Gigabyte has released their Z68 lineup, and today I am going to look at the UD3H - a $170 Z68 board aimed at the mainstream consumer market. The Z68 based motherboards are very similar to the P67 equivalent but they have had a few extra features added. They include Virtu and SSD caching as well as allowing you to take advantage of the GPU built into your Sandy Bridge processor. Is it worth switching from P67 to Z68 for a few extra features? Well, after what I have seen, no, not really.

Visual Inspection

Just like most of Gigabyte's latest range, they have gone with the black and gray theme for this motherboard. In my eyes, it looks very classy and professional.

Gigabyte engineers have used their heads when it comes to the PCIe layout. There’s plenty of room for dual GPU configurations and there’s even a slot for breathing space when utilizing dual slot GPUs. From top to bottom, we have a PCIe 1x, 16x, 1x, 1x, another 16x and two PCI slots. When two GPUs are used, the PCIe 16x lanes run at 8x/8x.

As the PCH heatsink is small and passive, so if dual GPUs are utilized, there may be a heat conductance issue on to the heatsink if there is a lack of airflow. Some aftermarket graphics card coolers vent hot air into the case which will also cause the PCH to warm up if the chassis isn’t vented properly. In fact, when the board was put through its paces on the test bed, the PCH heatsink got very warm to the touch if there was no fan pointed at it.

There is a regular looking I/O panel. The picture above details the selection of connectivity options at the back of this motherboard. A PS/2 port which can be used for either a keyboard or a mouse but not both at the same time. There are a total of four USB 2 and two USB 3 ports, an eSATA 3Gb/s port as well as a FireWire port. The display ports include DVI, VGA, HDMI and a display port. The HDMI and DisplayPort connections carry audio. The single Ethernet port is controlled by the Realtek RTL8111E chip. You can use either the SPDIF or the typical audio connections for your sound.

With regards to the SATA connections, we have three (internal) SATA 3Gb/s connections and four SATA 6Gb/s ports. There is an eSATA port on the I/O of the motherboard which takes the total of SATA 3Gb/s ports to four. Two of the four SATA 6Gb/s ports are controlled by a separate controller – a Marvell 88SE917. These are colored gray and have support for RAID 0 and 1. The rest of the SATA ports are controlled by the Intel Z68 chipset and allow for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. You are able to create a RAID array across the SATA 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s ports although the performance may vary (according to Gigabyte).

After comparing to other motherboards, the SATA layout is a tad odd. On most motherboards, you would typically find a row of SATA connectors that are adjacent to each other and then color-coded accordingly. Even though it is only one port which points out of the board and the rest stick out of the side, it looks odd and it doesn’t make sense why this has been done.

A total of four fan headers can be used on this motherboard. There is one for the CPU cooler and three for chassis fans. The CPU fan header is not located in a familiar position as you’d find with other motherboards - it’s in the center board just above the PCIe 1x slot. The two system fans are on opposite sides of the board - one is located just above the VRM heat sink and the other is located just below the PCH heat sink. It would have made more sense to use the header located above the VRM heat sink as the CPU header and vice versa. The PWR fan header is located just above the 24pin power which just like SYS_FAN1 does not allow for speed control.

What is included in the box?

A user’s manual and a multilingual guidebook.

  • Driver and utilities DVD
  • 2x SATA 6Gb/s cables
  • 2x SATA 3Gb/s cables
  • A SLi bridge
  • I/O shield
  • 1x Gigabyte case sticker
  • 1x DOLBY case sticker

You do not get many extras with this motherboard. In fact, it is pretty minimalist. Just like other manufacturers, Gigabyte have included the essentials to get your system up and running, and nothing more. If you want more accessories such as the 3.5” front panel with two USB 3.0/2.0 ports or a SATA bracket, you will have to buy the more expensive, higher end models.

Board Features and Software
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  • Meghan54 - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    I have checked several publications, such as the MLA and APA manuals, and both are quite consistent with giving the recommendation that corp/company names be treated as singular entities, and has been this way for decades upon decades. Even going back to the grammar texts from the early 1950's shows this.....just happen to have some around from when my Mother taught school.

    Maybe you should check out some writing guides instead of depending upon "popular" and colloquial writing in magazines.
  • Exodus220 - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    The Gregg Reference Manual, Ninth Edition, by William Sabin says that when using organizational names, treat them as either singular or plural (but not both). Ordinarily, it suggests you treat the name as singular unless you wish to emphasize the individuals who make up the organization. In that case, use the plural.

