A quick look at Gigabyte's mainstream 7-series boards
- Category: Mainboard
- Published Date
vr-zone.com. We were fortunate enough to get a preview of Gigabyte's high-end 7-series chipset motherboards ahead of CeBIT, but it turned out that the company had plenty more on offer at CeBIT. As such, here's a fairly quick run-down of the new models on display at the show, as there are far too many products for us to cover them all in detail.
First up we have the Z77X-D3H, the little brother to the Z77X-UD3H, although the boards aren't as similar as you'd think at first. For starters there are no eSATA ports on the Z77X-D3H, instead these ports are now internal SATA ports which makes a lot more sense for 99 percent of users. The PWM design and the heatsinks are somewhat simpler in terms of design and there's no 2oz copper PCB here. There's no DisplayPort connector on this board either, but otherwise it's a fairly well rounded board and we have a feeling this will be one of the more popular models in terms of price vs. features for Gigabyte, as it still includes support for SLI and CrossFireX among other things.
Moving down a step we are down to the blue PCB level and we find the Z77-D3H. Although the board has a pair of x16 PCI Express slots, the second slot only has four lanes of bandwidth via the chipset. As will all of Gigabyte's new ATX boards, an mSATA slot is present for SSD caching. What's surprising here though is that instead of using a VLI USB 3.0 hub, Gigabyte has added an Etron USB 3.0 host controller for the two extra rear USB 3.0 ports, for a total of six where two are via a pin header.
Next up we have the Z77MX-D3H which is a mATX Z77 chipset based board. Here we have three x16 PCI Express slots of which the first two operate in dual x8 and the third being connected to the chipset via four lanes of bandwidth. There's really nothing out of the ordinary about this board, but it looks like a nice affordable board for a higher-end mATX gaming system as it offers SLI and CrossFireX support.
The little brother to the Z77MX-D3H is the Z77M-D3H which is a peculiar board as unlike all of Gigabyte's other Z77 motherboards, this one doesn't have a switchable slot layout and as such there's no SLI support on this board. You do get a PCI slot though and the second x16 slot offers four lanes of bandwidth via the chipset and the board does as such support CrossFireX. At the rear of the board you end up with a pair of USB 2.0 ports less and 5.1-channal audio instead of 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out for the Z77MX-D3H.
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