using various different algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The test scene contains approximately 2,000 objects containing more than 300,000 total polygons and uses sharp and blurred reflections, area lights and shadows, procedural shaders, antialiasing, and much more. This particular benchmarking can measure systems with up to 64 processor threads. The result is given in points (pts). The higher the number, the faster your processor.

Z77X-UD4H-116.jpg


Sandra Processor Arithmetic and Processor Multi-Media Benchmarks

SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. The software suite provides most of the information (including undocumented) users like to know about hardware, software, and other devices whether hardware or software. The name “Sandra” is a (girl) name of Greek origin that means "defender", "helper of mankind".

The software version used for these tests is SiSoftware Sandra 2012. In the 2012 version of Sandra, SiSoft has updated the .Net benchmarks and the GPGPU benchmarks have been upgraded to General Processing (GP) benchmarks, able to fully test the new APU (CPU+GPU) processors. The two benchmarks used are the Processor Multi-Media and Processor Arithmetic benchmarks. These three benchmarks were chosen as they provide a good indication of three varying types of system performance. The multi-media test shows how the processor handles multi-media instructions and data and the arithmetic test shows how the processor handles arithmetic and floating point instructions. These two tests illustrate two important areas of a computer’s speed and provide a wide scope of results.


Z77X-UD4H-117.jpg


Z77X-UD4H-118.jpg


MaxxMem Benchmark

Created by MaxxPI², the MaxxMem benchmark tests your computer’s raw memory performance, combining copy, read, write and latency tests into one global score. This memory benchmark is a classic way to measure bandwidth of a memory subsystem.

MaxxMem uses continuous memoryblocks, sized in power of 2 from 16MB up to 512MB, starting either writing to or reading from it. To enable high-precision memory performance measurement, they both internally work with multiple passes and averages calculations per run.

Further, the main goal was to minimize (CPU) cache pollution on memory reads and to eliminate it (almost completely) on memory writes. Additionally, MaxxMem operates with an aggressive data prefetching algorithm. This all will deliver an excellent judge of bandwidth while reading and writing.


Z77X-UD4H-119.jpg
Z77X-UD4H-120.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
Gaming Benchmarks

Gaming Benchmarks




Futuremark 3DMark (2013)


3DMark v1.0
Graphic Settings: Fire Strike Preset
Rendered Resolution: 1920x1680
Test: Specific Physics Score and Full Run 3DMarks
Comparison: Generated Score


3DMark is the brand new cross-platform benchmark from the gurus over at Futuremark. Designed to test a full range of hardware from smartphones to high-end PCs, it includes three tests for DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 hardware, and allows users to compare 3DMark scores with other Windows, Android and iOS devices. Most important to us is the new Fire Strike preset, a DirectX 11 showcase that tests tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Like every new 3DMark version, this test is extremely GPU-bound, but it does contain a heavy physics test that can show off the potential of modern multi-core processors.


Z77X-UD4H-122.jpg


Futuremark 3DMark 11


3DMark 11 v1.0.2
Graphic Settings: Performance Preset
Resolution: 1280X720
Test: Specific Physics Score and Full Run 3DMarks
Comparison: Generated Score


3DMark 11 is Futuremark's very latest benchmark, designed to tests all of the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. At the moment, it is lot more GPU-bound than past versions are now, but it does contain a terrific physics test which really taxes modern multi-core processors.


Z77X-UD4H-123.jpg


Futuremark 3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage v1.1.0
Graphic Settings: Performance Preset
Resolution: 1280X1024

Test: Specific CPU Score and Full Run 3DMarks
Comparison: Generated Score

3DMark Vantage is the follow-up to the highly successful 3DMark06. It uses DirectX 10 exclusively so if you are running Windows XP, you can forget about this benchmark. Along with being a very capable graphics card testing application, it also has very heavily multi-threaded CPU tests, such Physics Simulation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), which makes it a good all-around gaming benchmark.


Z77X-UD4H-124.jpg


Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark


Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark
Resolution: 1680x1050
Anti-Aliasing: 4X
Anisotropic Filtering: 8X
Graphic Settings: High
Comparison: Particle Performance Metric

Originally intended to demonstrate new processing effects added to Half Life 2: Episode 2 and future projects, the particle benchmark condenses what can be found throughout HL2:EP2 and combines it all into one small but deadly package. This test does not symbolize the performance scale for just Episode Two exclusively, but also for many other games and applications that utilize multi-core processing and particle effects. As you will see the benchmark does not score in FPS but rather in its own "Particle Performance Metric", which is useful for direct CPU comparisons.


