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Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 LGA 2011 EATX Motherboard Review

Author: Steve Grever
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Specifications, Motherboard Layout, Included Accessories

Technical Specifications (from Gigabyte's website)

CPU
  1. Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors in the LGA2011 package
  2. L3 cache varies with CPU

(Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.)

Chipset
  1. Intel® X79 Express Chipset
Memory
  1. 8 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 64 GB of system memory
    * Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
  2. 4 channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR3 2400/2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
  4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
  5. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules

(Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)

Audio
  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
LAN
  1. 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
  1. 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
  1. 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.
BIOS
  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
Bundle Software
  1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
Operating System
  1. Support for Microsoft® Windows 7/Vista/XP
Form Factor
  1. E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 26.4cm

 

Motherboard Layout

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The new LGA 2011 motherboards give users four more DIMMs to work with, but as you can see on the extended ATX X79-UD5 motherboard, it doesn't leave a lot of room around the CPU socket for third party CPU coolers. Liquid cooling solutions should be more forgiving so users can take advantage of every DIMM on the board, but I think we are going to have issues using eight sticks of memory with our Zalman CNPS12X CPU cooler. Other than that major change to the top portion of the board, the rest of the X79-UD5 is well organized and includes a low-profile heatsink over the chipset and splits the available SATA ports by the Marvell or X79 chipset controller that manages them.

 

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The back of the black PCB doesn't have any extra features other than some power components that had to be moved to make room for the extra DIMMs.


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The back I/O panel is pretty versatile and includes a PS/2 keyboard and mouse port, CPU overclocking button, BIOS switch button, clear CMOS button, firewire, seven USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, an eSATA/USB connector, eSATA 6GB/s connector, optical S/PDIF out, and five audio jacks. 

 

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One of the key aspects about this motherboard that should attract gamers and high-end enthusiasts are the 40 PCI Express lanes that are capable of PCIe 3.0 speeds. Gigabyte helps users take advantage of the expanded bandwidth through three PCI Express slots running at x16, x16, and x8 speeds respectively. Users will get x16 speeds with dual CrossfireX/SLI graphics configurations or x8 speeds with three video cards. There are also two PCI Express x1 slots and one legacy PCI slot.

 

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The audio and firewire headers are clearly marked and organized on the bottom panel of the X79-UD5.

 

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Gigabyte also included three USB 2.0 headers that can manage up to six USB 2.0 devices courtesy of the X79 Express chipset on the X79-UD5.

 

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Gigabyte does a great job of making small improvements to their motherboards that have a noticable impact on users like creating color-coded front panel headers to make connecting the power button, reset button, speaker, and hard drive/power LEDs quick and easy. They also clearly mark which pins are negative and positive to go a step further in helping users expedite the motherboard installation process.

 

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The bottom right-hand corner of the X79-UD5 includes a small blue reset button, three-pin fan connector, and four SATA 6GB/s ports that are managed by the Marvell 88SE9172 controller. This Marvell chip also supports RAID 0 and 1 arrays.

 

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The second set of two SATA 6GB/s and four SATA 3GB/s ports are managed by the X79 chipset and can be configured in 0, 1, 5, and 10 RAID arrays.

 

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The power button has been moved to the top right-hand corner of the motherboard, which may be an inconvenient location for people who route cables to the back of the motherboard tray over this area. The button looks red when the PC is off, but glows orange during operation.

 

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The X79-UD5 has eight DIMMs and supports up to 64GBs of DDR3-2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 quad-channel memory.This board also supports Intel's Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules.

 

Included Accessories 

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Gigabyte went above and beyond in the accessories department on the X79-UD5 by including a Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi card providing 150MB/s transfer rates and 802.11n support. The addition of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities to desktop systems has really been catching on with OEMs and now motherboard vendors are trying to bundle these types of add-on accessories with their products.

 

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They also included four SATA 6GB/s data cables with right-angle pin connector heads.

 

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Gigabyte didn't skimp on the black brush aluminum front panel bracket that houses two extra USB 3.0 ports. Who can't use a couple more USB 3.0 ports on the front panel of their desktop PCs?

 

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CrossfireX and SLI gamers will also need these three bridges to get their dual and triple graphics card setups configured properly for high definition gaming on the X79-UD5 motherboard.

 

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Some of the documentation Gigabyte added to the accessories bundle includes a multilingual installation guide book and user manual.

 

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Lastly, they added a black I/O backplate and two driver DVDs that includes chipset, LAN, audio, Wi-Fi drivers and other bundled software utilities.

