GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UP5-TH ATX Motherboard Review

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GIGABYTE GA Z77X UP5 TH Motherboard 4 500x312 GIGABYTE GA Z77X UP5 TH ATX Motherboard Review

GIGABYTE has been slowly refining their Z77 series and have added a couple new features that you’ll want to know about. For example, the new revisions now feature their Ultra Durable 5 technology which builds even more longevity into their boards and Thunderbolt (formerly LightPeak) connectivity. We want to know how these new features aid performance and most importantly, who benefits most from the new features. Join us for a closer look at the new GA-Z77X-UP5-TH Motherboard. from GIGABYTE.

Features and Specifications

GIGABYTE GA Z77X UP5 TH Motherboard 9 500x312 GIGABYTE GA Z77X UP5 TH ATX Motherboard Review

Ultra Durable 5 is very much like the Ultra Durable technologies that came before it. You’ll find their “2X” or 2 ounce copper PCB but with enhancements this time around as well as new IR3550 PowIRstage® ICs from International Rectifier. New high current Ferrite Core Chokes rated up to 60 Amps have also been implemented while much needed digital power voltage regulation has also been added. The benefits of these technologies are less power loss and greater efficiency which results in less heat generated by the components supporting the CPU.

GIGABYTE GA Z77X UP5 TH Thunderbolt Feature 500x409 GIGABYTE GA Z77X UP5 TH ATX Motherboard Review

Intel Thunderbolt (formerly known as LightPeak) rounds off the latest feature updates. The GA-Z77X-UP5-TH comes with dual Thunderbolt ports as well as PLX 8605 controllers which ensure maximum transfer bandwidth whether being used for storage or displays/monitors. While the maximum transfer rate is 10Gbps, we’ve seen linked devices transferring 800MB/s for immensely flawless video play back over multiple displays. Unfortunately, there are very few if any Thunderbolt devices available and it’s going to be some time before we see more. Nonetheless, GIGABYTE has looked towards the future with not only one, but two of these ports, which is fairly uncommon to see.

Other than these two notable updates, the board has every extra feature their Z77 series features including mini-SATA all the way up to Lucid MVP and Intel Smart Response. For more detailed specs on the GA-Z77X-UP5-TH or the GA-Z77X-UD5H Series motherboards, head over to GIGABYTE’s website.

Retail price of the GA-Z77X-UP5-TH is in the neighbourhood of $249.99 US. A lower cost “UP4″ version is also available with Thunderbolt, but some feature downgrades for around $179.99 US.

What’s In The Box?

GIGABYTE GA Z77X UP5 TH Motherboard 3 500x281 GIGABYTE GA Z77X UP5 TH ATX Motherboard Review

Like the UD5-WiFi which is far more common, the accessories are almost identical. The bundle includes six SATA cables, extra USB 3.0 3.5″ front panel ports, matching IO shield, usual manuals and GIGABYTE stickers. Two black antennae are also include to support the Atheros AR5B22 WiFi card (GC-WB300D). The Atheros card has full on support wireless B/G/N networking and good transmitting potential. It’s good to see bolt-on antennae. Too bad they aren’t magnetized.

A Quick Look at the GA-Z77X-UP5-TH

GA Z77X UP5 TH and GA Z77X UD5H Motherboards 500x219 GIGABYTE GA Z77X UP5 TH ATX Motherboard Review

The UD5 series and UP5 boards have extremely similar layout and button placement. However there are specially marked new chokes around the CPU socket and driver MOSFETs underneath the heat sinks with the heat pipe running through them. These components are the heart of the digital voltage regulation. There are also some new IOQ controllers below the memory slots to keep bandwidth moving.

GIGABYTE GA Z77X UP5 and UD5 Back IO Ports 500x340 GIGABYTE GA Z77X UP5 TH ATX Motherboard Review

Moving to the back IO ports of the UD5 and UP5, you can see the obvious IO feature changes. A display port, two red USB combo ports, a Firewire port, and one analog audio port had to be eliminated to provide two tiny, but bandwidth abundant, Thunderbolt ports. Honestly, the connectivity  will eventually pay off once all the connectivity possibilities are finally realized.

Let’s see how this board performs in comparison to the Z77 boards we’ve racked up to date.

