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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 February 2013
My last motherboard was a Gigabyte - model GA-EP35-DS4, rev. 2.1 - and it served me nearly five years with ultimate reliability. Nothing wrong with my old motherboard but like any hardware system, features evolve and there comes a time when only the latest motherboards support new requirements. For this build, Quad Core and SLAT (Second Level Address Translation) are essential requirements which means a minimum of Intel i5 CPU - and for this I picked the Intel 3rd Generation Core i5-3570K CPU. The choice of motherboard was then an easy one - Gigabyte brand, LGA 1155 Socket, et cetera. This motherboard provided everything I was looking for, and many more, including support for over-clocking (OC) of unlocked CPUs such as the i5-3570K (which are suffixed with the letter K).

Some features worth mentioning:

1) 8 SATA ports - same count as my old GA-EP35-DS4 and therefore was an easy transition for connected drives. There is also an mSATA port for on-board SSD; if you use this, one of the SATA ports will be disabled (i.e., the total still remains 8). Four of the SATA ports (2 through Intel Chipset, 2 through Marvell Chip) support 6Gb/s which is great!

2) 6 USB 3.0 ports on the back panel and 2 internal; 2 USB 2.0 ports on the back panel and 4 internal. Of course USB 3.0 is backward compatible. Yes, FireWire (aka IEEE 1394) port that is on my old motherboard is here non-existent and truly dead. If the FireWire port is important to you, then budget an additional cost of around £10-20 for low-end to mid-range PCIe card.

3) DVI-D, HDMI and VGA display ports are provided for integrated graphics. I use the i5-3570K processor and this motherboard gives life to the on-chip Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics (part of i5-3570K). Unless you are looking for gaming graphics performance, the integrated graphics is quite adequate for normal use. With a bit of over-clocking, the integrated graphics scored 5.4 (Desktop performance for Windows Aero) and 6.5 (for 3D business and gaming graphics) on Windows Experience Index, in contrast to 6.8 and 6.8 for an nVidia 9800 GT card with my previous motherboard (so this isn't an integrated graphics to dismissed off lightly). With the integrated graphics, my computer is now unusually quiet as the noisy graphics card cooling fan is gone.

4) If you're into enhancing graphics performance with multiple GPUs, support for AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI technology is at hand with this motherboard. Of course, you need CrossFireX/SLI ready graphics cards installed in PCIex16 slot and connected with a bridge connector; for this, an NVIDIA-branded ribbon connector is provided with this motherboard.

5) Over-clocking (OC) is [almost] a joy with this motherboard, and a utility program by the name "Easy Tune 6" (downloadable from Gigabyte website) makes this task easy as its name suggests. Of course, this depends on the processor used and my i5-3570K rated at a nominal 3.4GHz is reliably running at 4.4GHz - all the auto-tuning and stability analysis carried out by the utility program (which means you don't have to be an expert in OC). Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) is also built into the BIOS so that with compatible memory modules the BIOS can be set to use the fastest memory speed possible (without the time-consuming tweaking which is generally carried out by OC experts). I used Corsair 16GB 1600MHz CL10 DDR3 Vengeance Memory Kit and you'll get full synergy at ease between this motherboard and the memory kit for 1600MHz performance (see my review for the memory kit).

6) Compared with my old motherboard I noticed a number of useful features (useful but not that revolutionary). For instance, you can configure the motherboard to function as a rapid charger to you smartphone even if the computer is off (good on avoiding charger clutter). You can make your presence detected via Bluetooth pairing of your smartphone (assuming the smartphone is always with you). Why is this good you may ask? Gigabyte calls it 'Auto Green' to save mains power, and if the computer fails to detect your presence for a specified time interval, it would assume you're away from your computer and sets itself into a power-saving mode. Clever idea, but how often and how long are we away from our desktop by leaving it on? Worth noting that you need to acquire a Bluetooth adapter/card for the Auto Green gizmo to work which may mean an additional cost (although shouldn't be that expensive). With this clever feature, it's worth noting the battery drain on the smartphone if Bluetooth is constantly switched on -- yes, you guessed it, there is no clever feature without a downside of some sort.
I also like the 3D Bios idea which provides a graphical representation of the motherboard in 3D, and, yes, interacting with the mouse to navigate to sub menus and effect the relevant BIOS settings. I noticed that this is not fully refined for 100% replacement of text based BIOS settings but getting there. Pressing F1 will toggle between the 3D and the good old text based interface.

Of course there are numerous other pretty standard features with this mid-range motherboard such as RAID support, rich audio support (including 5.1/7.1 channel) with digital optical audio output, and expansion slots with PCIex8 and PICex16 supporting the latest PCI Express 3.0 standard, et cetera, et cetera.

Finally a bit of advice from experience:

If you use a big CPU cooling system such as this, then fit it outside before installing the motherboard in the case as the area around the CPU can get tight. Similar advice applies to the SATA connections as the SATA sockets are provided on the edge of the motherboard with horizontal orientation. This is actually my only gripe about this motherboard as it can be very difficult to get to the SATA sockets particularly if the case is compact and/or many cables are in the way. In this regard, I had no problem with my old motherboard as the SATA sockets are vertically oriented (you just push or pull the plug from the top, as opposed to doing the same from the side to hard-to-locate SATA sockets on the edge of the motherboard). With this motherboard I have to pull out the drive carrier to make more space around SATA sockets and put it back once the cable connections are made. Manageable but this hassle could have been avoided with vertical orientation. If you're getting a computer case, it's good idea to consider the dimension and shape by taking account of SATA sockets placement and orientation.

