As Intel Haswell family is around the corner, the motherboards producers started to reveal their new 8 series. I’ve just receive some boards and the first one on the bench is Gigabyte Z87X-D3H. It will be the successor of the GA-Z77X-D3H, by changing the socket and the CPU family. GA-Z87X-D3H is one of the cheapest boards in its family.
Intel 8 series brings new features to the table and producers innovate even more on their boards. That way we have the advantage of excellent products.
From the socket up the new motherboard series offer some improvements over the old package. Some technologies have been updated and new ones have been introduced.
Let’s see what we’ve got here…
GA-Z87X-D3H has an ATX form factor, measuring 305 x 244 mm. Both the PCB and extension slots are black, the only color area being the 3 heatsinks that combines some light grey with blue.
There are no on-board buttons, dip switches or LED displays, proving the SOHO orientation of the product.
The 15u gold plated CPU socket will deliver superior conductivity, reliability and stability even in extreme conditions. The VRM has 8 phases for the CPU and 3 for the memory. Gigabyte is using 2 passive radiators for keeping the temperature low and the CPU stable.
Beside the CPU fan header there is an additional one useful for the coolers with 2 fans.
The DDR3 memories slots work in dual-channel configuration (2 black and 2 grey) supporting up to 32GB RAM, running at 1866 MHz
On their right side there are 2 connectors for USB 3.0 extensions.
On the inferior area we can see 3 x16 PCI-E slots. They are working like this: 1x 3.0 @ x16, 1x 3.0 @ x8 and 1x 2.0 @ x4. 16 lanes coming from the CPU are shared by the 3.0 slots, while the 4 lanes from the PCH are going to the 2.0 slot. 2-way NVIDIA SLI and 3-way AMD Crossfire are supported. There are also 3x PCI-E x1 slots and 1x PCI for other extension boards.
The board ends with 2 USB 2.0 headers, 2x Sys Fan connectors, 1x audio, 1x serial port and the TPM interface.
The right side contains only the 6x SATA3 ports.
Going on the left side we see the on-board interfaces.
There are 6x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x combo PS/2, 1x VGA, 1x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x Gigabit LAN, 1x optical SPDIF out and 5x analog jacks. To support this number of USB 3.0 ports, Gigabyte has integrated 2 Renesas uPD720210 hubs.
The back of the motherboard contains only the backplate for the socket.
The VRM’s radiators are fixed with screws, so they can be changed easy.
Now let’s see the details of the technologies integrated in Z87X-D3H.
First of all is the new Ultra Durable 5 Plus, which brings motherboards with a range of high current capable components that provide the highest quality power delivery to the CPU for excellent performance, cool and product lifespan.
It is composed by 4 features:
- Ultra Cool = a new heatsink design offers efficient cooling on important areas like the PWM and chipset
- Ultra Performance = the all-digital power for the CPU and memory is delivered by PowlRstage controllers from International Recifier.
- Ultra Safe = Gigabyte DualBIOS exclusive technology protects the motherboard from failure
- Ultra USB3+ = each USB 3.0 port has a dedicated fuse, ensuring that an unexpected malfunction affects only one port
That will be all for the moment. Stay tuned for the complete review coming soon…