First and foremost, the UD5H is a pretty sleek looking motherboard. Although it would have been easy to mess up, Gigabyte have pulled off the the black-on-black with gold accents design. The one downside of this unique colour scheme is that it's going to be pretty hard to colour match components. This might not a big deal to most people, but looks do matter to some.
Another aesthetic standout is obviously the red onboard power button, which always a somewhat unique addition, though once inside a case, it becomes unnecessary. 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 DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort ports guarantee that you will be able to output a video signal to just about any type of display imaginable. When it comes to connectivity this model has ten USB 3.0 ports and ten SATA III ports, so it certainly is not lacking in that area. Having said that, we would have liked to see an mSATA slot or maybe integrated WiFi given this models $220 price tag. Having said that, comparable models from other manufacturers lack those features as well.
The stock performance of the Z87X-UD5H was solid, slightly slower than the ASUS Z87 Deluxe in single-threaded workloads, but slightly faster in multi-threaded benchmarks. We were able to achieve some sizeable performance gains over stock by overclocking our i7-4770K to 4.8Ghz, which this motherboard handled with aplomb. It was a joy to overclock with. We did not experience any weird issues or random reboots, there was perfect system recovery when we did push things too far, and a great BIOS with all the overclocking settings we needed.
Speaking of which, although we had heard of minor BIOS issues with this model, we didn't experience any, maybe due to the fact that we used the very latest version available. BIOS-wise we like the fact that Gigabyte have replaced the simplistic 3D Mode with the far more functional Dashboard Mode. 3D Mode might have been an okay first entry in the mouse-friendly UEFI world, but it simply didnít have enough functionality. With Dashboard Mode, not only do you have access to far more settings but itís also fairly customizable too. You can tell that optimizing this mode for mouse cursors wasnít really a priority, so mouse support isnít the best, and you will navigate the interface much faster with your good old arrow keys.
We have some misgivings about the auto-overclocking Auto Tuning feature in the revamped version of EasyTune though. While it does a very good of overclocking the processor, it is far too aggressive when it comes to core voltage. In our case, the vCore was set to 1.542V which is way too high given all the chatter about Haswell-related death and degradation. Even without those issues, it's unacceptable simply because of thermal considerations; there's no way to air cool a chip with that much juice going through it.
Auto Tuning has other issues as well. During more than one instance, we saw its slowly inch its way up to 5.6Ghz even though CPU-Z indicated the clock speed wasn't actually increasing. Basically, this version of Auto Tuning is step backwards when compared to the one included on Z77 motherboards. We have faith that GIGABYTE will be able to rectify these issues shortly, especially since the old EasyTune was functional as well a sleek, comprehensive, user-friendly, and well designed application.
Overall then, we like this motherboard a lot. It offers competitive performance, great USB and SATA connectivity, good power consumption numbers, an interesting new BIOS mode, a nice mix of manual and automatic overclocking features, and a price tag that's competitive with other models in this upper mainstream category. If you're building a new Haswell system, definitely give the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD5H some consideration, though watch out for heatsink incompatibility.
- Solid performance.
- Clean black-on-black design.
- Very convenient layout.
- Comprehensive SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 connectivity.
- Front panel USB 3.0 bracket.
- DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort outputs.
- 2-Way CrossFire & 2-Way SLI capability.
- Voltage measurement points.
- Excellent manual overclocking capabilities.
- 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.
- Large CPU coolers used in conjunction with tall memory modules will cause installation issues.
- Auto Tuning feature still needs a little work.
- No VGA output (...might be an issue for some).
Our thanks to Gigabyte for making this review possible!
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