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  • ComputerGuy2006 - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    Why do most motherboards on this "high end chipset" that cost 200-500$ tend to only have a single NIC... Its pathetic.

    The overall LGA 2011 boards are so lame for their price I did not even bother buying a new PC. I now plan on just buying a low end chipset/cpu (ivy bridge) and just paying for an extra NIC...
  • Metaluna - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    At least it's not Realtek. I'll take one Intel NIC over two Realtek's any day. Reply
  • Tchamber - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    I have a desktop, 2 laptops networked with my brother's desktop, and i don't use the two ethernet ports on my desktop, wifi for network and gigabit ethernet for file transfers to/from laptops. What else is it for? Reply
  • Iketh - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    what? Reply
  • cactusdog - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    Haha This board has been recalled why is it even here?? It has a problem with Mosfets exploding. Reply
  • shatteredx - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    I would assume that purchasers of high-end motherboards already have a router with gigabit ports, so what's the point of having 2 NICs?

    Another thing: people rave about the quality of Intel NICs over brands like Realtek, but I've owned both and they both performed identically (from what I observed). In fact, I would say that the Realtek NIC has a big advantage over the Intel NIC: Windows 7 can install the Realtek NIC with no driver CD but has no built-in drivers for the Intel one. This could potentially be very inconvenient the next time I reinstall Windows and can't find my mobo CD.
  • Metaluna - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    Realtek's drivers seem to have improved recently (especially in the Win7 era), but they have developed a reputation over the years for unreliability and inconsistent performance, especially under heavy loads. I found this out the hard way a few years ago when I installed a new home file server capable of saturating a gigabit link. Suddenly, several of the PCs on my home network (including the file server itself) started dropping off the network erratically, especially during large file copies. After at least a month tearing my hair out, I finally took a shot in the dark and put an Intel NIC in the server, and the problem vanished. The server's network port never went down again, but a couple of the clients were still having problems. I replaced those NICs as well, and suddenly I had a network again. The common thread? All the failing machines had Realtek 8111C/D chips. Remarkably the failures were consistent across different revisions of the Windows driver, and even different OS'es (Server 2003/WHS, XP, Win7)

    I think the reason people go with Intel is because they're about the only other option available on the market anymore. You used to see motherboards with Marvell, Broadcom, or Atheros NICs, but Realtek pretty much killed them off, and even most of the add-in PCIe cards have gone Realtek, so Intel is really the only alternative if you want to try something different. But it's pretty telling that server motherboards from the likes of Intel, Supermicro, and even Asus never use Realtek (except possibly for the IPMI port). So I'm glad to see Intel trickling back into some of the high end consumer boards.
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    You still see Marvell in mobos now and then. The EVGA X79 SLI we use on the GPU testbed has a Marvell 88E8059. Reply
  • Stuka87 - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    I have done some pretty extensive performance test with various NIC's out there. For basic day to day use, there is no difference. But when you start cranking up the frames per second (total throughput means nothing really, has a lot more to do with frames per second), many of the "other" brands (Broadcom and Realtec for instance) cannot stand side bys ide with most Intel NIC's. Although there are some Intel's that are not very good either.

    However, the point of two NIC' has nothing to do with speed typically. Yes you can bond them together, which is awesome if you are running a lot of VM's off a NAS. But its also very handy if you are on two separate networks.

    Oh, and Windows 7 does have built in drivers for Intel NIC's. Where id you see otherwise? Granted they are older ones, just as the other NIC drivers are. But they function fine until you can get the latest.
  • Metaluna - Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - link

    Sandy Bridge boards mostly are using the new Intel 82579V chip, which from what I've read is different enough that the generic Intel e1000 drivers won't always work with it. This has been an issue with some OSes like FreeBSD 8 and VMware ESXi 5 (not sure about Linux distros).

