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March 6, 2013

Trio of GIGABYTE Z87 Motherboards Detailed

The Z87X-OC may be reserved for people who seldom patronize the PC case industry; but for everyone else, GIGABYTE has three options based on Intel's Z87 Express chipset, which supports overclocking on 4th generation Core "Haswell" K-series processors (detailed here). Leading the trio is the feature-rich Z87X-UD5H, followed by the fairly well-equipped Z87X-UD3H, and trailed by the most affordable of the three, Z87X-D3H.

The Z87X-UD5H packs a massive 16-phase CPU VRM, even if it's not backed by the Z87X-OC's voltage-control/monitoring paraphernalia. The CPU is wired to three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC/NC or x8/x8/NC or x8/x4/x4), three PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and a legacy PCI. The board features a total of ten SATA 6 Gb/s internal ports, six of which are driven by the Z87 PCH, four by third-party controllers. Display connectivity includes two HDMI ports, and one each of dual-link DVI and DisplayPort. 8-channel HD audio with TOSLINK digital output, two gigabit Ethernet interfaces, eight USB 3.0 ports (six rear, two by header), make for the rest of it.

The Z87X-UD3H goes a little easy on the features. It uses a simpler 8-phase VRM to power the CPU, retains the expansion slot layout of the Z87X-UD5H, gives you a still impressive eight SATA 6 Gb/s internal ports, swaps out the second gigabit Ethernet connection for a pair of eSATA ports, and the second HDMI port for a D-Sub (VGA). 

The most affordable among the three is the Z87X-D3H. It features a similar 8-phase VRM to the Z87X-UD3H, an identical expansion slot layout to the other two, while cuts back a little on SATA and USB 3.0 connectivity. It features just the six SATA 6 Gb/s internal ports, all of which are wired to the Z87 PCH; and features "just" six USB 3.0 ports (four rear, two by header).