Board Features

As mentioned previously,  the abundance of SATA 6 Gbps ports is nice to see, especially in comparison to the competition.  We have a high end Realtek codec, and Intel NIC as well.  Gigabyte still insist on putting a Trusted Platform Module on their boards, but as I learned in a previous Gigabyte review, this is because Gigabyte have had positive feedback from customers who use this functionality.  We are missing though some onboard power/reset/clear CMOS buttons which would make testing and error checking easier on all fronts.

Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3
Size ATX
CPU Interface LGA2011
CPU Support Intel Second Generation Core i7 Sandy Bridge E
Chipset Intel X79
Base Clock Frequency 100.0 MHz
Core Voltage Default, 0.8 V to 1.735 V
CPU Clock Multiplier Auto, 12x to 59x
DRAM Voltage Auto, 1.1 V to 2.1 V
DRAM Command Rate Auto, 1N to 3N
Memory Slots Four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 32 GB
Up to Quad Channel
Support for DDR3, 800-3200 MHz
Expansion Slots 2 x PCIe Gen 3 x16
2 x PCIe Gen 3 x8
2 x PCIe x1
2 x PCI
Onboard SATA/RAID 2 x SATA 6 Gbps, Support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
4 x SATA 3 Gbps, Support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
4 x SATA 6 Gbps, Support for RAID 0, 1
Onboard 4 x SATA 3 Gbps (PCH)
6 x SATA 6 Gbps (2 PCH, 4 Controller)
5 x Fan Headers
1 x 4-pin Molex CFX/SLI Power Connector
1 x HDMI_SPDIF Header
1 x Front Panel Header
1 x Front Panel Audio Header
3 x USB 2.0 Headers
1 x USB 3.0 Header
1 x Serial Port Header
1 x Trusted Platform Module Header
Onboard LAN Intel Gigabit 82579V
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC898
7.1 Ch HD, Supports Dolby Home Theater
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX connector
1 x 8-pin 12V connector
Fan Headers 1 x CPU Fan Header
4 x SYS Headers
IO Panel 1 x PS/2 Mouse Port
1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out Port
1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Out Port
8 x USB 2.0
2 x USB 3.0
2 x eSATA 6 Gbps
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
Audio Jacks
BIOS Version F5
Warranty Period 3 Years from date of manufacture

In The Box

IO Shield
Manual
Driver CD
4 x SATA Cables
Long SLI Cable
Long CFX Cable
3-way SLI Bridge
4-way SLI Bridge

Gigabyte typically are not all encompassing with their box contents - previous boards I have reviewed tend to have the bare minimum (IO shield, manual, CD, 2 SATA cables, perhaps more).  In this case, we have more cables, and an array of SLI connectors for the multi-GPU enthusiast.  Perhaps this is more what Gigabyte are aiming with the UD3? 

Software

Gigabyte software over the past 12 months has not changed much - we still have EasyTune6 with basic OC functionality and a limited series of fan controls (when compared to their main competitors that can set dual ramping); Smart6 with various BIOS functionality, QuickBoost, QuickBoot, Timelock and SmartRecovery2; and @BIOS for updating the BIOS.  Rather than go through them again, I will direct you to our previous reviews [1,2].

What is new though, is 3DPower.  In essence, it is a very basic utility that allows a user to adjust the power delivery to the PWM on the board for power saving or on-the-fly overclocking.  The software is a bit slow and unresponsive, and the majority of consumers will not understand what the options mean.  However, it is there if a user wants it.

Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 - BIOS and Overclocking Test Setup, Temperatures and Power Consumption
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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...
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply

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