We’ll now move in for a closer look at the different features found on D3HP, starting with the socket area. This motherboard is of course designed to work with Intel’s 4th Generation of processors – Haswell. The socket is LGA1150 but has the mounting holes for LGA115X so if you have a cooler that has been used on another socket such as LGA1155 then it will work fine here too.
D3HP uses a 4-digital phase power design and has 8-pin EPS power for the CPU. As with other GIGABYTE Z87 motherboards the D3HP has only a single heatsink covering the MOSFETs – the top of the motherboard has plenty of available space; especially useful if you are planning to install a water-cooling radiator in the top of your computer chassis. GIGABYTE have furnished this motherboard with Ultra Durable 5+ components – black solid CAPs are featured throughout and the board itself has a 2x copper PCB GIGABYTE have placed dual CPU cooler fan headers at the top of the motherboard which we are very pleased to see, since most high-end air coolers (and ALCs) require dual fan power.
LGA1150 socket with8-pin EPS Power
Moving over to the memory slot region there is support for dual channel DDR3. D3HP can accommodate up to 32GB capacity and DDR-2600.
GIGABYTE have generously put dual USB 3.0 headers beside the 24-pin power in order to deliver front panel USB 3.0 connectivity at the front of your computer case.
Dual channel DDR3 support – up to 32GB
Further along the motherboard are six SATA 3 (6GB/s) ports. No longer do we have SATA 2, and since SATA 3 is backwards compatible older SATA 2 devices will work fine anyway, their speed will just be capped. All of these ports are controlled via Intel Z87.
Rather than have these ports facing away from the PCI-E slots (on a right angle) the ports are facing upwards – this could present more of a challenge for cable management.
Neighbouring the SATA ports are the dual BIOS chips – these two chips offer a safe haven should you get into any trouble. Having dual BIOS is especially useful nowadays and it is fast becoming a prerequisite, even on lower end motherboards like this one.
SATA 3 (6GB/s) ports – no SATA 2 present
GIGABYTE have used a large gun metal grey/blue heatsink for the Intel Z87 chip which is situated just next to the SATA ports. This heatsink is substantial and more than sufficient in dissipating unnecessary heat.
A large heatsink covers Intel Z87 chip
The PCI Express region on D3HP has a variety of different slots, supporting AMD CrossfireX. The following are available:
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot (Running @x16)
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (Running @x4)
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot
2 x PCI slots
So if you are using a single graphics card then it is best to use the top slot since this operates at x16. By using a dual graphics card configuration, the overall speed will drop to x4.
Different options for expansion slots
Lastly we come to the rear IO section, here there are plenty of ports to take advantage of, including the following:
1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
1 x D-Sub port
1 x DVI-D port
1 x HDMI port
6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 x RJ-45 port (Gigabit LAN)
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Side Speaker Out, Line In/Line Out, Microphone)
With Intel Haswell featuring an IGP there are outputs should the user require onboard graphics. Here there are three options to choose from, VGA, DVI and HDMI.
The Rear IO with lots of USB 3.0