GIGABYTE B75M-D3H Review with Small Business Advantage
Today I take a close look at one of GIGABYTEís Small Business Advantage Motherboards and go over some of the more intricate details of its build quality and performance. Within Intelís 7 series chipsets Intel added the B75 chipset, to target the needs of its business class users. Intel has actually teamed up with its motherboard partners to deliver a line of motherboards to target the needs of small businesses and consumers who want the control an average user might not seek. Intel realized that there is a class of users out there who donít need the very expensive content creation PCs, which cost as much as a used car, but who also need the performance and reliability which isnít offered by entry level systems out there today. With the economy being where it is today, a small business owner is looking for more ways to do-it-themselves and reduce costs while retaining the resources needed to expand their enterprise. To do this with their office or home network might require a small learning curve, but one that is simplified by the use of the right hardware and support.
Many people are afraid of building their own computers and even more afraid of downtime caused by issues they do not know how to fix, the majority of those concerns are hardware related. That brings us to the most important piece of hardware in a computer when it comes to reliability and dependability, and that is the motherboard. A computer is nothing but a bunch of different pieces; memory, drives, processor, and graphics all connected together by the motherboard. The motherboard is what connects them all together and makes magic; it provides power to the CPU and the memory which is extremely important, it provides the signal integrity needed to make the system work, and it provides the ability to totally monitor and control every access point of the system at a hardware level. If a stick of memory goes bad or a CPU dies then they can be replaced, but more times than not what goes bad hardware wise in a system is the motherboard. GIGABYTE has always been a leader in motherboard quality; even if their motherboards didnít have some fancy feature that a competitorís board offered, they would still beat their competitor in product quality and that was what brought GIGABYTEís performance into the spot light.
Today will be a bit different from my overclocking reviews, as the B75 chipset doesnít allow CPU overclocking, so I will take a look into GIGABYTEís new Ultra Durable 4 design, I will go over the small business advantage features, and I will give the board the run through. I have pretty high expectations going into this review as GIGABYTE has labeled the B75M-D3H a ďGIGABYTE Stable ModelĒ and given it the GIGABYTE stamp of reliability, so letís see what makes it so reliable.
- Box, Accessories, Layout and Design(Ultra Durable 4 Analysis Included)
- Circuitry Analysis
- Dual BIOS, and how to Update your BIOS through Windows and UEFI/BIOS(Video):
- BIOS/UEFi Overview
- Small Business Advantage Overview
- Benchmark Performance
- I/O Performance (USB 3.0, SATA6G, and Audio)
- Included Software
Box, Accessories, Layout with Ultra Durable 4 Analyses
The box is filled with information on the backside, while on the front GIGABYTE advertises their build quality which is a pretty rare thing to find on the front side of a motherboard of this price.
The accessory kit is very limited yet compete, we have everything from driver/software DVD to SATA6GB/s cables to an I/O shield. There are two manuals, one from quick installation and another which is more complete goes over CPU and memory installation as well as a UEFI/BIOS walkthrough and settings explanation. There is even a block diagram of the motherboard included.
The motherboard comes in anti-static bag, but we saved some pixels and decided not to photograph it. The motherboard has a blue PCB, which screams GIGABYTE built, and its layout is very standard for a mATX motherboard. There is a 5 phase VRM, 3+1+1 phases for an Ivy Bridge (3000 series) or Sandy Bridge (2000 series) CPU. We have a nice slot layout, 4 DIMMs, color coded for memory placement (white slots first). The PCI-E slots are well laid out as well, the first lot contains all of the 16x PCI-E 3.0 lanes that an Ivy Bridge CPU would provide, and then the last PCI-E slot is a 4X slot from the PCH. There are a total of 2 fan headers, one for an air cooler on the CPU and one for a front case fan.
Here we can see the backpanel, everything is pretty standard. We have two USB 3.0 ports from the Intel PCH. In fact most of the connectivity is directly from the B75 PCH(Platform controller hub/chipset), there really is no 3rd party SATA or USB controller and that is a good thing. The audio is a bit limited, however I am sure you would rather have your employees working and listening to music.