Z77X-UD4H-125.jpg


X3: Terran Conflict


X3: Terran Conflict 1.2.0.0
Resolution: 1680x1050
Texture & Shader Quality: High
Antialiasing 4X
Anisotropic Mode: 8X
Glow Enabled

Game Benchmark
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

X3: Terran Conflict (X3TC) is the culmination of the X-series of space trading and combat simulator computer games from German developer Egosoft. With its vast space worlds, intricately detailed ships, and excellent multi-threaded game engine, it remains a great test of modern CPU performance.


Z77X-UD4H-126.jpg
 
Last edited:

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
Voltage Regulation / Power Consumption

Voltage Regulation / Power Consumption



Z77X-UD4H-129.jpg

Our voltage regulation testing will focus on the various voltages and the differences encountered between what is selected in the BIOS and what is measured by a digital multi-meter (DMM). Thanks to the onboard voltage measurement points we didn't have to go poking & prodding everywhere, since all the voltage read points are located in one convenient spot. Users can either take their measurements straight from the voltage read pads, or by attaching the DMM leads to the voltage headers via cables.

Now that we have established where the read points are, let’s have a look at the results. These measurements were taken at stock system speeds and with C1E, C-STATE, SpeedStep, and Turbo Boost enabled in the BIOS. Just to clarify, the vCore (LLC) section is the vCore results with Load-Line Calibration enabled and set to Extreme mode. Here are our findings:

Z77X-UD4H-127.jpg

As you can see, the Z77X-UD4H has very, very good voltage regulation output. What you set in the bios is pretty much exactly what the board outputs. The only exception is when it comes to IMC/VCCSA, where there seems to be a little bios bug that prevents anything over 1.04V, which thankfully is not actually going to be a problem for anyone. There is the usual amount of voltage droop on the vCore, about 7% - 3% less than the what the reference specs call for, but once you set the Load-Line Calibration (LLC) to Extreme mode that is basically eliminated.

However, let’s take a closer look at how the all-important vCore behaves with and without Load-Line Calibration (LLC) enabled. This was done with a one-hour OCCT run, using all eight threads, and with our Core i7-3770K overclocked to 4.60Ghz at 1.30V (in the BIOS).

Z77X-UD4H-130th.gif

Once the initial loading begins, the actual rippling of the vCore line under full load is less than one percent, so very good. When you set LLC to Extreme mode, the most aggressive option, the voltage droop is totally eliminated and the vCore output is straight as an arrow. Everything looks perfect here.


Power Consumption


For this section, every energy saving feature was enabled in the respective BIOSes and the Windows Vista power plan was changed from High Performance to Balanced.

For our idle test, we let the system idle for 15 minutes and measured the peak wattage through our UPM EM100 power meter.

For our CPU load test, we ran Prime 95 V26.3 64-bit In-place large FFTs on all available threads for 15 minutes, measuring the peak wattage via the UPM EM100 power meter.

For our overall system load test, we ran Prime 95 In-place large FFTs on all available threads for 15 minutes, while simultaneously loading the GPU with OCCT v3.1.0 GPU:OCCT stress test at 1680x1050@60Hz in full screen mode.

Z77X-UD4H-128.jpg

Since we are using a new system configuration we lack a direct competitor to refer to, but the power consumption numbers are very much inline we what would expect from a fully featured motherboard such as this one, which is a long way to saying that the numbers are very good. Obviously, once you start overclocking and overvolting the power consumption can and does spike up quite a bit, but there were no runaway wattage draw with the Z77X-UD4H.
 
Last edited:

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
Conclusion

Conclusion


First and foremost, the initial setup was straightforward and a breeze, partly due to the two USB slots on the rear I/O panel that GIGABYTE have labelled as being native ports controlled by the Z77 chipset itself. With some motherboards getting your USB mouse and keyboard to work is trial and error when doing a fresh Windows install since some of the USB ports are being run off of controllers they aren't automatically recognized by the OS. As we mentioned in the introduction, these second-generation motherboards are always more polished than the first wave, and the above is definitely an example of that.

