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After the gaming boards, we're moving slightly further down Gigabyte's new range of 7-series motherboards to the GA-Z77X-UD3H and GA-Z77X-UD5H. The Z77X-UD5H will for the time being at least be Gigabyte's high-end non-gaming specific model and the Z77X-UD3H is a slightly more wallet friendly version.

After the gaming boards, we're moving slightly further down Gigabyte's new range of 7-series motherboards to the GA-Z77X-UD3H and GA-Z77X-UD5H. The Z77X-UD5H will for the time being at least be Gigabyte's high-end non-gaming specific model and the Z77X-UD3H is a slightly more wallet friendly version.

We'll start with the Z77X-UD5H and then go over the difference between it and the Z77X-UD3H. The Z77X-UD5H is pretty much a straight competitor to ASRock's leaked Z77 Extreme6, although we'd go as far as to say that it's at least on paper the slightly better board when it comes to features. As you'd expect we're looking at two x16 PCI Express 3.0 slots sharing 16 lanes of bandwidth between them for some SLI or CrossFire action, with the third x16 slot being connected to the chipset via a x4 PCI Express 2.0 interface. There are also three x1 PCI Express 2.0 slots and a PCI slot on the board.

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Moving on we have the standard four Intel SATA 3Gbps and  two SATA 6Gbps ports, although an additional three SATA 6Gbps ports are available on the board via a pair of Marvell chips. Gigabyte has also added an mSATA connector and again this shares its connection to the Intel chipset with one of the SATA 3Gbps ports. There are headers for four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port and rather unusually six USB 3.0 ports, but as with the G1.Killer 3, the Z77X-UD5H relies on VLI USB 3.0 hubs for at least some of those ports.

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We're also looking at additional overclocking features on the Z77X-UD5H like a SATA style power connector that delivers extra power to the PCI Express slots and Voltage measuring points. You also get a POST80 debug LED and power, reset and clear CMOS buttons towards the top of the board and a BIOS switch next to the ninth SATA port. A much wanted return is the inclusion of a pair of Ethernet ports, this time courtesy of one Intel controller and one Atheros controller.

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The rear I/O looks a bit different on this board with two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, a FireWire port, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, an eSATA port, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF and DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and D-sub connectors. Gigabyte apparently decided that the PS/2 port is no longer needed and it's likely not used by a lot of people these days, although we're fairly certain some users will be complaining about this.

z77x ud3h 1 Gigabytes GA Z77X UD3H and GA Z77X UD5H hands on pictures

This takes us to the Z77X-UD3H which is as we mentioned the more affordable option of the two. As such we're looking at a simplified PWM design where the CPU still retains a digital controller, but the memory and chipset uses more conventional analogue controllers. The heatinks have also been simplified and the heatpipe is of course gone. The slot layout remains the same though, but the additional SATA ports are all gone. At least Gigabyte kept the POST80 debut LED, Voltage readout points and all the buttons and switches from the Z77X-UD5H.

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Other changes include dropping FireWire – a small loss for most – dropping the Intel Ethernet port and swapping the Realtek audio chip for one from VIA. There's only one internal USB 3.0 header as well, although the board did gain a third header for a total of six USB 2.0 ports. The rear I/P also looks quite different with six USB 3.0 ports, a PS/2 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out and the same set of display connectivity options. The board is in fact using a different PCB, so it's not as if Gigabyte has just removed a few components to make a cheaper SKU and the Z77X-UD3H should still be more than good enough for most users.

We've got more to come, but you'll have to check back with us later for that. We'll take a look at one of Gigabyte's affordable B75 boards, some of the new features from Gigabyte for the 7-series as well as take a quick look at the new UEFI interface.