Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3 review
Author: Vedran Dakic
Date: 12 May 2011
Thanks to our long-term partner Gigabyte, today we're able to show you what these new Intel chipsets are all about - Z68-UD3H-B3 is a very good example. From what we could gather so far, Gigabyte actually has 11 new motherboards with this chipset, so, you can consider this as a first in a series of articles and one among many products on Gigabyte's line of products. Hope to see some more of them, but while we wait, let's see this one...
Fresh after the whole host of problems with SATA interface, chipset fixing and a lot of logistic-related things that Intel's partners had to do after that whole mess, the Z68 Express chipset is ready and looks rather promising from the outset. This new Socket 1155-based motherboard is even more feature packed then older UD3 boards, which is something we really like. In general, Gigabyte's products have always been among our top motherboard choices, especially when the bundle is taken into account. This mobo is no exception in its retail form. You'll find a whole host of cables, manuals, power adapters and whatnots so - you won't be missing anything.
Chipset-wise, Z68 looks like P and H67-series on steroids - it still retains Socket 1155 from the P-series, while incorporating H-series onboard graphics solution for second gen of Intel's Sandy Bridge CPU's. Where Z68 fundamentally differs from its older brothers is the support for some newer technologies, like Smart Response Technology, Lucid Virtu support (not present on all motherboards), and a couple of other things here and there that we're yet to discuss. This motherboard has USB 3.0 support, On/Off charge support (if you want to charge your USB-based smartphone even if your computer is off, and with enough power to charge the iPad, for example), SATA 3.0, and new Touch BIOS. Also, you can do SLI and CrossFireX on this motherboard, of course. We'll be testing Smart Response Technology and Virtu in a couple of days, so bare with us on those two. Very interesting technologies indeed.
Gigabyte has been a strong supporter of the "get our CD, put it in your optical drive and install all of the necessary drivers from one interface" philosophy, which we've come to appericiate in the past couple of years. It just makes things easier. You can also do overclocking with the built-in EasyTune software, which makes OC a piece of cake if you're doing basic stuff. You can also use QuickBoost in ET, which just pre-overclocks your system and - from what we could tell - still works great. We've had a number of encounters with this tool in the past and used it extensively so - it's nice to see that it's matured enough to be our standard tool.