Gigabyte is one of the largest makers of PC mainboards. Each popular core logic set is used not in 1-3 mainboard models, but in at least a dozen. How can we find our way among all these products? How can we find the best mainboard for our needs? The only correct way to do it is to carefully study all the technical specifications on the manufacturer web-site and then read some product and user reviews. If you are familiar with the way Gigabyte creates model names for their products, it will significantly help and simplify the initial search, as it will allow you to focus only on those mainboard models that suit your needs better. You can find some general principles used for Gigabyte model naming in Wikipedia, however, they are partially outdated and do not include the new indexes that have appeared just recently. A few years ago it was much easier to read their model names. Today things are not so obvious anymore because of great diversity of features and characteristics. However, if you try a little harder, you will be able to see certain logics in it.
We are not going to discuss all Gigabyte mainboards in this article, so let’s focus only on LGA1155 products based the newest Intel Z68 Express chipset. Let’s take, for example, the main hero of our today’s review – Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3. The first part of its model name, two letter abbreviation “GA” is used for all mainboards and indicates that it is a mainboard made by Gigabyte. Then comes the chipset name: in our case it is “Z68” and indicates Intel Z68 Express. The letter “A” after the chipset name means that there are USB 3.0 on the mainboard back panel (Z68A). If there is a letter “X” instead, it means that there are also internal pin-connectors for additional USB 3.0 ports on the PCB (Z68X). The letter “M” marks microATX mainboards (Z68MA or Z68MX). The third part of the model name sometimes starts with a “D” (Durable). These mainboards use all-solid capacitors. However, we more often see “UD” (Ultra Durable), which means that besides all-solid capacitors the mainboard is designed using double copper layering. Then comes a numeric index: the higher it is, the more features and additional onboard controllers the mainboard has (they range from UD2 to UD7 or UD9). In order to distinguish between the very first mainboard models and the new ones based on the B3 revision of Intel Z68 Express chipset with the corrected error, they started adding “B3” to the end of the mainboard model name.
Not so long ago we reviewed four Gigabyte mainboards from UD3 to UD7, but none of them had any video outs on the back panel. If you want to be able to use the graphics core built into the processor, you should go for mainboards marked with the letter “H” in the first part of the model name (UD3H). In this case you will also have all the features and functionality of the Intel Z68 Express chipset available to you, though numerous outs on the back panel will take a lot of space, so the number of other connectors and ports has to be reduced. Mainboards with a letter “P” in the second part of the model name offer a certain compromise between having the entire set of video outs and having none (Z68XP). In this case you will have only an HDMI out, while the rest of the space will be taken over by other ports and connectors.
Yes, it is a little confusing, not very obvious, and we certainly didn’t touch upon all the model name abbreviations used for Gigabyte mainboard model names. However, what we have covered above allows us to state that GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 mainboard is:
- A Gigabyte mainboard;
- Based on the B3 revision of Intel Z68 Express chipset;
- Equipped with external as well as internal USB 3.0 ports;
- A member of the Ultra Durable 3 series and is made using high-quality components and double copper layers;
- Provided with the full set of Video outs.
And now let’s take a closer look at the main hero of our today’s review – Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 mainboard.