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About

As our Senior PC Hardware Editor, Eric has been working with tech since before serving in the military where he really got to play with some very cool hardware. As for his prowess on the virtual battlefield, don't let the teddy bear exterior fool you. He can frag and pwn with the best in just about any first person shooter. You may run in to him at LANs, tech shows, and gaming shows, so do say hello.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pepinorang Pepinorang Overclocking

    The thermal imaging comparaison is totally biased ! You used Aircooler for UP5-TH (providing airflow in the socket area) but you used watercooling on the Asus (thus, no airflow…). You are compairing peanuts and apples…

  • http://www.facebook.com/pepinorang Pepinorang Overclocking

    The thermal imaging comparaison is totally biased ! You used Aircooler for UP5-TH (providing airflow in the socket area) but you used watercooling on the Asus (thus, no airflow…). You are compairing peanuts and apples…

  • http://www.facebook.com/pepinorang Pepinorang Overclocking

    The thermal imaging comparaison is totally biased ! You used Aircooler for UP5-TH (providing airflow in the socket area) but you used watercooling on the Asus (thus, no airflow…). You are compairing peanuts and apples…

  • Eric Garay

    Hi P.O., the fan was set to 600 RPMs as well as slightly raised and didn’t direct air right on to the heat sinks. The ASUS system has a 120mm fan just behind the cooler and up top as well as a 120mm fan mounted to the right of the CPU cooler. Both were open to allow air flow. But as it stands, the UP5 really does operate at a MUCH cooler level.
    I’ve since taken the board down to Puget Systems who got to see it
    operate first hand.

    Using the Core i5-3750K / ASUS vs Core i7-3770K / GIGABYTE was probably the only thing that made it a Brayburn apple to Gala apple – not quite the same. But I wanted to use the hotter 8 Thread chip on the UP5 to drive the point home.

    I’m sorry if that wasn’t made evident enough in the review and will make sure to double note things in the future. Hopefully, using the Core i5-3750K 4-Thread vs the UP5 Core i7-3770K

  • chris

    That explanation really leaves a lot to be desired. The gfx in the asus machine is running much hotter than the gigabyte (just look at the colours, and amount thereof). I’d also hazard a guess that one is a rear exhausting card with a full/almost full shroud, and the other has heatpipes and therefore, gaps in the shroud allowing hot air to escape into the surrounding air space

    my second point: the air flow difference from running a different cooler and graphics card, let alone case would almost certainly effect the board temperatures, probably enough to sway this result.

    Even if this was an honest mistake on your part, you have some serious revision of your testing procedure to do before I’d ever consider another article on here credible at all. Swapping the motherboard out of the case and replacing, can’t take over half an hour or so, how can it be worth distorting results over if you’re not doing it deliberately? Honestly have you ever seen a review for a cooling product that varys multiple key components of the system? Anyone with a basic knowledge of PC cooling and/or airflow could tell you that altering the enclosure and components (the only thing that is really comparable to the competitor in this comparison…) would very possibly influence the end temperature result, especially of a motherboard which is greatly influenced by ambient airflow and temperature. Your comment about the fan being too far away to influence the motherboard temperature is totally incorrect, just try running your computer with no passive air flow in the case (ie. air not “directed onto” components) and see how far you get…

    As for taking the side off the case, if you wanted to test in open air, it should have been done open on a test bench to eliminate these variables.

    In future I’d recommend using a scientific method in conducting your research, and spending a bit more time planning what the variables could potentially influence if you want reliable and trustworthy results. I honestly can’t say you’ve tweaked these variables on purpose, nor that they’d effect the results one way or another. What I do know, is that case airflow can be one of the largest factors in chipset temperatures, and that the setups you show, are almost certainly different in this regard, for no good reason from what i can tell.

  • chris

    That explanation really leaves a lot to be desired. The gfx in the asus machine is running much hotter than the gigabyte (just look at the colours, and amount thereof). I’d also hazard a guess that one is a rear exhausting card with a full/almost full shroud, and the other has heatpipes and therefore, gaps in the shroud allowing hot air to escape into the surrounding air space

    my second point: the air flow difference from running a different cooler and graphics card, let alone case would almost certainly effect the board temperatures, probably enough to sway this result.

    Even if this was an honest mistake on your part, you have some serious revision of your testing procedure to do before I’d ever consider another article on here credible at all. Swapping the motherboard out of the case and replacing, can’t take over half an hour or so, how can it be worth distorting results over if you’re not doing it deliberately? Honestly have you ever seen a review for a cooling product that varys multiple key components of the system? Anyone with a basic knowledge of PC cooling and/or airflow could tell you that altering the enclosure and components (the only thing that is really comparable to the competitor in this comparison…) would very possibly influence the end temperature result, especially of a motherboard which is greatly influenced by ambient airflow and temperature. Your comment about the fan being too far away to influence the motherboard temperature is totally incorrect, just try running your computer with no passive air flow in the case (ie. air not “directed onto” components) and see how far you get…

    As for taking the side off the case, if you wanted to test in open air, it should have been done open on a test bench to eliminate these variables.

