M.2 vs mSATA case study – Crucial M500 240GB & Plextor M6e 256GB
The second motherboard presented in this article comes from Gigabyte and is the top model from their classic series: Z97X-UD5H. This model can be found in retail also in the Black Edition flavor which is tested for enhanced reliability, but you must pay 10-15$ more for this feature.
Inside the black and yellow box we can find the bundle which is very basic: user’s manual, black SATA cables, DVD with drivers and utilities, flexible SLI bridge and the – always necessary – I/O shield.
The PCB is matte black while the heatsinks are a color at the edge of gold and yellow, looking pretty good anyway. The layout is clean with three 16x PCI-Express 3.0 slots, two 1x PCI-Express 2.0, two legacy PCI slots and one M.2 port.
In the upper right corner we can find the Power, Reset and Reset CMOS buttons together with a very useful Debug LED. In the same area we have also the voltage measure points and the switches for disabling the dual BIOS feature and for changing between the two BIOSes.
The integrated audio card is based on the usual Realtek ALC1150 having the PCB around it separated for a better shielding, having added also an OPAMP on the Line Out for better headphone control and amplification. Z97X-UD5H has two Gigabit LAN controllers: Killer E2200 and Intel. I will choose the Intel anytime but hey, that’s just me :).