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Gigabyte X79-UD5 Review

Today we are taking a look at the Gigabyte X79-UD5, an eight DIMM slot E-ATX motherboard and one of four models in the streamlined Gigabyte X79 range. This feature packed board brings several firsts for Gigabyte including a UEFI BIOS implementation and a digital PWM system.

Introduction & Specifications

Today we are taking a look at the Gigabyte X79-UD5, an eight DIMM slot E-ATX motherboard and one of four models in the streamlined Gigabyte X79 range. This feature packed board brings several firsts for Gigabyte including a UEFI BIOS implementation and a digital PWM system.    


In contrast to previous generations where Gigabyte have released a dozen or more models in a range, the X79-UD5 is one of just four clearly delineated models along with the UD3, UD7 and G1 Assassin 2. Gigabyte is pitching the feature packed UD5 at content creators, professionals and any users requiring memory capacity with heavy multithreaded CPU workloads. The other boards cover the budget (UD3), gaming (G1 Assassin) and overclocking (UD7) segments. Notably, the UD5 is the only board in the range to feature eight DIMM slots and therefore the only one that supports the full 64gb memory capacity of the platform. This fact alone will appeal to many users.

Before we dive into the UD5 itself, below is a general overview of the X79 platform supporting 2nd generation Intel i7 processors for the LGA2011 socket. The increased number of PCIe lanes and quad channel memory support are the major distinguishing features over the mainstream P67/Z68 platforms.

Specifications of the Gigabyte X79-UD5

CPU Support

       Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors in the LGA2011 package


        Intel® X79 Chipset
  1. 8 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 64 GB of system memory
  2. 4 channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR3 2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
  4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
  5. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
  1. Realtek ALC898 codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for Dolby® Home Theater
  5. Support for S/PDIF Out

        1 x Intel GbE LAN (10/100/1000 Mbit)

Expansion Slots
  1. 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1/PCIEX16_2)
    * For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16_1 slot; if you are installing two PCI Express graphics cards, it is recommended that you install them in the PCIEX16_1 and PCIEX16_2 slots.
  2. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
    (All PCI Express x16 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
  3. 2 x PCI Express x1 slots
    (All PCI Express x1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
  4. 1 x PCI slot
Multi-Graphics Technology        Support for 3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFireX™ / NVIDIA SLI technology.
Storage Interface Chipset:

  1. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0/SATA3 1) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  2. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2 2~SATA2 5) supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  3. Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
    * When a RAID set is built across the SATA 6Gb/s and SATA 3Gb/s channels, the system performance of the RAID set may vary depending on the devices being connected.

3 x Marvell 88SE9172 chips:

  1. 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3 6~GSATA3 9) supporting up to 4 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  2. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors (including 1 eSATA/USB Combo) on the back panel supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  3. Support for SATA RAID 0 and RAID 1


USB Chipset:

  1. Up to 14 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 ports on the back panel, including 1 eSATA/USB Combo, 6 ports available through the internal USB headers)

2 x Fresco FL1009 chips:

  1. Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB headers)
IEEE 1394 VIA VT6308 chip:

  1. Up to 2 IEEE 1394a ports (1 port on the back panel, 1 port available through the internal IEEE 1394a header)
Internal I/O Connectors
  1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  4. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
  5. 1 x CPU fan header
  6. 4 x system fan headers
  7. 1 x front panel header
  8. 1 x front panel audio header
  9. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  10. 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  11. 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
  12. 1 x IEEE 1394a header
  13. 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  14. 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
Back Panel Connectors
  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  2. 1 x CPU overclocking button
  3. 1 x BIOS switch button
  4. 1 x Clear CMOS button
  5. 1 x IEEE 1394 port
  6. 7 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  7. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  8. 1 x eSATA/USB Combo connector
  9. 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s connector
  10. 1 x RJ-45 port
  11. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  12. 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Side Speaker Out, Line In/Mic In, Line Out)
I/O Controller        iTE IT8728 chip
H/W Monitoring
  1. System voltage detection
  2. CPU/System temperature detection
  3. CPU/System fan speed detection
  4. CPU overheating warning
  5. CPU/System fan fail warning
  6. CPU/System fan speed control
    * Whether the CPU/system fan speed control function is supported will depend on the CPU/system cooler you install.
  1. 2 x 64 Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AMI EFI BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0a
Unique Features
  1. Support for @BIOS
  2. Support for Q-Flash
  3. Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
  4. Support for Download Center
  5. Support for Xpress Install
  6. Support for Xpress Recovery2
  7. Support for EasyTune
    * Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.
  8. Support for Smart 6™
  9. Support for eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D)
  10. Support for ON/OFF Charge
  11. Support for Cloud OC
  12. Support for TouchBIOS
  13. Support for 3TB+ Unlock
  14. Support for Q-Share
Operating System       Support for Microsoft® Windows 7/Vista/XP
Form Factor       E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 26.4cm


Additional note:

Since the release of the UD5, Gigabyte issued a statement urging users who overclock their boards to update to the F7 or later BIOS. The new BIOS' update some protection mechanisms relating to the PWM. The update is only necessary for users with heavily overclocked systems. Day to day users won't notice any difference even if they don't switch to the new BIOS. They went as far as offering an unconditional five year warranty on the boards to alleviate concerns. Gigabyte in house overclocker Hicookie went on to claim several overclocking records with the new BIOS, debunking some unjustified forum scare-mongering. Our own overclocking tests resulted in no issue whatsoever with both the old BIOS and the new.

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