    In future I’d recommend using a scientific method in conducting your research, and spending a bit more time planning what the variables could potentially influence if you want reliable and trustworthy results. I honestly can’t say you’ve tweaked these variables on purpose, nor that they’d effect the results one way or another. What I do know, is that case airflow can be one of the largest factors in chipset temperatures, and that the setups you show, are almost certainly different in this regard, for no good reason from what i can tell.

  • chris

    That explanation really leaves a lot to be desired. The gfx in the asus machine is running much hotter than the gigabyte (just look at the colours, and amount thereof). I’d also hazard a guess that one is a rear exhausting card with a full/almost full shroud, and the other has heatpipes and therefore, gaps in the shroud allowing hot air to escape into the surrounding air space

    my second point: the air flow difference from running a different cooler and graphics card, let alone case would almost certainly effect the board temperatures, probably enough to sway this result.

    Even if this was an honest mistake on your part, you have some serious revision of your testing procedure to do before I’d ever consider another article on here credible at all. Swapping the motherboard out of the case and replacing, can’t take over half an hour or so, how can it be worth distorting results over if you’re not doing it deliberately? Honestly have you ever seen a review for a cooling product that varys multiple key components of the system? Anyone with a basic knowledge of PC cooling and/or airflow could tell you that altering the enclosure and components (the only thing that is really comparable to the competitor in this comparison…) would very possibly influence the end temperature result, especially of a motherboard which is greatly influenced by ambient airflow and temperature. Your comment about the fan being too far away to influence the motherboard temperature is totally incorrect, just try running your computer with no passive air flow in the case (ie. air not “directed onto” components) and see how far you get…

    As for taking the side off the case, if you wanted to test in open air, it should have been done open on a test bench to eliminate these variables.

    In future I’d recommend using a scientific method in conducting your research, and spending a bit more time planning what the variables could potentially influence if you want reliable and trustworthy results. I honestly can’t say you’ve tweaked these variables on purpose, nor that they’d effect the results one way or another. What I do know, is that case airflow can be one of the largest factors in chipset temperatures, and that the setups you show, are almost certainly different in this regard, for no good reason from what i can tell.

  • chris

    That explanation really leaves a lot to be desired. The gfx in the asus machine is running much hotter than the gigabyte (just look at the colours, and amount thereof). I’d also hazard a guess that one is a rear exhausting card with a full/almost full shroud, and the other has heatpipes and therefore, gaps in the shroud allowing hot air to escape into the surrounding air space

    my second point: the air flow difference from running a different cooler and graphics card, let alone case would almost certainly effect the board temperatures, probably enough to sway this result.

    Even if this was an honest mistake on your part, you have some serious revision of your testing procedure to do before I’d ever consider another article on here credible at all. Swapping the motherboard out of the case and replacing, can’t take over half an hour or so, how can it be worth distorting results over if you’re not doing it deliberately? Honestly have you ever seen a review for a cooling product that varys multiple key components of the system? Anyone with a basic knowledge of PC cooling and/or airflow could tell you that altering the enclosure and components (the only thing that is really comparable to the competitor in this comparison…) would very possibly influence the end temperature result, especially of a motherboard which is greatly influenced by ambient airflow and temperature. Your comment about the fan being too far away to influence the motherboard temperature is totally incorrect, just try running your computer with no passive air flow in the case (ie. air not “directed onto” components) and see how far you get…

    As for taking the side off the case, if you wanted to test in open air, it should have been done open on a test bench to eliminate these variables.

    In future I’d recommend using a scientific method in conducting your research, and spending a bit more time planning what the variables could potentially influence if you want reliable and trustworthy results. I honestly can’t say you’ve tweaked these variables on purpose, nor that they’d effect the results one way or another. What I do know, is that case airflow can be one of the largest factors in chipset temperatures, and that the setups you show, are almost certainly different in this regard, for no good reason from what i can tell.

  • chris

    That explanation really leaves a lot to be desired. The gfx in the asus machine is running much hotter than the gigabyte (just look at the colours, and amount thereof). I’d also hazard a guess that one is a rear exhausting card with a full/almost full shroud, and the other has heatpipes and therefore, gaps in the shroud allowing hot air to escape into the surrounding air space

    my second point: the air flow difference from running a different cooler and graphics card, let alone case would almost certainly effect the board temperatures, probably enough to sway this result.

