The more advanced a Gigabyte mainboard is, the bigger its packaging. The GA-Z68X-UD7-B3 is even packaged in a different way. Instead of a simple antistatic pack, it is fixed in a rigid plastic case. You can flip back the face panel of the box to have a look at the mainboard through a window. The box has got a carry handle while its color scheme now includes pompous golden hues.
The accessories have become more numerous, too. Compared to the previous model's, the manufacturer has added a connecting bridge for 3-way SLI configurations and a set of brackets and cables for external SATA devices.
So, the full list of accessories looks as follows:
- Four SATA cables with metal connector locks, two with L-shaped locks and another two with straight ones;
- A flexible bridge for two-way SLI graphics configurations;
- A hard bridge for three-way SLI graphics configurations;
- A set of brackets and cables for external Serial ATA devices;
- Additional bracket for the system case 3-inch bay with two USB 3.0 ports;
- I/O Shield for the back panel;
- User manual;
- A booklet with brief assembly instructions in 18 languages;
- A leaflet warning the users that the board is incompatible with LGA1156 processors;
- DVD disk with software and drivers;
- “Dolby Home Theater” and “Gigabyte” logo stickers for the system case.
The PCB design is original and does not repeat any of the above-discussed products. Despite the numerous additional components, the layout is user-friendly.
The CPU voltage regulator has 24 power phases now. The four SATA 3 Gbps and two SATA 6 Gbps ports provided by the chipset are complemented with two more SATA 6 Gbps ports courtesy of a Marvell 88SE9128 chip. The cooling system is the same as installed on the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3: four heatsinks with screw-based fastening are combined into a single whole with heat pipes. The central heatsink has to cope with higher load now as it is responsible for cooling the exceedingly hot Nvidia NF200 chip.
The number of graphics slots is increased to four. Thanks to the Nvidia NF200 controller, two graphics cards can now work in full-speed PCI Express 2.0 x16 mode simultaneously. It is only when you install a third and a fourth graphics card that the speed mode will be lowered to PCI Express 2.0 x8. The functions of the Diagnostic LEDs are now performed by a full-featured POST code indicator. There are two new LEDs reporting overvoltage for memory modules. The rest of the differences can be found at the back panel. Compared to the previous model, there is an extra LAN connector and some more USB 3.0 ports.
Here is a full list of the mainboard’s back-panel connectors:
- PS/2 connector for keyboard or mouse;
- Optical and coaxial S/PDIF together with six analogue audio-jacks provided by eight-channel Realtek ALC889 codec;
- Eight USB 2.0 ports including two eSATA/USB Combo, four more are laid out as three onboard pin-connectors;
- Two USB 3.0 ports (blue connectors) implemented via Renesas (NEC) D720200F1 controller and VLI VL810 hub; a second combination of controllers provides two additional internal pin-connectors for four more USB 3.0 ports;
- Two eSATA/USB Combo 6 Gbps ports implemented via Marvell 88SE9128 controller;
- Two IEEE1394 (FireWire) ports implemented via T.I. TSB43AB23 controller;
- A local network port (network adapter is built around Gigabit Realtek RTL8111E controller).
The Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD7-B3 is obviously meant for those users who plan to run no fewer than two graphics cards simultaneously. On the downside are the same inconvenient Reset and Clear CMOS buttons.