Power Consumption and Conclusion
Power management is becoming an increasingly critical feature for many home and business users who want to save a few bucks on their energy bills but keep their system performance as high as possible. These X79-based motherboards gave us steady power performance under idle and load conditions over a 24-hour period, which is very encouraging for users looking to upgrade to the LGA 2011 platform. The X79-UD5 posted higher wattage ratings under load conditions during testing, but were well within acceptable limits for a mid-range PC like the one we have configured for our test bench.
Gigabyte’s X79-UD5 recorded strong results in a variety of our synthetic and real-world benchmarks like SiSandra 2011 and 3DMark11. The board also shined when we manually overclocked our i7-3820 past 4.5GHz, and seemed to have plenty of overhead to take the CPU past 5GHz with better CPU cooling solutions. The Easy Tune 6 application worked as advertised and gave us three simple options for automatically overclocking the core over 4GHz without any manual adjustments to the BIOS.
The motherboard as a whole has unique features and options that are typically reserved for higher-end motherboards in the $400 range. The ability to use dual and triple PCI Express 3.0 graphics cards in CrossfireX or SLI is an important option for PC gamers looking to create high-definition gaming systems with multi-monitor, 3D setups. The option of using multiple SATA 6GB/s solid state drives in RAID 0 also seems to be a popular upgrade that is possible with the X79-UD5 motherboard.
As of Mar. 25, the Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 motherboard was available at Newegg.com for $299.99 with free shipping. Consumers can also purchase this product at Amazon.com for $289.99 with free shipping as well.
I’d like to thank our friends at Gigabyte for providing the GA-X79-UD5 motherboard for our review today. This is the second X79-based motherboard I’ve evaluated, and this platform continues to impress me with solid gaming and overall performance results. The upgraded 3D BIOS was a pleasure to use after I played with the UEFI a bit to find out where all the overclocking options were located. I also had to learn to use the roll-over functions on the main 3D BIOS screen because I didn’t notice how they worked when I initially entered the BIOS.
The $300 price tag may make consumers be a bit more cautious about picking up the X79-UD5 for their next upgrade, but Gigabyte made a smart move by beefing up the accessory bundle to include a Bluetooth 4.0 and wireless N card. Their bundled software package for updating the BIOS, motherboard drivers, and automatic overclocking worked seamlessly and I would definitely recommend it to users new to building PCs from scratch.
Overall, PC Perspective gives the Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 its Gold Award for its rock-solid stability during overclocking, its extensive software and accessory package, and versatility to manage multiple graphics cards and SSD storage options.
- Triple PCI Express 3.0 slots (16x16x8) with SLI, CrossfireX support
- Powerhouse overclocker
- 3D UEFI BIOS was intuitive and flexible to my needs
- Somewhat expensive for mid-range LGA 2011 board
- Power consumption slightly high under load conditions