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Closer Look at Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI

The box with Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI mainboard looks exactly the same as the box from the previous board, but the similarities end with the design. The box itself is, in fact, a little larger and the internal packaging is different.

We only see the exterior slip-on box made of thin glossy cardboard, which covers a regular white cardboard box with the mainboard and accessories. The board is sealed inside an anti-static pouch and secured in another cardboard casing. All accessories are neatly arranged in four section beneath the board:

  • Six SATA cables with metal connector locks, half with L-shaped locks and another half with straight ones;
  • A flexible bridge for Nvidia 2-Way SLI graphics configurations;
  • W-Fi/Bluetooth kit;
    • Gigabyte GC-WB300D PCI-E Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card;
    • Two Wi-Fi antennas;
    • USB 2.0 cable;
    • Small poster with assembly instructions;
    • DVD-disk with software and drivers;
  • I/O Shield for the back panel;
  • A module with two USB 3.0 ports for the 3-inch bay of the system case;
  • User manual;
  • Brief installation guide in different languages;
  • DVD disk with software and drivers;
  •  “Gigabyte” logo sticker for the system case.

I can’t help pointing out the USB 3.0 module for the 3-inch bay of the system case. But it is the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth kit that makes Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI mainboard really stand out among other products. This kit is exactly the same as the kit that comes with Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3 mainboard. It is based on Atheros AR5B22 mini PCI Express card. It is a dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz) Wi-Fi adapter that supports IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n and is combined with a Bluetooth 4.0 adapter. Not it is clear that the two additional letters in the model name – “WB” – stand for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. By the way, if you do not need wireless technologies support, then you can purchase an exact same mainboard but without the wireless/Bluetooth kit. It is called Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H. Besides, the GA-Z77X-UD3H mainboard discussed earlier today also has a sister - GA-Z77X-UD3H-WB WIFI, which comes with a wireless kit — Gigabyte GC-WB150. Unlike the dual-band GC-WB300Dworking at up to 300 Mbps speeds, this model is a single-band solution with the maximum connection speed of 150 Mbps.

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI mainboard belongs to a higher-end category than the previously discussed model, but nevertheless, they have a lot in common. What is important to us at this point is to uncover significant differences hiding behind the similarities, just like we have seen with the seemingly identical mainboards’ packaging.

The first thing we would like to dwell upon is the twice as many phases in the processor voltage regulator circuitry: 3D Power VRM of the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI has twelve phases. The heating components are covered with two additional heatsinks and they are tied into a single cooling contour including the chipset heatsink with a heatpipe. All heatsinks are fastened with screws. It looks like the mainboard received this enhanced cooling system mostly as the indication of the board’s high-end status rather than out of actual necessity: the heatsinks get barely warm. Just like the previous mode, Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI has a mSATA slot connected with one of the four SATA 3 Gbps ports as stated by the warning sticker on the PCB. The Intel Z77 Express chipset delivers support for two SATA 6 Gbps ports (white connectors) and SATA 3 Gbps ports. Another three SATA 6 Gbps ports (gray connectors) are provided by two additional Marvell 88SE9172 controllers. The fourth port is laid out as an eSATA 6 Gbps on the back panel.

Overall, we find the following ports and connectors in the back:

  • D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort video Outs;
  • Two USB 2.0 ports, four more are available as onboard pin-connectors;
  • IEEE1394 (FireWire) port implemented with VIA VT6308P controller, a second port like that is available as an onboard pin-connector;
  • One eSATA 6 Gbps port implemented via Marvell 88SE9172 controller providing one internal SATA 6 Gbps connector, another controller like that adds two more internal pin-connectors for SATA 6 Gbps ports;
  • Four USB 3.0 ports (blue connectors) implemented via Intel Z77 Express and two VIA VL810 hubs. Three internal pin-connectors provide support for additional six USB 3.0 ports;
  • Two local network ports (network adapters are built around Atheros AR8151 and Intel 82579V Gigabit network controllers);
  • Optical S/PDIF and six analogue audio-jacks provided by eight-channel Realtek ALC898 codec.

Unlike the previous mainboard, there is no PS/2 combination port for the mouse/keyboard. The number and type of video outs remained the same, but they added an IEEE1394 (FireWire) port and a second network port. Additional USB 3.0 ports are now provided not by the VIA VL800 controller, but by two VIA VL810 hubs. Besides the four USB 3.0 ports on the back panel, these hubs also provide three internal pin-connectors that could deliver another six USB 3.0 ports. This board has the same number and type of expansion card slots as the previous one, but there are also a few differences. The third graphics card slot also works as x4, but its uses the processor PCI-E lanes and not the chipset ones. We have already seen the same configuration on MSI Z77A-GD65 mainboard before. So, the slots may actually work as 1x16, 2x8 or x8+x4+x4, though the third slot will only work with Ivy Bridge processors, which is mentioned on a sticker right next to it.

Just like the previous model, Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI is designed using Ultra Durable 4 technology principles, has Power On, Reset and Clear CMOS buttons, a POST-code indicator, special voltage control points for manual voltage monitoring and two BIOS chips. The user can switch between the chips using a two-position switch and the active chip is marked with an LED right next to it. the board can take up to five cooling fans and the components layout is just as illustrative and impeccable as that of the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H:

 

 
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