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Gigabyte X79-UD3 review

High-performance Sandy Bridge E hero

The verdict on the Gigabyte X79-UD3 will come down to what it does and doesn't do.

What it undoubtedly does is deliver performance pretty much indistinguishable from any other X79 board in the known universe. That includes stock clocked performance, where there was never likely to be much of a chasm, and also overclocking headroom.

The UD3 has plenty of the latter.

Gigabyte X79 UD3

Indeed, records have verily been broken with the Gigabyte X79-UD3. An expert overclocker, known nattily as 'Hicookie', is alleged to have nailed 5.6GHz with a Core i7 3930K.

You also get a simple but sleekly presented board that oozes quality and a pukka UEFI BIOS menu that includes all the configuration options you could ever desire.

Oh, and Gigabyte has also thrown in four PCI Express x16 slots (two are 8x electrical) for four-way SLI action, should you be so inclined.

The final highlight is a pair of USB 3.0 chips and thus up to four USB 3.0 ports (two via a header).

At this point, the argument in favour of spending more than the Gigabyte X79-UD3's £175 asking looks pretty precarious. However, what it doesn't do it give you is the frills of a fancier board.

There are no on-board buttons for power, reset or overclocking, for instance. There's no auto-overclocking facility in the BIOS, either.

Likewise, one DIMM slot per memory channel is your lot, for a grand total of four. On that subject, the memory slots and primary PCI Express slot are situated too close together, putting graphics cards at risk during insertion.

We liked

The Gigabyte X79-UD3 ain't exactly cheap, but it is one of the most affordable X79-based boards you can buy.

It also delivers excellent performance, both stock and overclocked, support for up to four graphics cards, four USB 3.0 ports and six SATA 6Gbps sockets.

We disliked

As this price point, something's gotta give.

Gigabyte has stripped the X79-UD3 of extras such as power and reset buttons along with the extra memory slot per channel seen on pricier boards.

Our testing also suggests the UD3 is a little power hungry on full reheat.

Verdict

Proof you don't need a top-dollar motherboard to achieve a great high performance PC

Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelX79 Express
Multi GPU SupportedSLI, CrossFireX
Onboard VideoNo
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots4
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket R LGA-2011
Brand NameGigabyte
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedCore i7
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory32 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots1
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces10
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots7
eSATAYes
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports1
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports10
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports8
Number of Onboard USB 2.0 Ports6
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 3.0, PCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots6
Memory Form FactorDIMM
Number of eSATA Ports2
Processor TechnologyEnhanced SpeedStep Technology, Turbo Boost Technology, Hyper-Threading Technology
Width305 mm
Depth244 mm
ManufacturerGIGABYTE Technology, Inc
Product ModelGA-X79-UD3
Product NameUltra Durable 3 GA-X79-UD3 Desktop Motherboard
Product LineUltra Durable 3
Controller TypeSerial ATA/300, Serial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part NumberGA-X79-UD3
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.giga-byte.com
Marketing Information

GIGABYTE X79 series motherboards are designed to unite unrivaled desktop PC performance with a new level of flexibility and hardware control. Based on the latest Intel X79 Express Chipset, supporting the new LGA 2011 Intel Core i7 processors, GIGABYTE X79 series motherboards bring DIY builders to a new area of performance-oriented computing.

Package Contents
  • Ultra Durable 3 GA-X79-UD3 Desktop Motherboard
  • Motherboard Driver Disk
  • User's Manual
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • 4 x SATA Cables
  • I/O Shield
  • 1 x 2-Way SLI Bridge Connector
  • 1 x 3-Way SLI Bridge Connector
  • 1 x 4-Way SLI Bridge Connector
  • 1 x 2-Way CrossFireX Bridge Connector