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Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 Intel Z68 Motherboard Review

Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 Intel Z68 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Meet the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 motherboard, a non-integrated graphics take on the new Intel Z68 chipset. While the Intel Z68 is reknown for combining the best the Intel P67 & H67 chipsets had to offer in one platform...
 88% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Dec 30 2011   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3

The LucidLogix Virtu Question + Intel Z68 Chipset

For the record, if Intel's tepid integrated graphics performance in 3D games is anything to go by, not having onboard video ports really isn't much of a loss. Back to the question of LucidLogix's Virtu driver and the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 motherboard.

Virtu does not work on the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 motherboard because this particular board doesn't have any VGA/DVI/HDMI/DP video outputs. Thus, the computer doesn't see the Intel HD3000/2000 graphics and consequently the Virtu software will not install because only one GPU is detected. This is the error it throws up when installing Virtu v1.1.101.16713.

For the sake of argument, if you install LucidLogix Virtu on an Intel Z68 system that does have onboard video ports and then swap hard drives, Virtu will refuse to load up on the GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 motherboard because it doesn't detect integrated Intel graphics.

In short, Virtu isn't available to the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 motherboard. Gigabyte designed this platform for enthusiasts who its research says will never use Virtu + Intel IGP in place of pure performance oriented discreet videocards. Taking this approach to the Intel Z68 removes one of the more novel features of the chipset; the ability to use the LucidLogix Virtu driver to virtualize the integrated graphics core for transcoding acceleration. Of course if you don't care about transcoding, this is entirely a moot point.

Moving along, PCSTATS will be testing Intel Smart Response Technology, a rather nifty feature for users still clinging to mechanical hard drives.

Intel Z68 Chipset

Intel Chipset Comparison
Intel Z68 Express Intel P67 Express Intel H67 Express Intel X58 Express
CPU LGA 1155
Core i5/i7 2nd Gen.
LGA 1155
Core i5/i7 2nd Gen.
LGA 1155
Core i5/i7 2nd Gen.
LGA 1366
Core i7
Chipset Code Name Couger Point (65nm) Couger Point (65nm) Couger Point (65nm) Tylersburg (65nm)
Bus Interface / Speed DMI 20Gb/s DMI 20Gb/s DMI 20Gb/s QPI 25.6Gb/s
Memory Support DDR3-1333, dual channel DDR3-1333, dual channel DDR3-1333, dual channel DDR3 1066, triple channel
Maximum Memory Capacity 32GB (64-bit) 32GB (64-bit) 32GB (64-bit) 24GB (64-bit)
Integrated Graphics Yes. via CPU - Yes. via CPU -
Integrated Graphics Ports HDMI, DVI, DP, VGA - HDMI, DVI, DP, VGA -
PCI Express 2.0 Lanes 8 8 8 36
PCI Express x1 Lanes 0 0 0 6
Intel Rapid Storage Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intel Smart Response Technology Yes - - -
SATA 6Gb/s | SATA 3Gb/s | IDE Ports 2/4/0 2/4/0 2/4/0 0/6/0
RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10 (via ICH10R)
Intelgrated LAN 10/100/1000 MAC 10/100/1000 MAC 10/100/1000 MAC -
USB 3.0 Ports 0 0 0 0
USB 2.0 Ports 14 14 14 12
PCI Masters 0 0 0 6
Intel High Definition Audio Yes Yes Yes Yes

In addition to major changes like Intel FDI, the Intel Z68 continues support for SATA 6Gb/s devices and slowly increases the number of USB 2.0 ports. Still no USB 3.0 though... The final notable addition to the Intel Z68 is Intel Smart Response Technology.

PCSTATS is going to discuss Intel SRT in detail in the next section since there's a lot to go over. If you've been thinking about installing your operating system onto a Solid State Drive to speed things up, you're really going to really like this!

Intel Smart Response Technology for the Intel Z68 Chipset

Of all the Intel Z68 chipset features the most interesting is a new data caching tool called Intel Smart Response Technology, or 'Intel SRT' for short. In plain language, what Intel SRT does is bring about like-SSD performance to operating systems and applications installed on traditional mechanical SATA hard drives (HDD).

Intel SRT works by storing frequently accessed hard drive I/O data blocks on a dedicated SSD drive so that Windows can access data immediately from the SSD cache. The system is compatible with mSATA or standard SATA SSD devices, for PCSTATS tests we chose an Intel Larson Creek 311 SSD with a capacity of 20GB. The Intel SSDSA2VP020G2 is a 2.5" formfactor solid state drive made with 34nm SLC 'Compute NAND' memory.

Intel SRT cannot be applied to systems installed on an SSD already and it really only works for the boot disk/volume. Furthermore, applying Intel SRT to accelerate a secondary non-OS volume doesn't show much impact either. For an in-depth look at Intel SRT please see this PCSTATS article.

Intel's Smart Response Technology goes beyond just storing frequently accessed data on a quick SSD and works in conjunction with Intel's Rapid Storage Technology (Intel's built in RAID software) to apply a sort of RAID 0 rule to the data cached across the SSD and HDD. Although both Intel P67 and H67 chipsets use Intel Rapid Storage Technology, neither supports this new SSD caching tool.

Why would you need Intel Smart Response Technology?

Well, for those of us that cannot afford high capacity Solid State Drives or for whom SSD's haven't reached sufficient storage capacity, Intel SRT is an economical way to speed up application load times and generally make recurring application data much snappier.

As you'll see in the benchmarks on the next page, for about $100 bucks you can add a 20GB Intel 311 SSD to a motherboard like the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3, configure SRT and immediately enjoy a very real boost in speed to applications installed on a regular old HDD.

Here's what you'll need to set up Intel Smart Response Technology....

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 Intel Z68 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — The LucidLogix Virtu Question + Intel Z68 Chipset
 Pg 3.  Guide: Setting Up Intel SRT
 Pg 4.  Testing Intel SRT: PCMark Vantage HDD Suite
 Pg 5.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery: Features and Layout
 Pg 6.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery: Connectivity
 Pg 7.  Introducing Gigabyte Touch BIOS
 Pg 8.  Overclocking on the Intel Z68 Chipset
 Pg 9.  Sysmark 2007 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 10.  SiSoft Sandra: CPU Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 11.  Sandra: Memory Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 12.  PCMark Vantage Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 13.  3DMark 11 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 14.  3DMark Vantage Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 15.  3DMark 06 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 16.  FEAR Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 17.  System Power Draw and Final Conclusions

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