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

Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5

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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  • AndrewJacksonZA

    I think you're missing four tests that motherboards of thiscalibre price range might be used for: dual-SLI, dual-Crossfire, triple-SLI and triple-Crossfire using 590s and 6990s. Why am I suggesting this when you have GFX benchmarks at other places? To see the differences between each motherboard's implementation.

    Or am I not fully understanding how SLI and Crossfire are implemented?
  • CryptorX
    It all may seem pretty cool by now, after all this is the new high end platform... yeah right... the 1336 platform also seemed pretty cool when it came out, i spent a whole fortune upgrading to it, my triple channel ram kit alone cost me 210€, i was pretty sure i was investing in a "future proof" platform (upgradable for at least three years), that future was 5 months until it was discontinued... never again! That said, either this new socket drops prices drastically or AMD gets a new customer.
  • hipflask

    This issue is on more x79 boards. Gigabytes failing I.C's has just highlighted a problem that toms and everyone else that reviewed these boards should have known or found before end users started having throttling issues and failed boards.
    Brings the whole question of impartiality to mind