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Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK Black Edition Motherboard Review

Since the introduction of the LGA 1155 Sandy Bridge processors, Intel has steadily been relocating many of a system’s features onto the CPU itself, and away from the motherboard or chipset.

Haswell is just the latest architecture to see many of the critical system operations handled by the processor. As such, benchmarking a motherboard becomes more of a test to certify that the part operates correctly and meets the anticipated performance levels.

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We will be outlining the Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK Black Edition motherboard’s performance with the Core i7 4770K CPU at its stock frequency (3.9GHz due to forced turbo). Overclocked performance will be outlined later in the review.

Performance of the Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK motherboard will be compared to that of two other Z97 parts. All motherboards are partnered with identical hardware and software, so the results are directly comparable.

stock

By default, the Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK motherboard applies multi-core turbo (MCT) and forces the 4770K to a constant 3.9GHz when XMP is enabled. This will be displayed as the ‘stock’ setting in the charts.

CPU-Z reports a core voltage of 1.20V for the 3.9GHz 4770K setting. This is a fairly common VID to use for Z87- and Z97-based motherboards with a 4770K CPU.

Note: Shortly before this review went to publication, we worked with engineers for one of the motherboard vendors and discovered that the latest version of CPU-Z currently has issues reading real-time voltages with the Intel processor’s default power saving modes enabled. As such, we would recommend using the motherboard’s specific software. We will update our testing and monitoring procedures accordingly in future reviews.

Plextor

Support for the PCIe-based M.2 storage interface is one of the key features for the Z97 chipset. We use Plextor’s ultra-fast M6e 256GB M.2 SSD to test the speed of a motherboard’s M.2 connector. We reviewed the 512GB Plextor M6e (and its PCIe x2 adapter card) HERE.

Z97 Motherboard Test System:

Compared Z97 Motherboards:

  • Asus Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1.
  • MSI Z97 Gaming 5.

Software:

  • Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK Black Edition BIOS F1.
  • Catalyst 14.4 VGA drivers.
  • Intel 10.0 chipset drivers.

Tests:

  • 3DMark 1.1.0 – Fire Strike (System)
  • SiSoft Sandra 2014 SP2 – Processor arithmetic, memory bandwidth (System)
  • Cinebench R15 – All-core CPU benchmark (CPU)
  • WinRAR 5.01 – Built-in benchmark (CPU)
  • HandBrake 0.9.9 – Convert 4.36GB 720P MKV to MP4 (CPU)
  • ATTO – SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0, M.2 transfer rates (Motherboard)
  • RightMark Audio Analyzer – General audio performance test (Motherboard)
  • Bioshock Infinite – 1920 x 1080, ultra quality (Gaming)
  • Metro: Last Light – 1920 x 1080, high quality (Gaming)
  • Tomb Raider – 1920 x 1080, ultimate quality (Gaming)

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