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Gigabyte X79S-UP5-WiFi Review

There are six expansion slots on the X79S-UP5-WiFi, with four of them being 16x PCI-Express, one being 1x PCI-Express and one classic PCI slot. From the 16x slots, only the first and the last can work at true 16x mode, if one GFX card is installed. If two cards are installed, the last slot will downgrade to 8x mode. The second slot can reach up to 8x mode, while the third slot cannot do better than 4x mode, obviously meant for other devices rather than high end GFX cards.

Going to the top right corner of the board, we found a large LED-lit red power switch, again for those hardcore users who will be running the system on a benching table. The LED lights up as long as the board receives power, doubling as a very basic PSU diagnostic method.

Next to the large 24-Pin ATX connector, we finally found the front USB 3.0 header. Gigabyte cleverly placed it there and not at the bottom of the board, as the cable of either the provided 3.5" cover or that of the case (provided it has front USB 3.0 ports) will be coming from the top of the panel and can be routed through the hole for the ATX 24-pin cable.

Gigabyte is particularly proud of their Ultra Durable 5 IR3550 "PowlRstage" power delivery circuit, which can supply up to 60A per phase, reducing the required number of phases and purportedly bringing the efficiency up to 95%. The high efficiency also has the power circuit of the X79S-UP5-WiFi running much cooler than older boards, with Gigabyte claiming that it can be up to 60°C cooler than traditional solutions. This is not Gigabyte's own design; the IR3550 comes from International Rectifier, a company specializing on such solutions. It is a costly solution which is not suitable for low and mid-range boards since it could very well cost as much as the rest of the board by itself.

Finally, the back panel I/O is definitely overcrowded, with a very large number of ports and additional controls. The additional controls include a BIOS switch, allowing the user to switch from one BIOS to the other on-the-fly, a clear CMOS button and an overclocking button. We are unsure how (or even if) the overclocking button works with locked CPUs, as it only increased the multiplier of our CPU by a small notch. As for the ports, the X79S-UP5-WiFi offers:

  • 1 x PS/2 combined keyboard/mouse port
  • 1 x Firewire 1394 port
  • 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 5 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 1 x eSATA/USB Combo connector
  • 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s connector
  • 2 x RJ-45 ports
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)

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