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Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3-ISSD review

This motherboard has a built-in SSD to help improve performance

Our Verdict

For

  • Onboard SSD
  • Quality board design

Against

  • Single output for graphics
  • Very niche product

Gigabyte has wasted no time in producing boards using the new Z68 chipset, in fact you could say they have gone slightly overboard with the excitement of it all, as they have no less that 20 motherboards currently in their line-up.

That said it has almost entirely pulled out of the P67 platform, seeing the Z68 as its demise. The plan is to only produce one P67 mobo going forward.

Sitting amongst the awkwardly named Z68 line-up though are five boards (GA-Z68XP-UD3, GA-Z68XP-D3, GA-Z68AP-D3, GA-Z68P-DS3 GAZ68XP-UD3-iSSD) which all have one thing in common; they are the first desktop boards to be fitted with mSATA connections on the PCB.

This allows the mounting of a small form factor SSD to work alongside Intel's Smart Response Technology (SRT) and of the five, only the GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD comes with a drive already in place.

The drive bundled with the board comes in the shape of one of Intel's new 20GB MLC 311 series SSDs.

Smarten up

Gigabyte z68xp ud3 issd

Intel's Smart Response Technology (SRT) enables you to use a small SSD together with a mechanical drive in a dynamic RAID array to, purportedly, improve system performance. The SSD caches the most commonly accessed files giving these files a faster fetch time. This drive is positioned between the CPU socket and the first x16 PCI-e graphics slot.

Gigabyte's take on this tech with this mobo is interesting as it supplies the SSD already installed. There are cheaper mSATA-ready alternatives offering the option to add in a teeny SSD as an SRT drive later on.

Thanks to the way Gigabyte creates its SRT setup it doesn't need you to wipe your drives and start afresh, unlike most of the competitors.

The board supports two x16 PCI-e slots but as they are just running off the chipset with no third-party controller they wont operate at full speed in dual-GPU configuration. With a single card it will run at full speed but chuck in a second and both slots drop to x8/x8.

Although the board comes with a multitude of memory options in the BIOS for the integrated graphics, when it comes to outputting the signal it's very limited. In comparison with the other Z68 boards (and any other H67 mobo) the one HDMI port looks rather miserly.

Another deficiency that stands out is the single heatsink on the power components, especially for a board aimed somewhat at the enthusiast. This is down to the PCB design which uses 2oz of copper, which together with the high-end power components dramatically cuts the amount of heat generated.

Sadly that didn't help in the overclocking stakes as we managed a relatively lowly 4.5GHz from our 2600K.

Tech Labs

Tech labs

Bench 1

Bench 2

Bench 3

Bench 4

This isn't a board for everyone, but if SRT appeals to you, and you can't afford a serious SSD, the Z68XP-UD3-iSSD is an interesting option.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelZ68 Express
Multi GPU SupportedSLI, CrossFireX
Onboard VideoCPU Dependent Video
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots1
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket H2 LGA-1155
Brand NameGigabyte
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedCore i5, Core i7, Core i3, Pentium Dual-core, Celeron
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory32 GB
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots2
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces8
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots7
HDMIYes
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports1
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports10
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
Total Number of FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports8
Number of Onboard USB 2.0 Ports6
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots5
Memory Form FactorDIMM
Processor TechnologyEnhanced SpeedStep Technology, Turbo Boost Technology
Width305 mm
Depth244 mm
ManufacturerGIGABYTE Technology, Inc
Product ModelGA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD
Product NameUltra Durable 3 GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD Desktop Motherboard
Product LineUltra Durable 3
Controller TypeSerial ATA/300, Serial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part NumberGA-Z68XP-UD3-ISSD
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.giga-byte.com
Marketing Information

The GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD motherboard, based on the Intel Z68 Express Chipset and supporting the new 2nd generation Intel Core processors. Delivering the very best that Intel 6 series chipsets have to offer, including a significant performance boost with Intel Smart Response Technology, pre-bundled with the 20GB Intel Solid-State Drive 311 Series, and GIGABYTE's proprietary Touch BIOS technology, GIGABYTE Z68 series motherboards put users in the driver seat, allowing them to take total control over how their system operates and performs to best match their individual computing needs.

Package Contents
  • Ultra Durable 3 GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD Desktop Motherboard
  • Motherboard Driver Disk
  • User's Manual
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • 4 x SATA Cables
  • I/O Shield
  • 1 x 2-Way SLI Bridge Connector
  • SSD 20 GB