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Three of Gigabyte's Z97 Motherboards Revealed

By - Source: TechPowerUp

Gigabyte has revealed three shiny new Z97 motherboards.

Gigabyte is showing off a number of its upcoming motherboards – three to be precise. While the numbering on some of the images is blurred out, it's fairly safe to assume that the release is all about the Z97X0-UD5H-BK, the Z97X-UD7 TH and the Z97X-SOC FORCE. These motherboards are all based on the next generation of chipsets from Intel and will therefore have support for not only the Haswell refresh processors, but also the existing Haswell processors. The whole lot also has support for CrossFire and SLI graphics configurations.

There's also a connector for the new SATA-Express standard on these mobos, and the Z97X-UD5H-BK has an M.2 slot beside the "10 Gb/s" marking, which makes it very clear that this M.2 slot does not run over a SATA3 (6 Gb/s) interface. The Z97X-UD7 TH comes with Thunderbolt 2 support, as the name implies.

Lastly, the Z97X-SOC FORCE is the board primed for overclocking in this lineup. Besides an additional 4-pin EPS connector, it also has one more PCIe x16 slot compared to the other two boards.

More details have yet to surface, but this does give us a pretty good idea of what Gigabyte's lineup will look like. Stay tuned for more when the motherboards officially get released.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Add your comment Display 26 Comments.
  • 0 Hide
    exar333 , April 24, 2014 6:20 PM
    Should the Z97X-UD5H-BK comment say it DOES run above (instead of does not) the SATA3 6GB/s port?
  • 2 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , April 24, 2014 6:44 PM
    No. It's saying that the M.2 port doesn't use SATA3; it uses PCIe.
  • 2 Hide
    laststop311 , April 24, 2014 8:25 PM
    that 10gb/s m2 port should come on all of the boards.
  • 5 Hide
    CBHorn , April 24, 2014 8:58 PM
    Quote:
    that 10gb/s m2 port should come on all of the boards.


    +1, that's the only really good feature Z97 has over Z87
  • 1 Hide
    CaptainGunny , April 24, 2014 9:46 PM
    Why the 9 blurred out?
  • 1 Hide
    jasonelmore , April 24, 2014 9:55 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    that 10gb/s m2 port should come on all of the boards.


    +1, that's the only really good feature Z97 has over Z87


    yeah but they need to make sure they put it on the mini ITX/micro ATX boards. These big boards are gonna go in big cases, and m.2 ssd is not needed with thunderbolt on my asus boards
  • 0 Hide
    sha7bot , April 24, 2014 10:19 PM
    Quote:
    Why the 9 blurred out?


    Gigabyte is under NDA/Embargo. Tom's hardware isn't.
  • 3 Hide
    de5_Roy , April 25, 2014 1:11 AM
    censoring, really? it's like blurring the nose, thinking no one will recognize the face. you can just zoom in on the mobo images and see the model number over the 1st pcie x16 slot.
  • 0 Hide
    soundping , April 25, 2014 3:53 AM
    AMD?
  • 0 Hide
    azzazel_99 , April 25, 2014 4:32 AM
    That black edition doe. Very nice!
  • 0 Hide
    socialassassin , April 25, 2014 6:55 AM
    A closer look as well as a couple more boards...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fRvPc0a_Ko
  • 0 Hide
    de5_Roy , April 25, 2014 7:11 AM
    asrock did smarter(!), they blurred the model numbers on the motherboard images as well as on packaging. LOL
    http://www.techpowerup.com/200206/asrock-9-series-motherboard-lineup-detailed.html
  • 3 Hide
    Chris Droste , April 25, 2014 10:31 AM
    i wish they'd make the future upcoming 9-series MicroATX boards with the PCIe 1x slot spaced far enough away from the 16x/3.0/grfx card slot so i can actually put something in it with a double-height video card installed without them being less than 2mm apart. that would be really nice.
  • 2 Hide
    ekagori , April 25, 2014 1:16 PM
    Z97 seems like a decent upgrade for anyone that absolutely needs to upgrade now, mostly for the lower cpu temps of the Haswell refresh and that M.2 slot. I'm still waiting for DDR4.
  • 1 Hide
    josejones , April 25, 2014 3:15 PM
    In general, the Z97 mobo line-up is a monumental disappointment. I see no reason to get excited or motivated to buy at all.

    "In comparison to the Intel Z87 Chipset Diagram illustrated above, the hard architecture remains identical. The Intel Haswell desktop CPU still delivers up to 16 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes for direct GPU connectivity, and includes an additional 4 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes. Intel Z97-Express doesn’t deliver additional PCIe lanes beyond what Z87 did, nor does it deliver native USB 3.0 support. Z97 offers the same 5GT/s bandwidth for up to 8 PCI Express 2.0 lanes. Intel Z97-based motherboards still allow PCI-Express 3.0 ports to be configured as 1 x16, 2 x8, or 1 x8 and 2 x4 lanes."

    http://benchmarkreviews.com/15389/whats-new-intel-z97-motherboards/?cbg_tz=420

    I feel sorry for those duped into buying this new Z97 hoax.

    Where's:

    DDR 4
    DisplayPort 1.3
    HDMI 2.0
    PCI-E 4.0
    Thunderbolt 40g/ps
    DirectX 12
    SATA 4
  • 0 Hide
    SR-71 Blackbird , April 26, 2014 7:42 PM
    Nice looking boards.Flashy.
  • 0 Hide
    mapesdhs , April 27, 2014 6:29 PM

    Blimey... I'm not one for keeping up with the latest chipsets, but even I'm surprised
    Z97 doesn't have native USB3. How long has it been since mbd makers were
    providing USB3 via some other means for older chipsets? All the way back to P55
    and X58 I believe. So many iterations of new chipsets and Intel still hasn't added
    USB3 (equally as slow adding a decent number of native SATA3 ports). Very odd.

