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IO Performance

These connective features are often over looked by many engineers. Here, I look for any SATA, USB, or other IO port connectivity issues. Like all Z77 boards, the UP5 board and Windows drivers don't always detect freshly connected SATA devices even when using AHCI and hardware detection. Sometimes the BIOS only sees one device when two devices are simultaneously connected to the black SATA ports. Connecting one at a time makes it easy. Also, a quick reboot usually resolves the issue.

The UP5 utilizes the Z77 chipset for USB 3.0 function and not the VIA VL800 controller like the UD3H. The PCH is a bit slower in that respect. The ASUS boards continue to provide the fastest USB 3.0 performance thanks to the Turbo and Boost feature.

As we have stated, we unfortunately could not locate any Thunderbolt devices that would give us the results we needed to give a good idea of performance. We'll have revisit this once manufacturers provide a more thorough variety of solutions. If the Thunderbolt port is as sensitive as we've heard, the tests should reveal who's implementing controllers right and wrong.

Network Performance

It's pretty uneventful here. The UP5 doesn't really come with any extra networking software or reveals any tuning related to networking performance. But it does score relatively well with the onboard network controller plus the bundled and very useful WiFi PCIE card. The connectors are of a ring nut design so they make very good contact with the antennae.

Audio Performance

Testing revealed the board to be good overall as far as integrated audio is concerned. Frequency response was less than admirable at 50% volume yet was better if volume wasn't high. One of the features the GIGABYTE boards have long shown is the 110dB audio. Unfortunately, it isn't "loss less" and does flatten out at higher volumes. Regular gamers and media users will find it to be sufficient while avid gamers will want something a bit more sinister like the ASUS Xonar series or Creative Labs cards.

Final Thoughts

When I first looked at GIGABYTE's new Ultra Durable 5 technology, it was hard to know exactly how or if it would affect motherboard performance or even benefit the platform in some other benign way. Unless you're some what aware of how digital VRM works, you probably wouldn't know it offers conservative power consumption, cooler operations, extended component life, or if it could maintain higher Intel Turbo frequencies. While overall performance is comparable to other Z77 platforms, the GA-Z77X-UP5 TH provides tangible power conservation, cooler components during operations, and a steadier overclocking results.

As mentioned before, we unfortunately couldn't get properly working Thunderbolt devices to test the unique dual Thunderbolt ports on this board. However, we know it works because Intel has shown it off more than once at shows and in the field. And, as long as GIGABYTE's engineers followed recommended specs, the ports should move enormous amounts of data in a very short time. Still, we fully intend on revisiting Thunderbolt once the new chipsets launch and more TB solutions give us something to work with. In the meantime, it's like the waiting we did with USB 3.0 all over again.

Ultimately, the GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UP5 TH is a pleasant, cool drink of power consumption that will shave off a few watts off your power bill while offering the latest in extreme high performance data connectivity through the latest and greatest Thunderbolt ports. Two of them in fact giving this board potential longevity that  you don't see in other boards right now at around the $249 US price point.

If managing power consumption, controlling thermal output, and extending component life along with Thunderbolt connectivity interest you, we definitely recommend the GA-Z77X-UP5 TH motherboard. It's literally the coolest running ATX board we've ever seen. Our thermal cameras agree.

Pros

  • Very low idle power consumption
  • Good Z77 chipset performance
  • Platform overclocks more easily than previous "UD" series boards
  • Very low heat emissions
  • Solid components and respectable quality
  • Dual Thunderbolt connectivity
  • Supports triple slot video cards

Cons

  • Audio quality could be cleaned up a bit
  • BIOS still doesn't have a smooth interface
  • Replace the VGA port - add more USB ports

Overall Rating: 9/10

Help Us Improve Our Reviews by Leaving a Comment Below!





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  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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.