April 29, 2012 | 01:26 PM - Posted by Ron (not verified)

I'm going crazy with this setup and hope somebody can help me. I7-3960X with 8 sticks of 8GB Crucial memory CT102464BA1339 stuffed into an X79-UD5 Everything is supposedly compatable, according to the HCL lists, and all the techs I've talked to from all three companies agree that it should work. Plenty of power, 1000W Cooler Master power supply, all the plugs ring out active with a volt meter. I've played with memory timings until I'm blue in the face. I'm on my third motherboard because GB thought there might be a problem with it, I'm on my second set of RAM, and on my second processor, still with the same results. Not matter what I do, if I populate more than DRAM-1 and DRAM-2 it goes into a rapid beep and won't even load the bios. Populating only 1 and 2 allows me to get into the bios and try to tweak the voltage and timing settings, but they always seem to cause an issue when it boots even if I'm adjusting the timings to a slower rate than what it was from stock. I've been building computers for 25 years now, and have never had this much trouble.

May 22, 2012 | 01:16 AM - Posted by Sterling (not verified)

Ron, did you ever resolve this? I too have a maxed-out kit, but I've not even been able to get to the bios - as soon as the power is on, I'm just getting a string of beeps, which lasts about 20-30 seconds before ceasing. I've tried different RAM combos, and even thought it might be the graphics card, but have three to try with, yet no success. Driving me crazy.

June 15, 2012 | 06:14 PM - Posted by gbakmars (not verified)

I have a brand new Gigabyte X79 UD5 sitting in the box next to me. In front is an Intel 3930K and to my right are two 16GB quad kits from Corsair-2133 C9 1.5V. And on the box on the table behind me are two Evga 670 FTW's. I have a new Corsair 1200 W Pro Gold, an Asus Essence, an Areca Raid Card-1882 ix-12 4GB Memory. I have A Direct Connect via an 8088 SAS cable to a CineRaid 4Bay 6GB/sec self powered and cooled with a backplane to take the 8088 cable from the Areca. I have 3 SAS mini 8087 Breakout Sata 3 cable with each supplies four hard drives. I have 4 Seagate highend 300GB 15.7 K Cheetahs ready to be dropped into the CineRaid running 1.2TB in a Raid 0 thought a 6gb/sec raid card with an intel dual core processor and 4 gigs of memory and sitting in a X8 3.0 PCIe slot. The numbers coming out of that box will melt an SSD. I have 4 Vertex 4 128GB ready to be placed into a Raid 0 for the operating system. And to top it off I have 8 WD 1TB Blacks to fill out my Corsair 800D case. I am cooling the processor with a brand new and "rare" Coolitsystems Freezone Elite, and have 5 PWM fans to be integrated into the Bios cooling, with another 6 fans being run off of a Kaze Master Pro A. I am dropping in two Optical Drives- Plextor3d BluRay Burner, Plextor DVD Burner. I will install one USB 3.0 Pro37 U for high speed compact flash reading from a Nikon D800E.

My question is, should I be having second thoughts about the capability of the Gigabyte X79 UD5? I have come to the conclusion that there isn't an X79 board on the market yet that is a 5 star board hands down. I already know that Intel isn't showing the board makers their whole hand forcing the X79 folks to get creative with Bios Hacks, and Registry mods to give us 40 lanes. Nothing Native about any of these boards. I don't need a Rampage three with 30 PCIe X 16 3.0 slots and I run as fast as I can from all of these falsely advertised 16 lane bombs known as Z77's. The Asus Deluxe for $280 had a whopping 4 PCIE X1 slots- yes I have four sound cards!! and it provide 3 PCIe x16 3.0 slots but they never talked about these board's mamouth limitations in any of the reviews in that if you put a new 680 in the first slot you have X16, but drop anything into slot 2 and slot one is now back to a X8 which is nothing more than what we already had in the X16 2.0 boards! And if you make the mistake of dropping in anything into slot 3, you just toasted slot 2 and made it a X4 along with slot 3. WOW-- what a great motherboard you can have tri sli with a x8/x4/x4 with your new $1500 of 3.0 video cards.

So how long do I wait with all of these great build parts? Gigabyte says they have an amazing X79 refresh, will it be the improvement that is deserving of all these great components? I run from the Z77 as it is an EOL long before it was put on the market. No upgrades coming except a plug called Thunderbolt that has nothing that I own to plug into!

Any suggestions?

November 17, 2012 | 11:39 PM - Posted by Jono (not verified)

Ron

I had the same trouble. But I managed to get mine going after having discovered that this board does not like you using XMP at all. Had to turn down to 1333 mhz and have not touched my voltage settings. This is with all 8 channels full. Hope this helps.

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