GIGABYTE H97-Gaming 3 Review – More often than not, gamers are always happy to buy a gaming motherboard that comes with an array of bells and whistles, but what if all you want is a gaming motherboard that does one thing, and one thing well? GIGABYTE may have just the thing for you with its GIGABYTE H97-Gaming 3 motherboard.
The H97-Gaming 3 comes equipped with the standard four DDR3 DIMM slots, capable of supporting memory configurations of up to 32GB of 1,333 and 1,600MHz memory modules. As far as SATA slots are concerned, the motherboard has six SATA 3 6.0Gbps connectors, one SATA Express 10.0Gbps connector and one M.2 SATA PCIe connector. The H97-Gaming 3 has two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, which allows it to run a dual- GPU build, however this is only limited to the use of AMD’s CrossFireX dual-GPU configuration. As far as I/O ports at the back are concerned, the motherboard has six USB ports, four of which are USB 3.0, with the other two being USB 2.0, four video out ports which consists of one VGA, one DVI-D, one HDMI and one DisplayPort.
For LAN connections, GIGABYTE has decided to go with the Killer E2200 gaming network port. The main focus of this motherboard comes in the form its audio technology. The H97-Gaming 3 has been fitted with GIGABYTE’s AMP-UP audio technology, which includes the usage of the Realtek ALC1150 audio codec that is capable of supporting 7.1 audio playback, and independent stereo output via the front panel. Not only that, thanks to the built-in audio amplifier, it is also capable of driving headphones that have a high level of impedence, up to 600 ohm in fact, which require a lot of power to properly use. As far as performance is concerned, the H97-Gaming 3 did very well when we tested it with benchmarks, HD video decoding and even some gaming. Despite being a slightly downgraded version, the motherboard can still be used to build a powerful rig.
If you’re looking to do some overclocking GIGABYTE has also bundled the motherboard together with a software called EasyTune, which features a simple-to-use interface that allows you to tweak system and memory clocks in a Windows desktop environment. There is also the Smart Quick Boost feature that automatically overclocks your system with the click of a mouse button. If you’re looking for a no-frills gaming motherboard, the GIGABYTE H97- Gaming 3 is one to consider.
- Good performance out of the box
- Great audio features
- Easy overclocking options, if needed
- Only supports AMD
- CrossFireX multi-GPU configuration
- SATA ports disabled when M.2 slot is in use
- Lack of rear USB ports
GIGABYTE H97-Gaming 3 Specification
- CPU Support: Intel Core Processor
- CPU Socket: LGA 1150
- Chipset: Intel H97 Chipset
- Memory Type: Dual Channel Memory