So Ultra Durable 4 talks about Anti-Static technology so your board doesnít get shocked, and then it talked about anti-surge technology so you board doesnít get burnt by lightning or a faulty PSU. But there are actual ICs that GIGABYTE has implemented just to deal with over voltage by the PC and the user to the PC.
There is an anti-surge IC located heat the 24-pin connector which can resist a huge spike in voltage caused by lightning or a bad power supply. There are also many anti-static ICs which help protect the board from discharge from a person, even when they plug in a USB device. Then GIGABYTE adds one fuse per USB port for two reasons. First if a USB port is shocked and killed its fuse goes out and it dies. On the majority of other boards (non-GIGABYTE), a set of USB ports, usually four, are hooked to one fuse. If a USB device kills a port, then the whole back panel would go out, but on the GIGABTYE boards only one port will go out. Also the one fuse per port allows a lower resistance fuse to be used which can allow faster USB device charging.
This motherboard has a single 4-pin 12v plug for the CPU, and the fan connector for the CPU fan is located around the lower part of the CPU socket. The battery compartment is also located there so you can change out the battery if need be. The USB 3.0 front panel header is located right below the 24-pin connector which is a great location for it.
Here we have the bottom half of the motherboard, you can see all of the port headers on the bottom of the board. We have 4 SATA3GB/s in blue, and then a right angle connector, one of those ports is SATA6GB/s and one is SATA3GB/s. There is also a fan connector located at the bottom of the 24-pin power connector. The front panel headers are on the edge of the board; to the left of it are two USB 2.0 internal headers in blue, a TPM module header, an LPT/Parallel port header, then a COM/serial port header, and then your front panel audio outputs. The bottom most PCI-E port is a 4x electrical. Two PCI slots are provided through the PCH.
With this board, since it is mATX, size restrictions require the user to install memory modules before a long graphics adapter is installed. However most users wonít use a gaming GPU so this wonít be an issue.
I love doing this section because I really enjoy looking at different types of hardware. In this case we have a pretty small form factor motherboard, so it is always interesting to see how motherboard manufactures implement things like the voltage regulator modules which are very important.
Modern day microprocessors require a lot of power, yet they require it at a low voltage and high current. Thus the need for buck converters drives motherboard manufacturers to optimize the voltage regulator for consumer motherboards that entail overclocking. However Intel has its own standard designs, which dictate phase count, and this motherboard abides by that specification. Each phase provides power which can be added to the power provided by the other phases. The CPU is provided different voltages for different parts of the CPU, the VCore provides the general power input for the CPUís Cores, the iGPU VR provides power for the internal graphics processor, and the VTT/SA provides power to the System Agent which contains the memory controller. There is also a linear regulator which provides power for the CPU PLL, which is the clock generator, but it doesnít use much power. Here are the components used:
A PWM controls the voltage regulator, and an analog PWM provides very good efficiency, and thus one is used here. This one is very new and has a lot of integrated drivers which control each phase individually, however there was a need for 1 extra phase so GIGABYTE added an extra driver and extra MOSFETs for an extra phase. GIGABYTE is using 100% solid polymer Japanese capacitors which provide 50,000 hours of running life, which trumps that of the older electrolytics we see on a lot of entry level motherboards. What is interesting to note is that the same type of Sanyo brand name OS-CON capacitor is used on the entire board, while many manufactures will use them only for the voltage regulators. Brand name Japanese capacitors are by far one of the most expensive components used, so it is a good sign to see them used throughout the board.
Now we will venture over to the other components, first of all the PCH:
This is the Intel B75 chipset/PCH. Intel switched from using a two chip chipset design to a single one they call a platform controller hub. Many of the functions of the chipsets were integrated into the CPU, and the rest has been integrated into the PCH. This chipset has a 6.7w TDP and that is why it has a heatsink. It supports all the features its Q77 big brother supports, but it cuts down on some of the redundant ports you might not need.
Here we have all the IC(integrated circuits)s used on this board. They support a wide variety of functionality from audio to providing the extra connection ports such as the COM/serial and LPT/parallel. The B75 boards for small business need extra ports which normal users might not use, and they are provided by these chips.
Two BIOS ROMs provides redundancy, and is something you never find on a board of this price or on any consumer brand product.
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