What about the Z77X-UD4H stood out for us? Well aesthetically, we appreciate the fact that it <i>doesn't</i> stand out. We definitely like the new understated design theme that GIGABYTE first unveiled on their X79 series. It's matte yet sleek without being gaudy, and thus matches a larger number of other components and actually looks good in a case. This maybe not a big deal to everyone, but looks matter for some. The red onboard power button is a cool addition, the voltage measurement points are lifesavers when it comes to serious overclocking endeavours, as is the venerable LED POST code display. The onboard BIOS switcher is useful for those who like to run multiple BIOS profiles or when something unexpected has occurred, and the full complement of VGA, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort ports guarantee that you will be able to output a video signal to just about any type of display imaginable.

Z77X-UD4H-131.jpg


Turning our focus towards connectivity, the Z77X-UD4H did not disappoint at all. With six USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel, an internal USB 3.0 header, four SATA 3Gb/s ports, four SATA 6Gb/s ports, and two eSATA 6Gb/s ports, the storage options are impressive. Now an mSATA and/or Thunderbolt port would have been nice additions, but you can't have everything and expect to maintain the $165 retail price. If that's a deal-breaker, and you are willing to live with two less SATA and USB ports and a pared down CPU VRM, the GA-Z77X-UD3H features an mSATA port and is $15 cheaper. The higher-end Z77X-UP4 TH has both mSATA port and Thunderbolt ports, but retails at around $185. So it really comes down to which features matters for you. To us, the UD4H is a happy compromise since Thunderbolt really doesn't matter at this point in time, and in a desktop system there's nothing an mSATA drive can do that a regular 2.5" SSD can't do for cheaper.

On the overclocking front, we were very satisfied with our results. Thanks to the superlative overclocking abilities of Ivy Bridge processors and big improvements in software-based auto-overclocking, we were able to use the Quick Boost feature in EasyTune6 to ramp up over i7-3770K from 3.9GHz to 4.68Ghz with one mouse click and a reboot. That's an impressive overclock, with very worthwhile performance gains as we demonstrated in our benchmarks. The slightly more inteligent Auto Tuning feature managed to clock our processor to an even more impressive 4.8GHz, however it was not quite stable due to a lack of vCore. We can't rule out the possibility that the program likely isn't optimized for our engineering sample chip. Having said that, 4.8GHz is only a tiny bit less than the 4.81Ghz we managed to achieve during our manual overclocking effort, so clearly Auto Tuning has some serious potential. Overall, the Z77X-UD4H was joy to use when overclocking. No weird issues or random reboots, perfect system recovery when we did push things too far, and a mature BIOS with all the overclocking settings we needed. Speaking of which, it was relief to know that it anything when catastrophically wrong, the UD4H's two physical BIOS chips would save our <i>derrières</i>.

From your Average Joe to your overclocking-focused enthusiast, this is a motherboard that ticks many boxes and that does most things very well. It has just about everything you could want in a Z77 LGA1155 motherboard, unless you want more or should I say different connectivity, in which case GIGABYTE offers quite a few other models that should meet your criteria while sharing the same basic genes as the easily recommendable Z77X-UD4H.



Pros

- Consistently fast performance.
- Clean black-on-black design.
- Very convenient layout.
- Comprehensive SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 connectivity.
- VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort outputs.
- 2-Way CrossFire & 2-Way SLI capability.
- LucidLogix Virtu MVP support.
- Voltage measurement points.
- Excellent manual overclocking capabilities.
- Very capable automatic overclocking options.
- Flawless voltage regulation & output.
- LED Post code display.
- Two physical BIOS chips.
- User-friendly and tweaker-friendly UEFI BIOS.
- Comprehensive software suite.
- Reasonable price tag given the features list.


Cons

- Clear CMOS and Reset buttons are a bit too close together.
- Large CPU coolers + tall memory heatspreaders will cause installation issues.
- Auto Tuning feature needs a little work.
- GUI-based 3D BIOS mode needs to be expanded a bit functionality wise.


Z77X-UD4H-132.jpg

Our thanks to Gigabyte for making this review possible!​

 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Twitter

Top