Z68 Preview: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD7-B3

Launch SRP: S$549

More of the Same

More of the Same

As we mentioned, this Gigabyte Z68 board is practically identical to its P67 UD7 counterpart. Outwardly, it looks identical, from the hefty, eight layer PCB enhanced with Gigabyte's Ultra Durable technology (this just means more copper content in the PCB), to the matte black color scheme with gold trimmings. It's a handsome board and it comes with many features you'll associate with the high-end segment. From extra SATA 6Gbps ports to FireWire and dual Gigabit LAN ports, they are all here. There are also a generous number of USB 3.0 ports and of course, support for 2-way/3-way SLI and CrossFireX due to the NF200 controller.

In short, we are repeating what we had said in our Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7 review, including Gigabyte's Hybrid EFI BIOS, which looks exactly like an old-school non-EFI BIOS, but nevertheless supports the 3TB disks that users are concerned about. Further discussion with Gigabyte revealed that they'll have a brand new update to its BIOS real soon to satisfy those who've been waiting for a more modern BIOS interface. More on that when it's officially announced.

We'll also let you know how this board performed once the NDA is lifted, but for now, take a look at this board and see if you can spot the differences between this and the P67 UD7. We sure didn't manage to find any.

Eight SATA ports should be enough for most users. The four on the left here are SATA 3Gbps ports from the Intel Z68 Express chipset, while the ones in white are SATA 6Gbps versions. The two gray ones are from the Marvell 88SE9128 chip and support SATA 6Gbps speeds.

Gigabyte has gone all dark and moody for this generation of motherboards and all the DIMM slots are black to go with the theme. They support up to 2133MHz DDR3 memory modules, for a total of 32GB.

Around the larger power button, there's a black Clear CMOS switch and a small blue button to reset the system.

The headers for the front panel are labeled and color-coded to help users. There's also a debugging LED. Again, this configuration is identical to what we saw on Gigabyte's P67 UD7 board.

While the NF200 controller allows for a x8 configuration on each of the four graphics cards it can support simultaneously, there is only space physically for three such graphics cards, given the dual-slot nature of just about every decent graphics cards worth owning.

The two USB 3.0 controllers from Renesas (NEC) and the VIA USB hubs combine to enable up to 10 USB 3.0 ports (6 at the rear and 4 through headers).

Two Realtek RTL8111 Gigabit LAN controllers should satisfy the most demanding user.

Gigabyte is not shy to tout the capable and stable 24-phase power delivery system on its high-end board.

The Good
Supports 3-way CrossFireX and SLI without compromises
Solid build, 8-layer PCB
The Bad
Lacks the crucial features of the Z68 chipset

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