GIGABYTE Z87X-UD4H Motherboard Review

Author: MAC
Date: November 17, 2013
Product Name: Z87X-UD4H
Part Number: Z87X-UD4H
Warranty: 3 Years
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Gigabyte's Z87X-UD4H is an excellent all-round motherboard which has a long list of strong features and a relatively palatable price. Granted, there are other less expensive options but for an optimal combination of cost, enthusiast-friendly additions and expansion capabilities, this is one of the better products currently available.

The overall layout of the UD4H is great but you are going to have to pay special attention to the clearance levels between the CPU cooler and memory modules. As we demonstrated in the 'Hardware Installation' section, depending on the size of your heatsink, the orientation in which it is installed, and which side of the heatsink the fan(s) is located, you can potentially run into clearance issues with memory modules with tall heatspreaders...which is seemingly most of them nowadays. It should be mentioned that this isn't an issue that is isolated to this model and we encounter it consistently due to our particularly bulky heatsink / RAM combo.

Usability-wise, the onboard backlit power button is a nice touch for those users whose systems aren't confined within a traditional case. The voltage measurement points are a great help 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 and a lifesaver when something unexpected happens. The well-rounded assortment of VGA, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort ports guarantee that you will be able to output a video signal to any device. When it comes to connectivity this model has up to ten USB 3.0 ports and eight SATA III ports, so your storage or peripherals needs are well cared for.

Unlike the Z87X-UD5H, which has unique gold accents to its otherwise all-black aesthetic, the Z87X-UD4H features a more conventional black and red colour scheme. This will obviously make it much easier to colour coordinate the motherboard to your other system parts, if that's your thing. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

The stock performance of the Z87X-UD4H matched that of its higher-end sibling, which is to say that it was slightly slower than the ASUS Z87 Deluxe in single-threaded workloads, but slightly faster in multi-threaded benchmarks. We were once again able to achieve some sizeable performance increases by overclocking our i7-4770K to 4.8Ghz, which this motherboard handled with flawlessly. Overclocking on it happened without a hitch and we didn't experience any flakiness or random reboots. System recovery meanwhile worked perfectly when we pushed things too far, and the UEFI BIOS had all the overclocking settings we needed and then some.

We once again have some concerns about the auto-overclocking Auto Tuning feature in the overhauled EasyTune utility 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 far too high given all the enthusiast concerns about Haswell overvoltage degradation. Furthermore, and perhaps mostly importantly, there's no way to air cool a chip with that much juice going through it. The thermal output is off the charts under load and it will overwhelm most cooling solutions. Therefore, for now, stay away from Auto-Tuning, and just use the very good Smart QuickBoost Extreme preset. This feature overclocked our chip to 4.5GHz in the time it took to do one reboot, and it set reasonable voltage levels. Obviously, if you can, we recommend just taking the overclocking efforts into your own hands, and in that scenario, this motherboard definitely won't let you down.

In conclusion, we are quite fond of GIGABYTE's Z87X-UD4H. It offers strong performance, expansive storage connectivity options, good power consumption numbers, a worthwhile new BIOS mode, a nice mix of manual and automatic overclocking capabilities, and at $185 it also offers pretty good Bang for the Buck. Therefore, if you are in the market for a Z87 motherboard, the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD4H should definitely be on your shortlist.


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