    My Asus P8Z68-V uses this chip, but unfortunately I can't remember if Win7 supported it out of the box or not.
  • sor - Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - link

    I've had three different motherboards with realtek 8111 nics on them, all of them regularly had issues where the link would go to 100mbit or drop out altogether, which required disabling the device and then reenabling it/reinstalling the driver... almost daily. Granted, this was with Linux and the driver might not be up to par (though I used the one from Realtek's website after having issues, with no improvement), but since it's what I use at home and at work I much prefer the reliability of the Intel NIC and drivers. Reply
  • ET6 - Saturday, December 31, 2011 - link

    You do need to have more than one Ethernet NIC on the physical computer if you are going to install Virtual Machines. For example, you could install Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V first. You could then install several VMs; one running Windows 7 with Media Center for media transcoding and content display; one running Windows Home Server 2011 as a media server etc; and maybe a third running Windows SQL Server 2008 or Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010.

    You need a dedicated NIC for all network communications with the management operating system incuding remote access to the Hyper-V role. The management operating system runs the Hyper-V role. This NIC should be different than any mapped to VMs.

    Need at least one other Ethernet NIC to provide Virtual Machine access to an external virtual network.

    Now you might have reason for 32 or 64 Gig of RAM.
  • zanon - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    I had thought that at this point most manufacturers would finally be moving to EFI, and that that was an important part of enabling some of these more modern GUI configs. However, you don't mention EFI at all, so does that mean these are still using legacy BIOS, just further hacked on? Or are you using "BIOS" in some generic sense? If it's the former then that's both too bad and somewhat interesting, wonder what the hold up is. If it's the latter it's confusing, please stop immediately and don't do it again. Reply
  • tpi2009 - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    If you read the screenshots in the second page of this review you'll find your answer. Reply
  • zanon - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    The screenshots say alternatively "3D BIOS", "Dual UEFI BIOS", "BIOS Features" and "UEFI DualBIOS" with the article itself never referring to EFI at all. Awesome clarity and consistency there! Does "Dual" mean that it has both EFI and BIOS? Are the selectable, or is there some sort of automatic switching, or what? Or is it just stupid confusing naming? Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    BIOS is used as a synonym for UEFI afaict. "Dual" refers to Gigabytes use of 2 BIOS chips, meaning you cannot brick it with a BIOS flash gone wrong (though I haven't seen one of those in years). Reply
  • AstroGuardian - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    I can't notice any performance difference from the graphs. How can you notice and how can you make such a poor verdict? Reply
  • RamarC - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    it wasn't a low rating... just a bit middle of the road because of the XMP issues and the price.
    "In terms of performance, we are not seeing anything stellar with the GA-X79-UD3." so it doesn't hit the best-of-the-high-end marks but it's still a good mobo.
    "If it were my money on the line, it would be a hard choice between the UD3 and the ASRock X79 Extreme4." that sounds like a mid-range endorsement to me.
    So overall it seems to be a solid 'B'... you just need to see if 'pretty good' is worth your money.

    PS to AT: thanks for the recent hardware reviews -- since I was getting very tired of smartphone writeups since a) I (like a lot of folks) am tied to a carrier and thus limited to their offerings, and b) I read AT for PC tech (not phone tech, and I can upgrade PC tech at my choosing.)
  • gevorg - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    Does Gigabyte continues to ignore the fact that their BIOS lacks basic case fan controls? Unacceptable for a $100+ mobo, let alone $250. Reply
  • Rick83 - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    If it where only the BIOS - It's in fact the hardware chip that's only got two PWM-able outputs... Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    There are other ways to implement fan control than PWM though, namely voltage control which works with any fan even 2-pin ones with no RPM sensor plus all the 3-pin aftermarket fans. Even if all it did was allow for altrered voltage, or simple software with manual profiles (ie: 'quiet' at a certain voltage' and 'high performance' at another voltage) it would be a big step up from no fan control. Of course that probably costs about $1 in additional parts so god forbid many motherboards have that.

