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Gigabyte is known for producing motherboards that offer good value and while the Z87X-UD5 TH carries a lofty price-tag, you do still get quite a lot for your money. First of all you get all the benefits of the fastest desktop platform currently available in Haswell and the standard amenities of Intel's flagship Z87 chipset including PCI Express 3.0, and native USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbps ports. A Marvell controller brings the number of SATA connectors up to eight and furthermore you get a pair of Thunderbolt connectors and a fast mini PCI-E Broadcom wireless NIC.
All these features are nice but it's really the extras that make it a premium model. The board is an enthusiast's dream with a dual UEFI/BIOS filled with a plethora of frequency and power options for advanced overclocking. There are also BIOS, power, and reset switches placed directly on the PCB itself as well as voltage measurement points. The cooling system is top-notch with large, efficient heatsinks covering the voltage regulators and PCH chip, and of course the superbly capable fan control scheme that can tame up to seven fans. The fan customization options are somewhat basic in the UEFI/BIOS but this quibble is remedied once you boot into Windows and have access to Gigabyte's EasyTune application.
The only area where we came away disappointed was energy efficiency. On light load it used noticeably more power than previously tested Haswell models and on heavy load it was only average. While normally this is an important factor in our final judgment, we can't imagine prospective buyers of an expensive, high-end, balls-to-the-walls motherboard losing sleep over a few watts.
So, is it worth US$250? That really depends on how you're going to use it. Instead of wondering whether the Z87X-UD5 TH offers enough to satisfy you, you should instead consider whether your needs are enough to properly utilize its potential.
Our thanks to Gigabyte for the GA-Z87X-UD5 TH motherboard sample.
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Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD5 TH
is Recommended by SPCR
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this article in the SPCR forums.
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