Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
Festooned with features the new Gigabyte H77M-D3H most demonstrably is not. That much is obvious from the most cursory perusal of the rear panel, for instance.
If it's a home theatre rig based on DVI connectivity, why spend more? Simply drop in your Intel chip of choice, some memory and some storage and you're pretty much good to go. Performance at stock clocks is also good enough that you won't notice the gap to pricier motherboards.
Flexibility isn't the Gigabyte H77M-D3H's strongest point. Partly that's thanks to the limitations Intel has placed on the H77 chipset. But Gigabyte has also cut a few corners to hit its price target. If you're planning a system that can turn its hand to almost any task, frustration is likely.
Where the Asus P8H77-M Pro has every imaginable video output option, along with tasty extras such as an optical S/PDIF port and eSATA, the Gigabyte H77M-D3H looks slightly sorry for itself. You don't even get 6.1 analogue sound connectivity, which could be considered an oversight on a motherboard that ostensibly should appeal most to movie buffs.
Of course, there's another way of looking at all that. For starters, DisplayPort is pretty much irrelevant to home theatre larks, so why pay for it? The same goes for extra analogue sound sockets and the optical S/PDIF port.
In practice, most users will simply plug into the HDMI port and syphon off video and audio in digital formats, job done. If that's your plan, you won't care about the missing features. That said, it's always handy to have an eSATA port for heaving large video files on and off.
And you could argue that £15/$30 isn't a lot more to pay for having the option of future flexibility and more features. You never know when your needs might change or if you may want to put a given system to a different use.
Moreover, like any H77 board, its general appeal isn't that broad. You can't overclock it and multi-GPU support is limited to AMD's CrossFireX platform. If you had no intention to overclock or go with SLI, it wouldn't actually make a bad gaming platform. But we prefer to have more options available.
Given a narrow enough remit, this may be all the 7 Series board you really need.
Technology and cars. Increasingly the twain shall meet. Which is handy, because Jeremy (Twitter) is addicted to both. Long-time tech journalist, former editor of iCar magazine and incumbent car guru for T3 magazine, Jeremy reckons in-car technology is about to go thermonuclear. No, not exploding cars. That would be silly. And dangerous. But rather an explosive period of unprecedented innovation. Enjoy the ride.