Gigabyte Z97-D3H Motherboard Review

Article Index:

Gigabyte Z97-D3H

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.

Official Intel Z97 Chipset Diagram

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.

Gigabyte Z97-D3H Box Front Gigabyte Z97-D3H Box Rear

Gigabyte Z97-D3H Packaging

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).

Gigabyte Z97-D3H Accessories

The full official specifications table can be seen below.


CPU
  1. Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1150 package
  2. L3 cache varies with CPU

(Please refer “CPU Support List” for more information.)


Chipset
  1. Intel® Z97 Express Chipset

Memory
  1. 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.
  2. Dual channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR3 3100(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2933(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2600(O.C.) / 2500(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2200(O.C.) / 2133(O.C.) / 2000(O.C.) / 1866(O.C.) / 1800(O.C.) / 1600 / 1333 MHz memory modules
  4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
  5. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules

(Please refer “Memory Support List” for more information.)


Onboard Graphics:
Integrated Graphics Processor:

  1. 1 x D-Sub port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60Hz
  2. 1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60Hz
    * The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connection by adapter.
  3. 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@24Hz or 2560×1600@60Hz
    * Support for HDMI 1.4a version.
  4. Support for up to 3 displays at the same time
  5. Maximum shared memory of 512MB

Audio
  1. Realtek® ALC1150 codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for S/PDIF Out

LAN
  1. Intel® GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)

Expansion Slots
  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 2 x PCI Express x1 slots
    (The PCIEX4 and the PCI Express x1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
  4. 3 x PCI slots

Multi-Graphics Technology
  1. Support for AMD CrossFire™ technology

Storage Interface
Chipset:

  1. 1 x M.2 PCIe connector(Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA & PCIe SSD support)
  2. 1 x SATA Express connector
  3. 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.)
  4. Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10

USB
  1. 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
  2. 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. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 1 x M.2 PCIe connector
  4. 1 x SATA Express connector
  5. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  6. 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
  7. 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  8. 1 x CPU fan header
  9. 1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
  10. 3 x system fan headers
  11. 1 x front panel header
  12. 1 x front panel audio header
  13. 1 x serial port header
  14. 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
  15. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  16. 1 x Clear CMOS jumper

Back Panel Connectors
  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  2. 1 x D-Sub port
  3. 1 x DVI-D port
  4. 1 x HDMI port
  5. 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  6. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  7. 1 x RJ-45 port
  8. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Side Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)

IO Controller
  1. iTE® I/O Controller Chip

HW Monitoring
  1. System voltage detection
  2. CPU/System temperature detection
  3. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed detection
  4. CPU/System overheating warning
  5. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan fail warning
  6. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed control* Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the cooler you install.

BIOS
  1. 2 x 64Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0

Unique Features
  1. 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.
    • @BIOS
    • EasyTune
    • EZ Setup
    • Fast Boot
    • ON/OFF Charge
    • Smart TimeLock
    • Smart Recovery 2
    • System Information Viewer
    • USB Blocker
  2. Support for Q-Flash
  3. Support for Smart Switch
  4. Support for Xpress Install

Bundled Software
  1. Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
  2. Intel® Rapid Start Technology
  3. Intel® Smart Connect Technology
  4. Intel® Smart Response Technology
  5. cFosSpeed

Operating System
  1. Support for Windows 8.1/8/7

Form Factor
  1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 21.4cm

Remark
  1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors’ website or 3rd party website.
  2. 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.

Article Index:

About Ron Perillo

Ron has love for technology that is only narrowly eclipsed by his relentless desire for consuming baked goods. He has also recently contracted the modding bug and has been admitted at Modders Inc. for treatment, reviewing the latest hardware and learning from North America's best modders on how to deal with this affliction.

2 comments

  1. First review of Gigabyte Z97-D3H on the net, and such a nice one. Great job and great board.