Some days ago I got my hands on the Gigabyte H110-D3A motherboard. I never reviewed a Gigabyte Mobo before since I always worked with AsRock and Biostar gear. However, I thought it is about time to give Gigabyte some love too, since their new motherboard seems rather promising.
The GA-H110-D3A is the latest MoBo issued by Gigabyte. It is meant to work with the newest Intel CPU’s and it supports DDR4 RAM and the newest M.2 Storage, which is five times faster than SATA 3.
The motherboard came well-packaged in a box, with all the instructions and needed cables inside. The packaging quality reminded me of that of a high-end GPU, which was quite nice. The motherboard isn’t either heavy or lightweight, but it does feel solid.
I am testing it with the components I have right now, and I will be making a fully-functional mining rig of it soon – it takes some time for the new GPUs/CPU/PSU to arrive at my place.
As for today, the mobo keeps working as expected without any kind of issues.
While the motherboard was designed for general purposes, I thought that it could perfectly fit a mining rig too for several reasons:
It supports up to 6 GPUs by having 1 PCI-E x16 slot and 5 PCI-E x1 slots;
It features enhanced protection thanks to glass fabric PCB. PCB stands for Printed Circuit Board, which is the part of the motherboard that connects all the core components. It is usually very susceptible to moisture, temperature and other physical effects, therefore some extra protection is always welcome. It is also worth considering that usually mining rigs have open cases, thus a better protected MoBo is, again, more than welcome.
Besides glass fabric anti-moisture cover, the motherboard features electrostatic, power failure and high temperature protection. While all modern motherboards come with some sort of damage-preventing mechanisms, it looks like Gigabyte took this topic rather seriously and provided this motherboard with high-end safety mechanisms.
There are more things that make me believe that the GA-H110-D3A is a decent motherboard for mining. Let me explain some things with a bit more detail:
It is a well-known fact that GPU hashrate depends on many factors. Therefore, some people refer to hashrate as a sort of lottery. While this is true, there are ways to reduce the risks of GPU hashrate drops by lowering EMI (electromagnetic interferences). Here is where the GA-H110-D3A looks promising as well.
The motherboard features twice as thicker PCB tracker paths, which allows it to handle more power loads and emanate less EMI radiation. While this is achieved by spending twice more copper per motherboard, the results might be worth the money.
A faulty capacitor can ruin the whole show. One dead or leaking capacitor might do a lot of harm to your mining rig; it might cause hashrate loses, interferences, power drops and even complete failure of one of the motherboard components. The worst part – it might take a while for you to find out that one of the motherboard capacitors failed.
I think you will agree that it is crucial to choose a motherboard with good capacitors. This is where the brand of the capacitors is more important that the one of the motherboard itself. The Gigabyte GA-H110-D3A features Black solid capacitors made in Japan. I congratulate Gigabyte for this decision – I had my share of trouble caused by cheap capacitors, and I really appreciate to have a mobo that should be virtually immune to this kind of issues.
It is no rocket science that GPU rigs produce lot of heat. It is advisable that you use USB risers to keep the GPUs a bit farther from the motherboard; even then, having the MoBo work 24/7 months non-stop puts a great pressure on its components. It looks like Gigabyte thought of that and provided the GA-H110-D3A with enhanced cooling system. Heatsinks are placed on such a way that they dissipate heat from the hottest parts, plus they are bigger than the ones you will find on most other motherboards.
Mosfets are one of the components that generate the most heat on a motherboard; Gigabyte used lower RDS(on) mosfets which are less susceptible to heat, which means that they are usually very durable and will less likely fail during summer, when the heat emanated by GPUs is combined with the elevated ambient temperature.
In other words, why do I take the time to explain all of this? You see, every motherboard comes with a lot of bold claims written on the box. Stuff like “premium quality components” and “high-end power chips” can be found on any MoBo box. What I realized is that most of those claims are true. The issue is – marketers try to make even the tiniest pro sound as if it was a groundbreaking unique feature; which is not always the case.
That’s why I took the time to research a bit more about the features of the GA-H110-D3A. I have ignored the lesser and most common traits, while focusing on what I believe are the ones you can’t find in most other mobos.
Lately, Biostar and AsRock released some motherboards that are meant for mining alone. Of course, those mobos can still be used for, say, a gaming rig, but they virtually have no features that would make them attractive for that purpose. However, the GA-H110-D3A offers several traits that make it a great choice both for miners and for gamers. It supports new-gen GPU’s; it features the M.2 Storage system which is 5 times faster than SATA 3, as mentioned above. Plus, you can also count on enhanced audio and GbE LAN with cFosSpeed systems that allow you to enjoy more priority and thus less lag in networks.
All of this means that even if you decide to quit GPU mining, you can still re-sell the motherboard to gamers and get part of your money back. I am sure that this motherboard will remain in the top category for several years on.
As for now, I am happy with my new acquisition. Motherboards are the kind of hardware that you have to trust. They are the backbone of any mining rig, so it better be a strong and sturdy one.
I really hope to keep mining with my GA-H110-D3A-based rig. As I mentioned earlier, soon I will be able to mount a fully functional mining rig on the mobo, so stay tuned, because there is no way I’m not documenting that!
Bios & Software
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