Talking of niggles, another minor niggle I came across was the BIOS profile saving which I thought was a wonderful idea but didn't work for me. On the 'Save & Exit' page you have 'Save Profile' and 'Load Profile' commands which allow you to save up to 8 settings by naming the profile name. I thought I can create a number of booting options and save them for posterity, such as "Boot from Disk XX", "Boot from Disk YY", "Boot from DVDROM", "Boot from USB", etc. and call them into action as required at a later stage. Unless I am missing something, I couldn't get this to work. Interestingly, loading a profile doesn't affect the boot setting under BIOS Options page (where you normally set the boot priorities) - perhaps why it doesn't work as expected. Hope the next BIOS version will sort this out. The BIOS used was version F16 which was upgraded to upon receiving the motherboard.

The motherboard I got from Amazon is Rev 1.0 although Rev 1.1 is the latest. Comparing Rev 1.0 and 1.1 at Gigabyte website, the only one difference I could see was that the 4-pin +12V CPU power connector to the motherboard is replaced with a [duplicated] 8-pin connector (looks like for ease of GND and +12V copper track distribution?). If there are other differences, it's very likely that they are very minor as all of the too-important specs seem to be identical.

Finally, as indicated in this review's title - for features, performance, and price - a very impressive motherboard indeed!
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on 6 July 2012
Anyone out there who's looking at building their own PC perhaps for the first time or whatever, and you're looking for a motherboard that you can fiddle with, this is it for you.

The price is excellent for what it delivers and I did a hell of a lot of research before deciding on this. If you're looking into overclocking your CPU this can handle the temperatures like a champ. If you want multiple GPUs it comes with an SLi bridge and your graphics card will come with an ATI crossfire so you have the options. 4 RAM slots so supports up to 32GB if you really want, but mine's running with 8 at the moment. USB3.0 native and 6 slots in the interface and then there's the 4 6GB/s sATA ports (2 belonging to the Intel chip and therefore better, 2 for the Marvel chip) along with the 4 other 3GB/s sATA ports (all Intel) for your disk drives, so the latest technology being used is excellent. The BIOS has a friendly 3D interface and an advanced mode for anyone who wants to OC or tinker about. And it looks brilliant, nothing too flashy or pedantic about it, it just goes well with a black case and the blue isn't in your face either.

Bad points... The heat sinks are a little small so as a consequence don't expect OCing opportunities like you might get with an extreme-tier motherboard. That's pretty much it.

Real easy to install, drivers come on a disk for you and I've had no problems with it so far.

Recommended to anyone looking for a mobo with an 1155 socket to go with the latest Intel CPUs on the market.
3030 comments| 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 November 2012
This is a well balanced motherboard with a not too premium price. It gets good reviews around the web and works well on my end. It has all the features you need for a decent mid-high PC and I highly recommend it. Driver support is good and you can use it with windows 8.
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on 31 October 2012
The Gigabyte SKT-1155-D3H Motherboard is a good board at a reasonable price. Offering 3-way SLi or Crossfire graphics slots and supporting the latest generation of Intel CPU's, MSata and easy BIOS settings this motherboard offers amazing value for money.
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on 31 January 2013
I brought this for my custom pc build with an Intel 3570K processor and it works as soon as you press the power button.

3D bios, SATA 3, SATA 6 and Ivy Bridge support is fantastic. Delivery was earlier than expected.
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on 16 March 2013
This the first Gigabyte board i've purchased for my own system builds, typically I go for Asus.

So with that in mind, the motherboard is running perfectly and I've had no issues after 2 weeks of usage. The bios is highly configurable and easy to understand. Build quality is not as quite high as my previous Asus boards. Notably the rear connectors (USB, RJ45 etc) have a little too much flex when you plug into them, which is undesirable from a longevity point of view.

Other than that its an excellent motherboard that wins a lot of industry reviews for this price point.
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on 27 February 2013
I am new to pc's and this was my first pc build. I bought this mobo because it was competitively priced and had consistently good reviews. I can now see why, as even for a beginner like myself if found setting up my gaming pc with this mobo relatively easy and frustration free. My only set up niggle was that when installing W7 it couldn't identify the hard drive. However after flashing the bios using the F16 version on Gigabyte's website the problem was resolved. Apart from that I couldn't be happier, run all my games like a dream and stays cool too. 3D bios is also very beginner friendly.
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on 14 January 2013
After several hours reseaching a Motherboard, I opted for the Z77X-D3H. Easy to install and powered up with every thing working as it should.
Really pleased, delivery from Amazon direct was just a couple of days.
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on 22 May 2013
It is perfect for my computer build, I would recommend it to anyone who is building their own pc.

The other types of motherboard just have more features like wireless adapter built in, but if you're just going to use the ethernet then it's pointless.

It has enough space for my graphics card, sound card and my ethernet adaptor, and I could probably fit something else in too.

The USB 3.0 have been useful with my external HDD, they do make a difference
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on 10 March 2014
This is a solidly constructed motherboard for the money with lots of features to play with for beginners and the more seasoned PC users.
I bought this so I could stick in a cheap i5 with the potential of upgrading the CPU to an i7 as and when I need. The board is more than capable of this and, with all the overclocking features, is going to be a pretty solid performer for a good few years.
There really isn't a lot more to say about it. It's running well, it is well appointed with a slot for everything you could ever really want to run from it and if you build something cheaper on this board it leaves you plenty of scope to upgrade
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