We started our series of reviews of LGA1150 mainboards with the entry-level Z87-K model from ASUS but, despite the excitement each new CPU platform provokes, our opinion was far from optimistic. The Intel Z87 chipset doesn't differ much from its predecessor, only brining support for more USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbit/s ports (six of each kind, to be exact), yet even this minor improvement is spoiled by the recently discovered incompatibility issue with USB 3.0 peripherals. The new LGA1150 processors have become more economical than their LGA1155 counterparts in idle mode, support the new AVX2 instruction set (which can ensure some tangible performance benefits in AVX2-optimized applications), and feature a faster integrated graphics core. However, they consume more power at high loads and have lower overclocking potential than their predecessors.
We were not so critical in our opinion about the ASUS Z87-K mainboard itself, though. Lacking any extra controllers and not even using all of the Z87's capabilities, it is a simple and inexpensive product with basic functionality. In our review we noted a number of flaws in its new BIOS, like the error that makes the CPU work at a lower than required frequency at high loads, but we hope such problems will be eliminated with BIOS updates.
Still, if we want to give an objective evaluation of the new CPU platform, we must check out different mainboards. That’s why today we are going to take a look at the GA-Z87X-D3H model from Gigabyte. Its name suggests that it’s an entry-level product as well, yet it is not as limited in its capabilities as the ASUS Z87-K. It is not the junior model in its series and its functionality is enhanced with additional controllers. We will take a closer look at the mainboard, check out the new interface and functionality of Gigabyte’s UEFI DualBIOS, benchmark the mainboard at its default settings and in overclocked mode, and measure its power consumption.
Packaging and Accessories
The Gigabyte GA-Z87X-D3H comes in a standard-sized box. We can see the model’s name and a few logotypes on its front. On the back, there is a picture of the mainboard with descriptions of its key features, and brief specifications.
You receive just a basic set of accessories with this mainboard, without any extras:
- Four SATA cables with metal connector locks, half with two L-shaped locks and another half with one straight and another L-shaped lock. Tow cables are specifically designed for 6 Gbps devices;
- I/O Shield for the back panel;
- Fluexible bridge for Nvidia SLI graphics configurations;
- User manual;
- Brief installation guide in different languages;
- DVD disk with software and drivers;
- “Gigabyte” logo sticker for the system case.