Gigabyte Z68XP-UD5 LGA 1155 Motherboard Review
Coming in as one of the higher-end Z68 models, the Z68XP-UD5 is one of a huge arsenal (now exceeding 20 boards) of Z68 options produced by Gigabyte. Most users will quickly get lost in all of these options but the mantra behind this approach is quite clear: the Ultra Durable series represents a step up from the everyday mainstream units. The UD5 meanwhile sits firmly in the upper reaches of Gigabyte’s lineup but it is still far from the most expensive Z68 board out there.
To help decode Gigabyte’s cryptic model numbers, we have to look at a key difference that separates several boards: the “XP” versus the “X” in the model number. The XP (i.e. Z68XP-UD5) in a Gigabyte Z68 model number simply means the board has a display output for Switchable Graphics and a power phase to run it while a board with an X (i.e. Z68X-UD5) does not. The X-series boards were introduced on the day of Intel’s Z68 launch and looked to be nothing more than an effort to rebrand P67 products in order to catch up with the competition. With that beingsaid, the board we are looking at today includes Switchable Graphics as well as other Z68 features such as Intel’s SSD caching technology.
Coming in at around $260, the Z68XP-UD5 is in the price range of boards like MSI’s Z68A-GD80, and ASUS’ P8Z68 Deluxe while falling between the UD7 and UD4 in terms of price and features.
One of the key differences between The UD4, UD5, and UD7 is power delivery and number of phases. The UD5 has a 20 phase power output while its little brother -the UD4- has 16 and the flagship UD7 has 24 phases plus an NF200 controller chip. Also compared to the UD4, the UD5 has an extra PCI-E slot and four extra USB 3.0 ports, but two less SATA 6Gb/s ports.
With the UD5 firmly sitting in a very popular market segment, Gigabyte needs to get this one right. But did they accomplish this crucial goal?
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