GIGABYTE X79-UD5 LGA2011 Motherboard Review

Author: MAC
Date: March 26, 2012
Product Name: X79-UD5
Part Number: GA-X79-UD5
Warranty: 3 Years
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As we have come to expect from any Intel processor launch, the market has been flooded with a bunch of really interesting new motherboards. While the X79 Express chipset might not be as innovative as we would have liked, specifically with regard to its lack of native USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt support, the platform as a whole does have robust graphics and storage capabilities, as well as a never-seen-before quad-channel memory interface. As a result of these advancements, and all of the unique requirements that they bring forth, manufacturers really had to re-think the overall layout of these X79 motherboards, and we are quite impressed with what they have come up with.

While we have already taken an in-depth look at the hugely impressive ASUS Rampage IV Extreme, today we are going to be reviewing a motherboard that is a little more affordable, if such a word can even be uttered when discussing the LGA2011 platform.

The $300 X79-UD5 might not be GIGABYTEs flagship part, it is third in line behind the X79-UD7, which has been given the bright orange livery that was first introduced on the purpose-built X58A-OC, and the gaming-oriented G1.Assassin 2, but it is arguably a much better value than its higher-end siblings. First and foremost, of the three models listed above, the UD5 is the only one with the full complement of eight DDR3 memory slots, which allows this motherboard to support up to 64GB of RAM, enough to make most mid-end servers jealous. Those with more modest memory requirements will able to take advantage of the new 8GB and 16GB memory kits that have been launched at eye-watering speeds up to DDR3-2400.

Supplying the CPU is a new all-digital 14-phase power design that utilizes some of the low-profile POScap tantalum electrolytic capacitors that were first introduced on the aforementioned X58A-OC, as well as that board's distinctive red onboard power button. On the connectivity front, this motherboard is stacked courtesy of a mix of Marvell and Fresco I/O controllers. Not only does it have ten SATA ports, six of which are SATA 6Gb/s capable, but it also supports up to fourteen USB 2.0 ports, and up to four USB 3.0 ports. Naturally, FireWire and eSATA ports are present and accounted for as well. Since wireless connectivity is growing ever more prominent, GIGABYTE have included a Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi 802.11n expansion card, along with two separate antennas.

Although improved performance in multiple graphics card configurations is one of the key selling points of this platform, GIGABYTE have outfitted this model with 'only' three PCI-Express 3.0 x16...which is actually one less than the lower-end UD3. It does have two PCI-E x1 slots and one legacy PCI slot, but that still leaves one slot missing-in-action. Naturally, this motherboard features proven features like DualBIOS and On/Off Charge for charging mobile devices, but it is the newer 3D Power and 3D BIOS technologies that we are truly interested in and that we will be examining in the following pages.


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