A Closer Look at the Z77X-UD4H
A Closer Look at the Z77X-UD4H
Above is a layout map of the Z77X-UD4H with labels of the keys parts of the motherboard. As we've come to expect from GIGABYTE, the overall layout is well thoughout and there are certainly no show stoppers from our point-of-view. All the numerous buttons, connectors, and ports are very easily accessible and free from possible obstruction. There is also a good amount of spacing between two main mechanical PCI-E x16 slots, so there won’t be any issues fitting thick dual-slot graphics cards on this motherboard. It should be mentioned that the UD4H is based on the standard ATX form factor (30.5 cm x 24.4 cm / 12.0-in x 9.6-in), so no over-sized issues to worry about.
This motherboard features a total eleven-phase power design consisting of Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs, high-quality sealed R36 ferrite core chokes, and solid electrolytic capacitors. More precisely, it has been outfitted with an 8+2+1 phase power design for the CPU, so 8 phases dedicated to the cores themselves, two for the System Agent (SA), and one phase for the integrated GPU. While that might not sound like much compared to the huge phase numbers that we have seen in the past, it is still more than sufficient for any possible scenario. Specifically, this is a new all-digital VRM design that GIGABYTE first outfitted their X79 lineup, and it allows for adjustable frequency/phase/voltage control via an International Rectifier PWM controller, all of which fall under their new 3D Power marketing lingo.
When it comes to cooling, the MOSFET heatsinks are actually pretty bulky given the fact that the VRM really doesn't output much heat under normal or heavy overclocking scenarios. As you can see here, there is no heatpipe connecting the two heatsinks, but again that is not really an issue in this case.
The four DDR3 memory slots are fed by a standard 2-phase power design, and support overclocked memory frequencies up to DDR3-2800. While this might seem like pie in the sky, given how insanely capable Ivy Bridge processors are at handling memory frequencies this is actually an easily attainable speed with the right memory kit.
The 24-pin ATX power connector is in its usual spot, and the onboard power button that GIGABYTE puts on many of their motherboards has moved up to the far-right corner of the motherboard. The onboard reset button and clear CMOS buttons are there too, and it's slightly problematic since you can accidentally hit the wrong button since they are so close together. One of the unexpected standout features of this model is definitely the seven voltage measurement points, which are obviously indispensable for any overclocker.
To the left of the aforementioned 24-pin ATX power connector is the internal front-panel USB 3.0 header, which can be used to supply up to two USB 3.0 ports to the front-panel of any compatible case, and is supplied by the Z77 chipset itself instead of a third-party controller.
Another surprise is the OC-PEG, a SATA power connector that can be used in order to ensure that the PCI-E slots get all the power that they require for particularly power hungry CrossFire or SLI configurations.
Here we get a good look at the adequately-sized chipset heatsink, which is held down by two metal screws. It is a little boring looking, but it does blend in nicely with the rest of the motherboard's matte black aesthetics. Cooling-wise there are no issues since the TDP of Z77 Express chipset is only 5.9W or 6.7W with the IGP enabled.
Pictured above is the Marvell 88SE9172 PCI-E controller that supplies the two grey SATA 6Gb/s ports, which are RAID 0/1 capable, and the two eSATA 6Gb/s ports on the rear I/O panel. The two white ports support SATA 6Gb/s, while the four black are limited to SATA 3Gb/s. All those ports support RAID 0/1/5/10 courtesy of the Z77 chipset.
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