Ready and Capable
Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD7 TH
The Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD7 TH impresses with a list that is filled to the brim with features. Amongst other features, the Intel Z87 chipset motherboard offers 4-way graphics card support and comes with wireless-AC and Bluetooth 4.0 card. But underneath all that glitter, does the motherboard have what it takes where it counts most?
The GA-Z87X-UD7 TH comes with Dual Thunderbolt 2 controller from Intel. The port is capable of single-channel transfer speeds of up to 20GB/s. This allows high data transfer speeds when using high-performance storage devices, and it also supports daisy-chaining of up 12 devices and three digital displays.
For the enthusiasts, Gigabyte has included a plethora of OC features into this motherboard. With OC Ignition, you can power up everything that is connected to the motherboard except for the CPU, for example, the fans and drives. This is especially useful for hardcore enthusiasts who use i-RAM drives to pre-test certain hardware configurations, such as water cooling. We would like to note that this feature still consumes power and is not a silent option. This, of course, also depends on your setup.
OC PCIe Switch lets you disable a connected PCIe card slot, installed with a graphics card, for example, without removing the installed card. OC-PEG, on the other hand, adds auxiliary power to the PCIe slots of the motherboard, improving system stability and is especially useful in power-intensive 4-way graphics configurations.
The most interesting peripheral that comes with the Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD7 TH is the exclusive IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi card that also supports Bluetooth 4.0. It is bundled with a 2.4GHz/5GHz dualband, 2T2R antenna. It is a novel addition, and is certainly useful in most situations. However, it will take up one PCI slot and gamers will still prefer using Gigabit LAN to connect to the network.
Another interesting feature of the motherboard is its Gigabyte On/Off Charge technology. Available on all Gigabyte 8 Series motherboards, the technology lets users charge their devices via the USB 3.0 ports up to three times faster than a standard port even when the PC is turned off. It is a feature we see as useful in certain situations, and only in certain occasions. Overall, this motherboard supports 10 USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports.
The motherboard truly shines in our benchmark test. Pushing the GA-Z87X-UD7 TH it to its limits in PCMark 8, the motherboard scored an impressive 5,215 in the Creative test. This means that not only will the motherboard handle games with stride; it is also capable of impressing creative professionals. On PCMark 7, the GA-Z87X-UD7 TH scored high with 22,535 in the Computation test.
Overall, the Gigabyte GA-Z87XUD7 TH is definitely a high-end motherboard that is skewed towards the enthusiast with more features than you can shake a stick at. For those who are looking to take full advantage of the Intel Z87 chipset and the 4th generation Core processor, this motherboard is definitely a contender.