Review: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H-BK Motherboard

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Review: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H-BK Motherboard

EditorsChoiceWe are back again with a Gigabyte Motherboard review – this time we have the Black Edition of the GA-Z97X-UD5H-BK Ultra Durable Motherboard that supports LGA 1150 Haswell Refresh processors. The main focus of the Intel Z97-based Gigabyte Ultra Durable motherboard series lies in its overclocking capability, followed by system stability and longer lifespan through the use of Durable Black Solid Caps.

The main feature of the Black Edition motherboards is that each of the motherboards in this series undergoes an extra 168 hours (7 days) of stress testing before they are packed and ready to be shipped to retail stores. During the 168 hour test, each motherboard needs to pass rigorous, full system validation testing for 1 full week.  Gigabyte has built a custom testing facility at our Taiwan (Nanping) factory. You can check out the photos from our trip to Gigabyte’s Nanping factory here.


Each motherboard that passes all the tests, comes with a Certificate of Validation issued by the Gigabyte factory, thus ensuring quality and performance. Most of the  Gigabyte Z97 Motherboards that were recently revealed didn’t have an M.2 PCIE port for Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF) SSDs. This Black Edition motherboard though features an M.2 PCIE port, supporting speeds of up to 10Gb/s. In addition to the M.2 port, the motherboard also features Ultra Durable components, Dual BIOS, 2x Copper PCB, SATA Express and so much more. Check out some of its features and specifications below.

In terms of power requirement, the GA-Z97X-UD5H-BK draws it from an 8-pin power connector and a standard 24-pin ATX power connector. However, if you are into multiple graphics card configurations, the motherboard also accompanies an additional ATX4P or the SATA power connector for additional power, thus suiting your needs. There are onboard power buttons, LED code display, CMOS switch and so on. The motherboard also comes with a voltage point check where you can hot wire and monitor the board’s status directly.


In addition to all the features we have mentioned, the motherboard also comes with eight SATA 6Gb/s ports, eight USB 3.0 ports (six on the back panel, two available through the internal USB header) and six USB 2.0 ports (two on the back panel, and four via the internal USB header). In order to test this motherboard out, our test bed includes specs such as the Intel Core i7 4770K processor, Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X graphics card, Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB 2400MHz kit (CL11, 2 x 8GB) RAM, and Kingston 240GB Hyper X 3K SSD.

Most of Gigabyte’s software are provided through the company’s App Center interface. The bundled apps include USB blocker which allows you to block certain USB devices either by type or by vendor. The @BIOS program gives you the options to update your BIOS from within the OS. The Cloud Station offers a range of apps that allow you to use your smartphone or tablet device to communication, control and share resources between your PC and device via your local network.


The EasyTune utility meanwhile is an OC Tuner utility that allows you to use preset OC profiles or allows you to create your own more advanced OC profiles. The Gigabyte Smart Recovery 2 utility allows you to easily arrange your system backups by setting up an automated backup service. Smart Recovery 2, once set up, backs your files up every hour in the background. It keeps all backups of a 48 hour period in a rolling fashion.

If you are into overclocking, you will find it’s so much easier on Gigabyte’s Z97X-UD5H-BK motherboard. Here, you can opt to go with multiplier tweaking for the simplest and most stable overclocks. We found we could do 4.8GHz with 1.275 volts. However, the Z97X-UD5H-BK allowed us to bring the voltage down to 1.25 volts, thus allowing slightly lower power consumption, less heat and more durability long term.


In our real world tests, we used a bunch of benchmarks such as SiSoft Sandra Engineer, Cinebench, 3DMark, and Tomb Raider, among others. We found the performance of the motherboard to be awesome. We were blown away by the fact that the motherboard offered the widest range of connectivity options we have seen on any motherboard we have tested so far.


Gigabyte’s Z97X-UD5H-BK is indeed one of the best motherboards we have come across. It is flawless, when it comes to both design and featuresets. We also found the quality of the BIOS and the overclocking elements to be quite good. Add to that the 168 hour test this series of motherboards endures before it rolls out of the factory, and you know you have bought a quality product when you pay for it at your neighbourhood IT retail store. Thus, Gigabyte’s GA-Z97X-UD5H-BK Motherboard wins Review Central’s Editors’ Choice award.

Price: TBA

Size: ATX
CPU Interface: LGA-1150
Chipset: Intel Z97
Memory Slots: Four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 32 GB
Video Outputs: VGA Port, DVI-D Port, HDMI Port
Onboard Audio: Realtek ALC1150 codec
Expansion Slots: 3 x PCIe x16 (x16, x8/x8, x8/x8/x4), 2x PCIe x1, 2 x PCI slots,
Storage Interface: 6 x SATA 6Gb/s Connectors, M.2 PCIe connector, Sata Express connector, 2 x SATA 6Gb/s (Marvell 88SE9172)
Internal I/O Connectors: 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector, 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector, 1 x PCIe power connector, 1 x M.2 PCIe connector, 1 x SATA Express connector, 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors, 1 x front panel header, 1 x front panel audio header, 1 x S/PDIF Out header, 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header, 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers, 1 x serial port header, 1 x Clear CMOS jumper, 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header, 1 x power button, 1 x reset button, 1 x Clear CMOS button, 2 x BIOS switches
Warranty Period: 3 Years

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