Introduction and Features
Can Gigabyte leverage all the power of Sandy Bridge-E in their line of X79 boards?
Courtesy of Gigabyte
We are still making our way through an avalanche of X79 motherboards on our test bench that leverages the power of Sandy Bridge-E CPUs, but we didn’t want to wait any longer on powering up Gigabyte’s GA-X79-UD5 extended ATX motherboard. Gigabyte has really stepped up their game by offering optimized LGA 2011 for no-nonsense PC builders, hardware enthusiasts, serious overclockers, and even FPS/RPG PC gamers. Our review of the X79-UD5 is going to evaluate every aspect of the board’s ability to handle automatic and manual overclocking, DX10/DX11 gaming, and other synthetic and real-world benchmarks.
Courtesy of Gigabyte
The Gigabyte X79-UD5 motherboard takes full advantage of the new features available with the LGA 2011 platform and X79 Express chipset like the abiliy to use up to 64GBs of quad-channel memory via eight DIMMs and support for dual and triple AMD CrossfireX or NVIDIA SLI graphics card configurations for multi-monitor, high-definition gaming. These features should make ultra enthusiasts grin from ear to ear because they will probably be the ones who tandem this board with an Intel Core i7-3960X processor and dual NVIDIA GTX 680s graphics cards that were just released earlier this week. The $299 price tag on this board also places it right in the middle of the pack of LGA 2011 motherboards available on Newegg and other vendors.
Courtesy of Gigabyte
Gigabyte seemed to focus their efforts on power management optimizations to the X79-UD5’s voltage, phase, and frequency controls to offer overclockers more flexibility in how power is delivered to the CPU and other components. They even developed a new utility called 3D Power that monitors how the digital PWM routes power to the motherboard and helps users get the highest stable overclocks possible. One way Gigabyte is leveraging the computing power of Intel’s latest LGA 2011 processors and robust X79 Express chipset is by beefing up their dual BIOS technology to their new "3D BIOS", which adds a UEFI to bring users an entirely new BIOS experience that gives them unparalled control of their hardware.
Motherboard Features (from Gigabyte’s website)
GIGABYTE 3D Power
GIGABYTE X79 series motherboards are the first to take advantage of the exclusive GIGABYTE 3D Power, an all new hardware and software-based Digital Power Engine for both the PWM and Memory that delivers unprecedented power delivery control.
GIGABYTE 3D Power (patent pending) Utility
Users can now enjoy a fully interactive 3D utility that facilitates adjustment of the 3 dimensions that control the power delivery to your CPU and Memory: Voltage, Phase and Frequency. These parameters are crucial to how the digital PWM supplies power to critical areas of the motherboard and can help users quickly obtain the highest, most stable overclock.
UEFI DualBIOS Technology
At the heart of this exciting 3D BIOS technology is a pair of 8MB physical BIOS ROMs containing GIGABYTE’s exclusive in-house designed UEFI BIOS technology. With a superior graphical interface capable of 32-bit color imaging and fluid user-friendly mouse navigation, UEFI DualBIOS™ makes BIOS configuration a new and exciting experience for novice and experienced users alike. UEFI BIOS also brings native support for large hard drives on 64-bit operating systems.
4 Channel Memory on 8 slots
With a potential data bandwidth of up to 25GB/Sec and 256 Bits memory addressing, the Intel® X79 platform offers unrivalled memory performance. Supporting up to 64GB of DDR3 1600 memory (X79-UD5 only), GIGABYTE X79 series motherboards give you the ultimate performance for today’s memory-intensive applications.
Designed for PCI Express Gen.3 Support
The GIGABYTE motherboard is fully configured to provide gamers with the latest Gen.3 PCI Express technology, delivering maximum data bandwidth for forthcoming discrete graphics cards.
3-way CrossFireX™ and 3-way SLI™ Support
The GIGABYTE X79-UD5 is equipped to help extreme gamers see the enemy from distance, regardless of how bloody the battlefield, offering the utmost graphics flexibility and upgradeability with multiple GPU support, that includes three PCI Express slots for both AMD CrossFire™ X and Nvidia SLI™ technologies in 3-way discrete card configurations. The GIGABYTE X79-UD5 motherboard delivers maximum FPS, allowing gamers to see more clearly, aim faster, and move more quickly.
OC-Dual BIOS features a unique back-panel BIOS switcher and LED indicator, allowing users to select one BIOS for normal use, and another for specifically designated for overclocking. This means that if your overclocking configuration suffers from instability, you can easily revert to your stable settings if needed. With OC-Dual BIOS, users can also easily compare two different BIOS versions, a very useful feature when users want to update to a new BIOS, but don’t want to lose their original settings.
GIGABYTE Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi Card
With 2 kinds data transfer mode, GIGABYTE Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi Card providing spec 150 Mbps transfer rates, 802.11n supports the latest WiFi specifications for better signal coverage, and featuring the newest Bluetooth 4.0, you will not suffer from signal loss like before.
3x USB Power Boost
GIGABYTE motherboards feature a 3x USB power boost, delivering greater compatibility and extra power for USB devices. GIGABYTE’s unique USB power design is also able to efficiently regulate output over the full voltage range, which greatly enhances USB device compatibility. In addition, dedicated lower resistance fuses ensure lower voltage drops, and provide more stable and plentiful power delivery.
SuperSpeed USB 3.0
GIGABYTE motherboards boast SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology made possible through an additional onboard host controller. With superfast transfer rates of up to 5 Gbps, users are able to experience a theoretical 10x improvement over USB 2.0. Additionally, backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 assures users of long term use of their legacy USB 2.0 devices.
SATA 6 Gb/s
GIGABYTE motherboards are High-Speed SATA Revision 3.0 compatible, delivering superfast 6Gbps link speeds for twice the data transfer rates of SATA Revision 2.0 (3 Gbps). When used in RAID 0 (Stripe) mode, they offer even faster data transfer rates of up to a theoretical 4x the speed of current SATA interfaces.
GIGABYTE On/Off Charge
GIGABYTE X79 series motherboards feature ON/OFF Charge, a unique GIGAYTE technology which allows you not only to charge your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, but also allows you to Quick Charge it. As an added bonus, it can even be charged when your PC is turned off, so even if you forget to plug it into your charger after you’ve synced up your music, it will be fully charged when you need it.
GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 3
GIGABYTE X79 motherboards are equipped with the highest quality components that guarantee lower system temperatures, improved energy efficiency and enhanced stability for overclocking. GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 3 design features 2 ounces of copper for both the power and ground layers which dramatically lower system temperature. GIGABYTE’s Ultra Durable™ 3 also features Japanese made solid capacitors, PowerPAK MOSFETs and Ferrite Chokes which combine to offer lower motherboard temperatures, less wasted power and extended product longevity.