FINAL THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSIONS
Just a few years ago, a budget friendly board like the Z97-D3H from Gigabyte may not have even made it onto my list of contenders when researching a new motherboard for a system. However, in just a few years budget boards have come quite a long way. No longer are budget boards cut down to the bare minimum and barely scrape by. The Z97-D3H features some of the same software and hardware features as some of their premium offerings.
The Z97-D3H comes equipped with the new SATA Express and M.2 connectors, which are essentially the same thing just a different form factor of each other. The new SATA Express works much like a combination of SATA and PCI Express and is actually able to produce almost 70% more bandwidth, allowing for much faster transfer rates. M.2 SSD’s run off of the same PCI Express lanes as SATA Express, but are much smaller and are slot loaded, much like mSATA or mini PCI Express.
Gigabyte has absolute exceeded my expectations with the Z97-D3H. I am so surprised that I am able to get so much performance out of a motherboard that comes with a price tag of under $120! M.2 SSD, SATA Express, and multi-GPU compatibility are things you wouldn’t expect to find on such an entry level motherboard, yet Gigabyte has managed to cram all of these things and more into this fantastic motherboard!