    Gregg uses these examples to make sure there’s subject-verb agreement:

    Brooks & Rice has lost its lease. It is not looking for a new location. OR Brooks & Rice have lost their lease. They are now looking for…But NOT Brooks & Rice has lost its lease. They are now looking…

    If the organization is referred to as “they” or “who,” use a plural verb with the company name. If the organization is referred to as “it” or “which,” use a singular verb.

    Professor Charles Darling says, “The names of companies and other organizations are usually regarded as singular, regardless of their ending: ‘General Motors has announced its fall lineup of new vehicles.’ Try to avoid the inconsistency that is almost inevitable when you think of corporate entities as a group of individuals: ‘General Motors has announced their fall lineup of new vehicles.’”
  • Meghan54 - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    No they're not. Corps. are treated as singular entities. Substitute for any corp's name, be it Intel, Gigabyte, Apple, et al, the word company, and you have your answer. You wouldn't say "The company have good products", would you?

    No, just like it's incorrect to say Intel have or Gigabyte have. A company, corporation, or any group is treated as a single entity. like Congress, Parliament, or any other cohesive group.

    Learn English grammar.
  • mickyfinn - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    I don't think so. Apparently, In the US and in England, Corporations apparently are treated as single nouns. This is correct as Corporations are viewed legally as single entities.

    I cite the following:
    The Associated Press ( about us page "The AP is one of the largest ... AP is neither privately held... AP employs the lastest..."

    IBM press release entitled "IBM Completes Acquisition of Tealeaf Technology", first sentence: "ARMONK, N.Y. - 13 Jun 2012: IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced IT (emphasis mine) has completed its acquisition of Tealeaf Technology, Inc., ..."

    Financial Times website "about us": : "The FT IS... (emphasis mine)" and feel free to peruse any of their articles refering to corporations (or countries). All singular.

    Oxford University Press release, entitled "Oxford Tops Times Good University Guide for 11th Year"

    While the US and UK are not technically "most English-speaking countries", the English ostensibly invented the language and the US one the IP rights to it from them in a war in the 18th century.
  • mickyfinn - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    oy... I mean "won". :(
  • IanCutress - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    I edited this article for Brendan - there's a UK/US split on whether a company should be singular or plural (I would cite web sources and style guides on this, but they are easy to find). I understand AT is a mainly US based web-site, and when concentrating to write in a US style it's frustrating to find that what both Brendan and I know is emphatically correct, others consider it totally wrong, and it sometimes creeps through unnoticed as a result. Our apologies.
  • awaken688 - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    Don't worry about it man. I personally prefer it be treated as a singular, especially when we are treating it as a single entity. But, I understand there are always going to be differences among English speaking countries. Just as someone was so sure of the horrible use of "an SSD" when in fact it is the correct use, people need to relax a little.
  • MilwaukeeMike - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    Everyone has their preferences...some we can argue over, some are just annoyances.. I personally hate the phrase 'that being said' (and its derivatives) because it's ambiguous and pointless, but I must be in the minority because of how often it's used.
  • irreverence - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    I'd not usually be bothered by something like this, and would generally find it to be fairly trivial, but upon reading the rest of this article it becomes incredibly clear that it is not fit for publishing and is in dire need of a proofreader. I do not know if Brendan's 1st language is English or not, but as his 1st article on the site this should really have been scrutinised by an editor before signing off on it.

    Aside from the issue with treating Gigabyte as a plural entity, here are just a few other issues with the writing that were immediately apparent upon reading:

    - using the phrase "in my eyes" instead of "to my eyes"
    - "with regards to" instead of "with regard to"
    - "after comparing to" instead of "after comparing with"
    - "one port which points out" instead of "one port that points out"
    - "Gigabyte have put all of the features in their relative submenus that makes them easy to find." instead of "Gigabyte have put all of the features in their relative submenus which makes them easy to find."
    - "it's in the center board" - "it's in the center of the board"
    - "CPU, memory, graphics card(s) as well as..." instead of "CPU, memory and graphics card(s), as well as..."

    Then there is the confusing inconsistency between the uses of "display port" and "DisplayPort".

    Apart from all this, the whole article is littered with clumsy sentences. There are too many to quote directly, but by way of example:

    "Unfortunately, the CPU core voltage isn’t displayed correctly by CPUZ which means you have to use the EasyTune6 software, which seems to do a better job although I wouldn’t rely on it entirely."

    I'm sorry, but I expect higher standards of writing from this site. I don't blame the author directly, but the fact that this clearly hasn't been proofread is pretty bad.
  • The0ne - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    People see it as a "trifle" but it really is annoying if used very often. It's breaks your train of reading/thought and eventually invokes the Hulk in anyone who cares :D But I've long trained myself to ignore such trifles as blogs, reviews and even news on the Internet are horrible to begin with. Now books are another matter :D

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