    Even if this was an honest mistake on your part, you have some serious revision of your testing procedure to do before I’d ever consider another article on here credible at all. Swapping the motherboard out of the case and replacing, can’t take over half an hour or so, how can it be worth distorting results over if you’re not doing it deliberately? Honestly have you ever seen a review for a cooling product that varys multiple key components of the system? Anyone with a basic knowledge of PC cooling and/or airflow could tell you that altering the enclosure and components (the only thing that is really comparable to the competitor in this comparison…) would very possibly influence the end temperature result, especially of a motherboard which is greatly influenced by ambient airflow and temperature. Your comment about the fan being too far away to influence the motherboard temperature is totally incorrect, just try running your computer with no passive air flow in the case (ie. air not “directed onto” components) and see how far you get…

    As for taking the side off the case, if you wanted to test in open air, it should have been done open on a test bench to eliminate these variables.

    In future I’d recommend using a scientific method in conducting your research, and spending a bit more time planning what the variables could potentially influence if you want reliable and trustworthy results. I honestly can’t say you’ve tweaked these variables on purpose, nor that they’d effect the results one way or another. What I do know, is that case airflow can be one of the largest factors in chipset temperatures, and that the setups you show, are almost certainly different in this regard, for no good reason from what i can tell.

  • chris

    That explanation really leaves a lot to be desired. The gfx in the asus machine is running much hotter than the gigabyte (just look at the colours, and amount thereof). I’d also hazard a guess that one is a rear exhausting card with a full/almost full shroud, and the other has heatpipes and therefore, gaps in the shroud allowing hot air to escape into the surrounding air space

    my second point: the air flow difference from running a different cooler and graphics card, let alone case would almost certainly effect the board temperatures, probably enough to sway this result.

    Even if this was an honest mistake on your part, you have some serious revision of your testing procedure to do before I’d ever consider another article on here credible at all. Swapping the motherboard out of the case and replacing, can’t take over half an hour or so, how can it be worth distorting results over if you’re not doing it deliberately? Honestly have you ever seen a review for a cooling product that varys multiple key components of the system? Anyone with a basic knowledge of PC cooling and/or airflow could tell you that altering the enclosure and components (the only thing that is really comparable to the competitor in this comparison…) would very possibly influence the end temperature result, especially of a motherboard which is greatly influenced by ambient airflow and temperature. Your comment about the fan being too far away to influence the motherboard temperature is totally incorrect, just try running your computer with no passive air flow in the case (ie. air not “directed onto” components) and see how far you get…

    As for taking the side off the case, if you wanted to test in open air, it should have been done open on a test bench to eliminate these variables.

    In future I’d recommend using a scientific method in conducting your research, and spending a bit more time planning what the variables could potentially influence if you want reliable and trustworthy results. I honestly can’t say you’ve tweaked these variables on purpose, nor that they’d effect the results one way or another. What I do know, is that case airflow can be one of the largest factors in chipset temperatures, and that the setups you show, are almost certainly different in this regard, for no good reason from what i can tell.

  • chris

    That explanation really leaves a lot to be desired. The gfx in the asus machine is running much hotter than the gigabyte (just look at the colours, and amount thereof). I’d also hazard a guess that one is a rear exhausting card with a full/almost full shroud, and the other has heatpipes and therefore, gaps in the shroud allowing hot air to escape into the surrounding air space

    my second point: the air flow difference from running a different cooler and graphics card, let alone case would almost certainly effect the board temperatures, probably enough to sway this result.

    Even if this was an honest mistake on your part, you have some serious revision of your testing procedure to do before I’d ever consider another article on here credible at all. Swapping the motherboard out of the case and replacing, can’t take over half an hour or so, how can it be worth distorting results over if you’re not doing it deliberately? Honestly have you ever seen a review for a cooling product that varys multiple key components of the system? Anyone with a basic knowledge of PC cooling and/or airflow could tell you that altering the enclosure and components (the only thing that is really comparable to the competitor in this comparison…) would very possibly influence the end temperature result, especially of a motherboard which is greatly influenced by ambient airflow and temperature. Your comment about the fan being too far away to influence the motherboard temperature is totally incorrect, just try running your computer with no passive air flow in the case (ie. air not “directed onto” components) and see how far you get…

    As for taking the side off the case, if you wanted to test in open air, it should have been done open on a test bench to eliminate these variables.

    In future I’d recommend using a scientific method in conducting your research, and spending a bit more time planning what the variables could potentially influence if you want reliable and trustworthy results. I honestly can’t say you’ve tweaked these variables on purpose, nor that they’d effect the results one way or another. What I do know, is that case airflow can be one of the largest factors in chipset temperatures, and that the setups you show, are almost certainly different in this regard, for no good reason from what i can tell.

  • http://riggregate.com/ AM Putra

    Some features of this motherboard are yet to be useful for most of us, but surely will set the future standard. Still, I’m amazed with the OC performance.

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