    In the end it just means having to stick with a real manual fan control but it would be nice to see on motherboards.
  • gevorg - Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - link

    True but not all mobo manufacturers are as cheap as Gigabyte in this regard. Basic P67/Z68 mobos from Intel and Asus/ASRock have case fan controls and some even by PWM. Reply
  • Andrea deluxe - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link Reply
  • Andrea deluxe - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link Reply
  • Brandenburgh Man - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    It's silly to criticize Gigabyte's Multi-Threaded 3D Particle Movement score when the difference between Gigabyte's score of 898.96 and the highest score of 914.36 is less than 2 percent. In the real world, anything less than a 10 percent performance difference is unnoticeable by the user. Typically you have to get 20 to 25 percent better performance before it becomes meaningful to you, and 33 percent or better before you start getting excited about it. Reply
  • wifiwolf - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    If you mean motherboard performance benchmarks are by far less meaningful i agree.
    That's because this is the less significant part in your system performance-wise, which means 2% difference overall is enough to say it's too much for an high-end.
  • cactusdog - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    Gigabyte has recalled this board because of a too weak VRM that alows mosfets to explode when overclocking,

    UD3/ UD5, A1 Assassin all RECALLED by Gigabyte
  • rumblpak - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    Shouldn't you note that they've all been recalled? Gigabyte announced a worldwide recall of all of their X79 boards. Reply
  • surt - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    Who is buying an x79 and only getting 4 memory slots anyway? That's just crazy. If you want this platform at all, you surely want the large amount of memory it can support. If for nothing else, you can run a nice ramdisk and get things running 10x faster than the best SSD you can buy. Reply
  • Brandenburgh Man - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    I thoroughly agree. SSDs are great for fast boot times and fast program loads, but when you really need *superfast* access to data, nothing beats a RAM drive.

    Although 4GB DDR3 sticks are dirt cheap right now, four memory slots only comes to 16GB. A six-core hyper-threaded Sandy Bridge E chip would quickly exhaust that if you're a power user who does a lot of video editing or transcoding while simultaneously running other programs. Even if you can afford the currently very expensive 8GB DDR3 sticks, 32GB isn't anything to brag about for a workstation class computer. Better to get a mobo with 8 slots and populate it with 32GB now, then upgrade to 64GB a year or so later when 8GB sticks becine more affordable. Then you'd have the best of both worlds, a huge RAM-disk for incredibly fast I/O, with enough system RAM left over to keep the CPU from being starved.

    A few years ago Jerry Pournelle said we were entering the age of computational plenty. I like to say we're entering the age of desktop supercomputing. The future looks very bright indeed.
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    But there are those that use X79 as a gaming rig because of it's higher PCIe-lane count. So I see nothing wrong with offering options for everyone. :-) Reply
  • alxnet2003 - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    FWIW, I've been buying up 16GB (2x8GB) sticks of G.Skill from newegg for what I thought was pretty cheap. I've got my ASUS X79 populated with 48GB right now (4x4 and 4x8). What's the point of using 48GB? I do a lot of video editing and x264 encoding. Having a sizable RAM drive really speeds up the editing and muxing process. Reply
  • freedom4556 - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    These have been recalled. Seems the VRM likes to explode while overclocking! Gigabyte owners have two choices, update to a neutered BIOS that will err on the side of caution to protect the weak VRM, or get a replacement board from Gigabyte sometime later down the line.

    TechPowerUp reports:
    A video of one such incident:
  • sonci - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    Ha Ha again Gigabyte,
    I remember my nforce 4sli, one of the mosfet exploded in fire, with not so agressive overclock,
    Gigabyte at that times used a dual power board, so I still used my board for some years after the explosion..
  • vailr - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    How does the "Fresco" USB 3.0 controller on this board compare with the more common NEC/Renesas USB 3.0 controller?
    Also: when might we see Windows officially support a bootable USB 3.0 external hard drive?
    This "rev.1.0" board is still listed for sale at Newegg, even though it has been officially recalled by Gigabyte?
  • Perseides - Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - link

    If im not mistaken, is'nt this model of mobo havin some problem with the MOFSET burnin off, n GIGABYTE is recalling them?
  • LoosCarl - Sunday, January 01, 2012 - link

    Get this GIGABYTE GA-X79-UD3 Motherboard from Amazon: Reply
  • sdougal - Monday, January 02, 2012 - link

    Looks like the new F7 BIOS does indeed fix thermal issues and improve overclocking.
  • binqq - Friday, January 06, 2012 - link

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