Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH LGA1150 Motherboard

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Boot Performance

To test boot time the BIOS/UEFI was optimized by setting the hard drive recognition and other delays set to minimum, taking care not to disable common functionality like full USB support, POST messages, etc. and measured the time it takes to reach the Windows loading screen (we stop here because this is the point where the O/S and drive become factors).

The Z87X-UD5 TH hit the Windows loading screen in just over 12 seconds which is more or less average for a Haswell board (the ASUS Maximus VI Impact seems to be an outlier). Despite its laundry list of features, there was no noticeable delay in the POST sequence to wait for all the components to come online.

SATA 6 Gbps Performance

The GA-Z87X-UD5 TH uses the Intel series-8 chipset to power six of its SATA ports while the remaining two are provided courtesy of a third party Marvell 88SE9172 controller.

According to CrystalDiskMark, the Marvell controller is a poor performer considering it is supposed to have a 6 Gbps interface. It wasn't able to break 3 Gbps (384 MB/s) under the most ideal of circumstances (using a fast SandForce drive and a heavily compressible data-set). Even AMD's native controller which has always benched well behind Intel's, appears to be noticeably faster.

Of course to hit these higher speeds you need a fast SSD and the Marvell ports are just two of eight. It's unlikely anyone will have seven or eight SSDs, so they'll be primarily used for optical and magnetic storage which can't come close to saturating the controller's capabilities.

Wireless 802.11n Performance

For the WiFi performance test, we sent a large file transfer (700MB) over 802.11n to and from a machine connected via gigabit ethernet and timed the operation to calculate the average transfer rate. We also checked signal strength to the various wireless networks in our area by going to the MS-DOS command line and using the the "netsh" tool. It should be noted that the 802.11n router servicing our lab is not the greatest, an Actiontec combination router/gateway from our ADSL provider. It is located in a central location, only a few feet away from our testing areas with only one wall in-between so should produce close to ideal results.

While the Z87X-UD5 TH sports a similar Broadcom 802.11ac module as the Maximus Impact VI Impact, it absolutely smoked the ASUS board's adapter, more than doubling its upstream transfer speed, giving it the best performance we've seen out of a wireless NIC since we started performing this test.

The reported signal strength indicates the Broadcom adapter is more picky when it comes to wireless networks. It detected only three SSIDs in our lab's vicinity and the reception for one of them was incredibly poor. The signal strength of the remaining two were solid, relatively speaking at least.

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