    Personally I don't like the low no. of PCIe lanes. Seems like there's now nothing
    akin to the way X58 came across when it first came out, and I can't count X79,
    it's too old with numerous missing features. I don't get why Intel hasn't moved
    on from only 16 lanes for mainstream chipsets, given what mbd makers end up
    trying to do with them, inevitably using PLEX switches or somesuch to provide
    x16/x16 or x8/x8/x8/x8 functionality. I get Intel not upping it to as many lanes
    as X79, but why not something inbetween like 32?

    Feels like Intel is just plodding along atm. My prediction: PC games will suffer
    from terrible CPU bottlenecks within 2 years unless Intel either decides to
    really move things on once more, or a rival finally produces something that
    provides real competition (alas, neither is likely given current trends). Notice
    how sites like toms already have to oc a CPU to review the latest GPUs, etc.
    We keep hearing that declining PC sales are due to tablets, etc., but I think
    it might be equally because the desktop tech simply isn't moving on fast
    enough to warrany an upgrade from existing configurations - certainly not on
    performance grounds anyway. Take a decent P67/Z68, 2700K, oc to 5GHz
    (I've done this four times now on the cheap), fit modern GPUs; compare
    gaming performance to the latest Z87/HW, the differences are irrelevant,
    and the CPU differences are pointless aswell.

    I think there's now an untapped market of people who would gladly spend
    solid money on decent new kit, if only there were something worth buying,
    but there just isn't.

    Ian.

  • 0 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , April 27, 2014 6:38 PM
    Um. 7-, 8-, and (I would assume) 9-series chipsets have native USB3. Also, 8-series chipsets on have all 6 SATA ports as 6Gb/s.

    The reason LGA115x isn't advancing is that if it was, no-one would ever buy LGA2011. Because there's very little that needs that much processing power. Remember that we're not even bothering to recommend the 4770K over the 4670K.
  • 0 Hide
    mapesdhs , April 28, 2014 2:14 AM
    Someone Somewhere writes:
    > Um. 7-, 8-, and (I would assume) 9-series chipsets have native USB3. Also, 8-series ...

    As I understand it, these USB3 ports are not part of the Intel chipset, eg. on the Asrock
    Z87 Extreme4 they are controlled by an ASMedia chip.


    > ... chipsets on have all 6 SATA ports as 6Gb/s.

    More of them are Intel, but it took them long enough, and such boards still use other
    much slower controllers for extra ports.


    > The reason LGA115x isn't advancing is that if it was, no-one would ever buy LGA2011. ...

    Nonsense. :D  There's no 6-core option for the boards you're referring to, and besides,
    that's a self-enforcing catch22, since that definition sales of both would be improved
    simply by advancing both lines, which in reality neither have advanced much since X58
    and P67.


    > Because there's very little that needs that much processing power. ....

    (spoken like a true gamer. ;D)

    Depends on your main task. Mine is various kinds of research (atm, AE) with just a bit of
    gaming on the side. Nobody with half a clue uses any of the max-4-core chipsets for AE.


    > Remember that we're not even bothering to recommend the 4770K over the 4670K.

    For anyone with an existing SB, I see little utility in either of them.

    Sounds to me like you're defending Intel's lazy approach to this. Strange.

    Ian.



  • 0 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , April 28, 2014 2:31 AM
    Quote:
    As I understand it, these USB3 ports are not part of the Intel chipset, eg. on the Asrock Z87 Extreme4 they are controlled by an ASMedia chip.

    The 7-series chipsets had 4 USB3.0 ports built in, the 6-series has 6 ports. Those are directly on the chipset silicon.

    Any above that need to be supplied by add-on chips. Which only happens on the very high end boards.

    Quote:
    More of them are Intel, but it took them long enough, and such boards still use other much slower controllers for extra ports.

    Because there's no point for Intel to devote more silicon to extra SATA ports that will almost never be used, which would push down the margins on the 99% of the market which uses the cheaper chipsets.

    For the absolutely tiny percentage of people who actually need more than 6, they may as well get a full RAID controller card, IMO. And yes, all those 6 are again directly on the chipset. Plus, do bulk storage drives really care about a few hundred microseconds more latency?

    Quote:
    Nonsense. :D  There's no 6-core option for the boards you're referring to, and besides, that's a self-enforcing catch22, since that definition sales of both would be improved simply by advancing both lines, which in reality neither have advanced much since X58
    and P67.

    If they advanced the enthusiast (i.e. Core i7) side of LGA2011, then people would not buy as many of the Xeons for workstation purposes. Which would really hurt their cashflow.

    Hopefully that will change somewhat with Haswell-E, now that Ivy-EP has added 50% more cores to the server/ws market.

    Quote:
    (spoken like a true gamer. ;D)

    Depends on your main task. Mine is various kinds of research (atm, AE) with just a bit of gaming on the side. Nobody with half a clue uses any of the max-4-core chipsets for AE.

    You're in the minority on needing more than 4 cores, really. And in the WS market which they want to force onto Xeon.

    Quote:
    For anyone with an existing SB, I see little utility in either of them.

    Same here. But for a new build or nehalem+earlier, you may as well go for the latest, which gets you nice features like onboard SATA 6Gb/s and USB3.

    Quote:
    Sounds to me like you're defending Intel's lazy approach to this. Strange.

    I'd call it prudent. Adding features that will never be used to the mainstream chipsets is a waste of money, and splitting Z87 into its own piece of silicon would be even more of a waste of money.

    About the only thing I'd really agree on is that X79 is far behind. But that should change soon enough with Haswell-E, and there's no shortage of PCB on the mostly full-ATX LGA2011 boards, unlike mITX where onboard stuff is essential.
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