Opinions have undoubtedly shifted over the years on what is expected from entry level motherboards. While many will not argue about the appropriate price, the functional aspects such as overclockability, storage options, expandability, and sub-system performance are affected so much with every concession made to fit the budget that designing the perfect budget model can be a nightmare for manufacturers. That is probably why most of them just simply opt to flood the market with multiple budget models offering different features within the same price point. With the latest Z97-D3H from Gigabyte, they have attempted to find a balance offering the latest storage options in the form of M.2 and SATA Express support as well as high-quality audio and high-speed Gigabit network on a price that is a lot less than expected.
Review Sample Provided by:Gigabyte Product Name: Gigabyte GA-Z97-D3H Motherboard MSRP: $118.99 USD Product was given in exchange for work done to produce this review.
Despite the lack of “U” in the D3H name, the Gigabyte Z97-D3H still enjoys some Gigabyte Ultra Durable design components. The extra copper on the PCB traces and customized Japanese capacitors are missing, but the D3H still uses all solid capacitors, glass fabric PCB, gold plated CPU socket and dual-BIOS. As far as I know, the “X” in the naming scheme stands for fully digital control (at least it was in the Z87 series) so we’ll see what the scheme is like once we look at the motherboard layout.
Accessories for the Gigabyte Z97-D3H include the essential driver disc, IO shield, a user’s guide, Gigabyte Ultra Durable sticker and two latching SATA cables (one angled, one straight).
The full official specifications table can be seen below.
Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1150 package
L3 cache varies with CPU
(Please refer “CPU Support List” for more information.)
Intel® Z97 Express Chipset
4 x DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory* Due to a Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than the size of the physical memory installed.
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)(The PCIEX16 slot conforms to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)* For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)* The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with all PCI Express x1 slots. All PCI Express x1 slots will become unavailable when a PCIe x4 expansion card is installed.* When installing a x8 or above card in the PCIEX4 slot, make sure to set PCIE Slot Configuration in BIOS Setup to x4. (Refer to Chapter 2, “BIOS Setup,” “Peripherals,” for more information.)
2 x PCI Express x1 slots (The PCIEX4 and the PCI Express x1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
3 x PCI slots
Support for AMD CrossFire™ technology
1 x M.2 PCIe connector(Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA & PCIe SSD support)
1 x SATA Express connector
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors(M.2, SATA Express, and SATA3 4/5 connectors can only be used one at a time. The SATA3 4/5 connectors will become unavailable when an M.2 SSD is installed.)
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 6 ports available through the internal USB headers)
Internal IO Connectors
1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x M.2 PCIe connector
1 x SATA Express connector
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1 x CPU fan header
1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
3 x system fan headers
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x serial port header
1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
1 x S/PDIF Out header
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
Back Panel Connectors
1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
1 x D-Sub port
1 x DVI-D port
1 x HDMI port
4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 x RJ-45 port
6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Side Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
iTE® I/O Controller Chip
System voltage detection
CPU/System temperature detection
CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed detection
CPU/System overheating warning
CPU/CPU OPT/System fan fail warning
CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed control* Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the cooler you install.
2 x 64Mbit flash
Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
Support for DualBIOS™
PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
Support for APP Center* Available applications in APP Center may differ by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also differ depending on motherboard specifications.
Smart Recovery 2
System Information Viewer
Support for Q-Flash
Support for Smart Switch
Support for Xpress Install
Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
Intel® Rapid Start Technology
Intel® Smart Connect Technology
Intel® Smart Response Technology
Support for Windows 8.1/8/7
ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 21.4cm
Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors’ website or 3rd party website.
Most hardware/software vendors may no longer offer drivers to support Win9X/ME/2000/XP. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.
* The entire materials provided herein are for reference only. GIGABYTE reserves the right to modify or revise the content at anytime without prior notice. * Advertised performance is based on maximum theoretical interface values from respective Chipset vendors or organization who defined the interface specification. Actual performance may vary by system configuration. * All trademarks and logos are the properties of their respective holders. * Due to standard PC architecture, a certain amount of memory is reserved for system usage and therefore the actual memory size is less than the stated amount.