At £160/$190 the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H is one of the more expensive of our launch Z77 boards, but still cheaper than Intel's DZ77GA-70K or Asus' Sabertooth Z77, and arguably better than both.

Key to the board's impressive debut is the serious feature-set it manages for the price.

Although it doesn't actually come with a drive as standard it still sports the teeny mSATA connection, like the Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3-iSSD before it.

That allows you to drop in a little 60GB SSD into the slot to link up with Intel's Smart Response Technology for drive caching loveliness.

Thanks to some clever Gigabyte tinkering you don't have to do any drive formatting for it to work either, just take your existing installation and plug a wee SSD into it.

The Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H also has every single display output sprouting from the backplate you could possibly want. Covering the analogue with a VGA port and catering for the digital crowd with either Dual-link DVI, HDMI or full DisplayPort.

So serious multi-monitor support from the onboard graphics alone.

But then when the gaming performance of the board is this good why would you bother sticking with the CPU graphics when you can throw a discrete card in there and watch it fly?

The Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H takes the top-honours in our benchmarks in discrete graphics tests, especially World in Conflict and elsewhere in Shogun 2.

The big test was always going to be against the Asus board as they historically do better in gaming tests, but the Gigabyte board manages to hold its own. Both this Z77X-UD5H board and the Asus were running at a standard Turbo of 3.9GHz, pushing them ahead of both the Intel and ASRock boards off the bat.

At those same Turbo frequencies the UD5H also comes out top against the P8Z77-V Pro across the rest of our benchmarking suite. It may only be by the tiniest of margins in each case, but the fact it can push ahead is testament to how much work Gigabyte has been putting into this Z77 design.

We liked

The straight-line performance of the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H is what immediately impressed us, and the overclocking performance backing it to the hilt too.

But it doesn't stop there either, this board comes with an incredible feature set, making it one of the best all-round Z77 boards available.

We disliked

Like the Asus board though we're disappointing with the lack of physical USB ports on the backplate. Again it supplies a secondary backplate mounting with another pair of USB 3.0 ports, but it still feels rather limited. And to make it up to the touted 10 USB 3.0 ports you need a further two extenders from the mobo which aren't supplied in the box.

Verdict

Still, that slight niggle aside, this is an excellent, well-priced, well laid out board that performs over and above what we would have expected from a £160 mobo from Gigabyte. An excellent return to form for Gigtabyte's motherboard division at a wallet-friendly price to boot.