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Thursday, October 20, 2011
Gigabyte Z68X-UD3P-B3 review

2. A closer look

The Gigabyte Z68X-UD3P-B3 can be purchased online for about € 153~170. It's price is very close to what you 'll have to pay for a P67 solution.

The packaging of the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3P-B3 is covered with various logotypes. A picture of the mainboard and a brief description of its features can be found on the back of the box:

The mainboard is shipped with the following accessories. For sure we would expect something more from Gigabyte:

- 3x manuals
- 2 x SATA 6.0Gb/s cables
- 1 x shield for the back panel
- 1x CrossFire/SLI adapter
- 1x DVD with software and drivers
- "Dolby Home Theater" and "Gigabyte" logo stickers for the system case

Gigabyte has retained its traditional black-and-white color scheme for this model . Although it looks cool, we would prefer to see a different color for the memory slots that belong to the same memory channel for easier installation.

The main parts and components of the motherboard can be easily identified in the following scheme:

The mainboard features a CPU voltage regulator that incorporates 12 power phases. The number of active phases can be dynamically changed depending on CPU load. The CPU voltage regulator features a couple of MOSFETs and a driver are all packed into a single Driver MOSFET chip. The components of the regulator are cooled with two aluminum heatsinks.

As you see in the picture below, the heatsinks are not interfering with the CPU area allowing for easy installation of large CPU coolers:

Four memory slots are can accept up to 32GB of DDR3 memory, clocked at 2133MHz (XMP profiles supported).

The backplate panel of I/Os includes:

  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 1 x IEEE 1394 port
  • 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 1 x RJ-45 port
  • 6 x audio jacks

The motherboard also supports:

  1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
  2. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
  3. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
  4. 2 x PCI slots

The mainboard is equipped with two graphics slots and supports CrossFireX and SLI technologies. A single graphics card will operate in full-speed PCI Express 2.0 x16 mode. When two graphics cards are in use, each will have half the 16 PCIe lanes.

The PCI slot area is free to easily accommodate SLI or Crossfire setups:

On the left part of the mainboard there are two SATA 6 Gbps (white) and four SATA 3 Gbps (black) ports. These are handled by Intel's Z68 chipset . An onboard Marvell 88SE9172 controller adds two more SATA 3 Gbps ports (gray):

Many additional internal I/O ports are also available:

  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 2 x system fan headers
  • 1 x power fan header
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  • 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
  • 1 x IEEE 1394a header
  • 1 x serial port header
  • 1 x clearing CMOS jumper
  • 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header

The Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3P-B3 mainboard is designed cleverly and is very easy to use and the component layout makes installation of the cards, memory and CPU easy. On the weak side, we would like to see an eSATA port.

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