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Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5

Ultimate X79? Five £230+ LGA 2011 Motherboards, Reviewed

Anyone who doesn't feel the need for Killer's NIC or Creative's on-board X-Fi components can get more of just about everything for a lot less money in Gigabyte’s X79-UD5. The I/O panel, for example, adds FireWire without losing its OC button, BIOS switch, or semi-hidden CLR_CMOS button.

X79-UD5 buyers also get twice as many memory slots, two more internal SATA 6Gb/s ports, and power and reset buttons compared to the scantly-clad G1.Assassin2, along with nearly twice as many voltage regulator phases. Gigabyte even switches its X79-UD5 voltage regulator to the solid capacitors so heavily favoured by one of its competitors, helping to clean up the space around the CPU interface.

On the other hand, the lack of a Killer NIC to get in the way leaves us disappointed not to find a PCIe x1 slot at the top of the X79-UD5. That’s because Gigabyte includes the same Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo card found in its other bundle, with the same problem of graphics cards potentially covering up all of the board's PCI Express slots.

Most users who don’t need three-way CrossFireX or SLI will find the X79-UD5’s layout nearly perfect, though a front-panel audio header placed far into the lower-rear corner is out of reach for the somewhat-short cables of some ATX enclosures.

While the other Gigabyte board was meant to be a bit Spartan in its cable kit, we were a little bummed to find only four SATA cables included with the more broadly-featured X79-UD5. We do, however, find the same CrossFire, SLI, and three-way SLI bridges, along with Gigabyte’s Wi-Fi/Bluetooth solution and a USB 3.0 bay adapter.

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