There's no denying that the Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H is a well-constructed board that should meet the needs of the budget-minded enthusiast very well. Despite sporting what has now become a rather generic color scheme, the Z77X-UD3H looks great. The blue heatsinks contrast nicely against its black PCB, the all-black DIMM slots look great (despite being a bit confusing), and the rear I/O is impressively furnished. At $170, it's priced square in the middle of the mid-range board market, compared to the $180 ASUS P8Z77-V, $180 MSI Z77A GD65, and $135 ASRock Z77 Extreme4.
We pitted the UD3 against ASUS's P8Z77-V Pro in our benchmarks, and it certainly held its own. There aren't alot of bells and whistles, but the basics are there for even seasoned enthusiasts, including CMOS clear buttons, diagnostic LEDs, and onboard power switches. Although lacking somewhat on the software side, the tools are still there to tweak through the OS, but we'd like to see the software communicate with the BIOS to append changes without requiring a reboot. This saves time, and time is, as they say, money. The UltraDurable3™ design demonstrated that it does indeed deliver a stable, low-ripple current under continuous load at 4.58GHz, which is encouraging to see. The auto-OC is extemely simple to use, and the voltages aren't overly-aggressive when compared to what you can do with a manual overclock.
There are a few drawbacks which may be very important for some. First, if you plan on a push-pull CPU fan configuration, make preparations to have to run a header to another spot on the board. If you case has 4 or more fans, you'll also want to look into a fan controller, which might take another $20-40 out of your budget. The UEFI BIOS has made strides since we last visited it, but it's still got a little ways to go, but still looks nice and is just fine for usability. The mouse and animations are still ever so slightly stuttery, and the fact that some of the fields are mouse-only can be a bit frustrating if you're navigating on the keyboard, which you might be keen to do if it's not tracking smoothly. Also, the lack of USB 3.0 boost protocols may be a big factor for those who often have large file transfers, as we saw enormous benefits to that technology on Gigabyte's X79-UD3 and the ASUS P8Z77-V Pro.
At $170, the Z77X-UD3H is priced in a pretty good value position. The number of people with motherboards priced between $150-200 is substantially larger than $200-250, so Gigabyte's offering has appeal to a wide audience. The feature set is pretty well put together for $170, and the performance is there. As long as the drawbacks in the previous paragraph don't dissuade you, you'll certainly be happy with the value you get. If you're looking for more fan headers (including two CPU header fans), USB 3.0 boost, additional 6GB/s ports for more than two SSD drives, the P8Z77-V for only a 10-spot more at $180 might be better-suited for your build.
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