It's not a stretch to say that Haswell hasn't exactly been a huge hit amongst the enthusiast desktop crowd. While a solid offering in and of itself, it only offers a mild performance bump, overclocking capabilities that are merely equal to - if not worse - than Ivy Bridge, and higher operating temperatures when overvolted. Having said that, if you're building a system from scratch, and you have settled on this new LGA1150 platform, you're going to need to look for a new motherboard and the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD5H is a great place to start.
With a Z87 lineup that is 15 models deep, the $220 Z87X-UD5H is not obviously not the flagship part - that spot is occupied by the Sniper and OC models - but it does represent the upper-end of GIGABYTE's mainstream offerings. It features an all-digital 3D 16-phase power design, six USB 3.0 ports, two internal USB 3.0 headers, ten SATA 6Gb/s ports, three PCI-E x16 slots (x16/x8/x4), 2-way SLI and 2-way CrossFireX, two gigabit LAN ports, 8-channel HD audio codec, a dual-mode UEFI BIOS with two physical BIOS chips, and a revamped software package. The neat additions are the distinctive red onboard power button, voltage measurement points, POST code display, onboard BIOS switcher, ON/OFF Charge USB feature, Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header, and full complement of DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort outputs. However, this model doesn't have any of the niche distinguishing features that you might expect like Bluetooth, WiFi, Thunderbolt, or a mini PCI-E slot. Having said that, with the exception of a mini PCI-E slot on the ASRock Fatal1ty Z87 Professional, we really haven't seen any of these features on other Z87 motherboards in this price range.
Moving away from hardware for a bit, GIGABYTE have made some fairly sizeable changes in a few key areas. For starters, they have added an aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly Dashboard Mode to their UEFI BIOS. It's not as stripped down as the 3D Mode that it replaces but it takes better advantage of high resolution displays, and it has a good deal of user customizations. They have also completely revamped their software suite, most drastically the EasyTune system management utility that allows users to tweak and monitor system clock speeds, voltages, temperatures, fan rotation, as well as enable automatic overclocking features. As you'll see in the coming pages, it's a really comprehensive, effective, and well-designed application.