X79 Motherboard Roundup: ASRock, ASUS, Gigabyte
The company’s line of X79-based motherboards are the first to feature Gigabyte’s new 3D BIOS, which is based on Gigabyte’s DualBIOS and finally gives users a UEFI in which to tweak and tinker instead of the outdated AWARD BIOS.
The X79-UD5 also sports a big red power button and a reset button, and a clear CMOS button and OC button are on the back I/O panel. The board itself is black with a black and metallic gray color scheme with metallic blue accents. The DIMM slots are color-coded for easy installation, which is always a welcome feature.
| Support for Intel Core i7 processors in the LGA2011 package
L3 cache varies with CPU
Intel X79 Express Chipset
8 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 64 GB of system memory
4 channel memory architecture
Support for DDR3 2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
Support for non-ECC memory modules
Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
Realtek ALC898 codec
High Definition Audio
Support for Dolby® Home Theater
Support for S/PDIF Out
1 x Intel GbE LAN (10/100/1000 Mbit)
2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1/PCIEX16_2)
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
(All PCI Express x16 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
2 x PCI Express x1 slots
(All PCI Express x1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
1 x PCI slot
Support for 3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFireX / NVIDIA SLI technology
2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0/SATA3 1) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2 2~SATA2 5) supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
3 x Marvell 88SE9172 chips:
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3 6~GSATA3 9) supporting up to 4 SATA 6Gb/s devices
2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors (including 1 eSATA/USB Combo) on the back panel supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
Support for SATA RAID 0 and RAID 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:
Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB headers)
VIA VT6308 chip:
Up to 2 IEEE 1394a ports (1 port on the back panel, 1 port available through the internal IEEE 1394a header)
iTE IT8728 chip
E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 26.4cm
The X79-UD5 has eight DIMM slots supporting up to 64GB of quad-channel DDR3-2133 memory. It has six expansion slots, three of which support PCI-E 3.0, and of those three, two can run at x16 when in a dual-CrossFireX/SLI configuration and all three can run at x8 in a three-way graphics setup.
Between the chipset and Marvell, Fresco, and VIA chips, the board has six SATA 6Gb/s (including one eSATA) and six SATA 3Gb/s connectors with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10; four USB 3.0 ports (two of which require an attachment) and fourteen USB 2.0 ports; and two FireWire ports. The back I/O panel also has an optical S/PDIF connector and five audio jacks.
Gigabyte’s X79 motherboards are the first to utilize the company’s new Digital Power Engine for controlling the CPU and memory. The hardware and software tool provides steady power to the CPU and memory under all conditions, giving users better overclocking capabilities. It includes a new 3D Power utility that gives users an attractive graphical interface for adjusting voltage, phase, and frequency.
Speaking of overclocking, Gigabyte built in OC-DualBIOS, which lets users use one BIOS version for overclocking while keeping another stable BIOS separate for if (when) you take your overclock too far; even better, OC-DualBIOS is controllable via a button on the back panel.
The X79-UD5 also feature Gigabyte’s 333 on-board acceleration technology, which promises to speed data transfer over USB 3.0 and SATA, as well as On/Off Charge for quick-charging iOS devices even when the system is powered down.
The rest of the software and utilities we’ve come to expect from Gigabyte are here as well, including EasyTune6, Q-Share, Smart 6, XHD, Cloud OC, and TouchBIOS.
For connectivity out of the box, Gigabyte included a Bluetooth/WiFi card and an antenna for each; the card occupies a PCI slot and connects with one internal header; it’s up to you to find somewhere to mount the two antennae.