Summing up the results of our today’s review of Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH and Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH mainboards we should definitely once again point out their numerous advantages. The boards have very smart and balanced layout, their functionality has been enhanced with a number of additional controllers, they support all contemporary interfaces including the latest Thunderbolt. Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH is a well-balance product for every-day type of tasks, while higher-end Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH boasts large accessories bundle and supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies thanks to GC-WB300D add-on card. The distinguishing feature of Gigabyte mainboards on Intel Z77 Express chipset is the mSATA connector that allows taking advantage of such technologies as Intel Smart Response or Intel Rapid Start. Gigabyte mainboards have been long known for their remarkable attention to detail. Is it these mainboards that were the first to start using color-coding for the front panel button and indicator connectors, to start marking the slots not only on the textolite next to them, but also inside the slots and connectors themselves. Today we are definitely pleased to see convenient wide latches on the graphics card slots and helpful color-coding of the memory DIMM slots. We are particularly pleased with the quality of the new Gigabyte 3D BIOS, which offers not only the basic functionality for successful system overclocking and fine-tuning, but also Gigabyte’s unique distinguishing features, such as ability to adjust the rotation speed of the processor cooling fan even for three-pin fans and automatic saving of the latest settings profile after a successful system startup.
However, there is still some room for improvement. As of now, two Thunderbolt ports could be a little excessive. Yes, it definitely makes the boards stand out among other products supporting this interface, but these rarely used ports take up valuable space on the back panel. The processor fan connector regained its ability to adjust the rotation speed of three-pin fans, but at the same time most of the system fans no longer support this useful feature. New electronic components definitely helped lower the high power consumption typical of Gigabyte mainboards, but it looks like the new Ultra Durable 5 technology could be causing some compatibility issues, which may turn into a problem for Gigabyte down the road. The thing is that we do not investigate the configurations incompatibility in detail. We have a standard and pretty limited component pool, which we use for our testbeds. It is highly unlikely that we will be able to uncover any sort of compatibility issues, unless it is our “lucky” day. However, it is the second time that we are facing some sort of incompatibility involving Gigabyte mainboards. This time Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH and Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH mainboards didn’t like our CoolerMaster RealPower M850 power supply unit, which is working perfectly fine with other mainboard models from this maker, and a little earlier Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H mainboard refused to recognize our USB keyboard and mouse (as you may have read in our review). We hope that these issues will be addressed and resolved shortly.
By the way, besides Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH and Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH mainboards reviewed today, there is an entire list of other mainboards manufactured using “Ultra Durable 5” technology. These are Gigabyte GA-X79S-UP5 WIFI, Gigabyte GA-X79S-UP5, Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 and the recently launched flagship Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7 model. As you can see, they have a “UP” index in their model name, right after the chipset name. So, just by looking at the product names you can easily tell which ones have been manufactured using new IR3550 PowIRstage components.