I have to say that or overall impression from Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H and GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI mainboards is highly positive. In fact, we didn’t have any serious problems with these boards during our test session. The only disappointment was their high power consumption, especially of the top model. Both these mainboards have convenient layout, rich functionality, good overclocking potential and a variety of proprietary technologies and features such as 3D Power, 3D BIOS, Ultra Durable 4. Their distinguishing feature is the mSATA connector that will let you take advantage of such technologies as Intel Smart Response or Intel Rapid Start. The presence of two BIOS chips now has huge practical value, because the convenient onboard switch allows you to work with either of them independently. We were very pleased with such nice extras as Power On, Reset and Clear CMOS buttons, POST-code indicator and special voltage control points. Numerous improvements in the new version of Gigabyte 3D BIOS make fine-tuning and overclocking even easier and faster, all the small issues we pointed out previously have been successfully fixed.
Long time ago Gigabyte mainboards with a “3” in their model name were extremely simple and had very limited functionality for the demanding enthusiasts. Today’s Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H is a fully-fledged mainboard, which functionality has been additionally expanded with a number of onboard controllers. Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI is even more feature-rich: on top of the features of the junior model it has IEEE1394 (FireWire) support, a second network card and has more SATA 6 Gbps ports. Moreover, it comes with a discrete GC-WB300D PCI-E card offering wireless Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi supporting IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n standards at up to 300 Mbps speed. If for whatever reason neither of these mainboards suits your needs, then you will undoubtedly find one among the other 14 models on Intel Z77 Express chipset that Gigabyte offers at this time.
If we look in retrospect at our opinion about mainboards in general, and Gigabyte mainboards in particular, we will notice certain changes. Let’s not go too far back and start with a time 2-3 years ago, when LGA 1366 and LGA 1156 started taking over the market. It was a definite uprise – golden days of Gigabyte’s growing popularity in the mainboard segment. And it wasn’t because they were dramatically different from competition. Overall they offered almost the same features and functionality as all other makers, but they boasted one almost invisible and undetectable, but at the same time indisputable advantage over everyone else: they were problem-free. Ideal mainboards do not exist, but unlike other products Gigabyte boards always worked and didn’t create any problems for users along the way. Need to work in the nominal mode? – No problem! Need to overclock your processor? – Easy! Of course, we enjoyed testing Gigabyte boards. It is interesting that at about the same time some rumors started circulating about Asus closing their mainboard business. There were still a lot of Asus mainboards coming out then, but they didn’t roll out anything unique.
However, when the LGA 1155 platform came around things changed. While other manufacturers tried to implement new unique features, for example, the same UEFI BIOS, Gigabyte seemed to continue offering us nothing principally new. It looked like Asus and Gigabyte mainboards had swapped places. AsusTek kept launching one unique product after another, while Gigabyte continued with good, but unremarkable models. The launch of LGA 2011 platform changed the game plan again. Gigabyte introduced new 3D Power technology that reminded us of the digital “DIGI+” from Asus, the boards had finally acquired UEFI BIOS called Gigabyte 3D BIOS. However, one lost year didn’t go unnoticed. Other manufacturers were at the polishing off stage, but Gigabyte just started uncovering first issues with their boards that needed to be fixed. Among them incorrectly working dynamic adjustment of the number of active phases in the processor voltage regulator circuitry, problems in Gigabyte’s 3D BIOS, inability to let the users work with each of the two onboard BIOS chips independently.
The launch of Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors and new 7th chipset series gave LGA 1155 another boost and again changed the situation in the mainboard market. Asus mainboards are still on top of the world, ASRock mainboards have become significantly better, but Gigabyte mainboards also started changing for the better. Now we see that the new Gigabyte 3D BIOS version is completely free of all previous issues, we have no complaints about the DualBIOS technology and two chips have become truly independent. There is still room for improvement with their 3D Power technology and power supply, because Gigabyte boards consume considerably more power than their competitors. But there is a very good chance that thing will be fixed very soon, especially since the new LGA 1155 mainboards from Gigabyte already use Ultra Durable 5 technology, which should bring dramatic changes specifically to the voltage regulator and power aspect. So, Gigabyte mainboards are not ideal yet, but it definitely looks like the one and a half years of slow motion are over. The company is on the right track, the improvements are obvious and undeniable and we look forward to the day when Gigabyte mainboards take their well deserved winning place.