X79-UD7 is the new Gigabyte Overclocking Motherboard

Today I will be sharing with you the latest product from Gigabyte. This is the X79-UD7 motherboard. Based on the X79 chipset, we will be running with the latest processor from Intel which is the Sandy Bridge E.

Gigabyte made the UD7 as their Overclocking board, geared towards all the PC enthusiasts out there!

I do hope that you still remember the monster X58A-OC motherboard from Gigabyte a few years ago. Since that board is still with me, I will try to compare some of the key features of the 2 Overclocking boards. Initial look will reveal that the X79 based board is bigger and longer.

The board comes with a lot of tweaking buttons for overclockers including the based clock and multiplier adjustments. The picture on the right is the X79 motherboard. The 4G button in which a simple press will make your computer run at 4Ghz, is not present in the X79 board, but a button with the same function was relocated to the I/O panel.

The socket of the X79 is bigger and you need 2 locking mechanisms to secure the processor. The pin count of x58 is 1366 while the x79 is 2011. You will also notice that the processor area in the X58 board has almost nothing. This is for overclockers to do their insulation. In the x79, no need to worry, even if the RAM slots are pretty near the socket, I find no problem insulating the X79. I have attended the X79-Plug Fest of Gigabyte and several people already tried using LN2 with Kingpin pot and insulation did not pose problems.

Both boards come with dual BIOS. The BIOS of the X79 is bigger since it needs to support the UEFI based BIOS. On top of that, Gigabyte made some fancy new stuff in their BIOS which you can also see in the X79 UD3 Review. Yeah I admit I was not able to get the screen shot of the UD7 as I was very eager to overclock it! If I am not mistaken it is 64MB in capacity vs the 8MB
BIOS of the X58A-OC.

The next is the network controller. Finally an Intel gigabit LAN controller! Its not that I dont like Realtek but I really love the Intel chip (hmmm fanboy? ). I have not encountered any hiccups in my boards using Intel NIC especially my board with the E2100 killer LAN from intel.

The audio chip on this board is still Realtek. But this time Gigabyte uses ALC898 vs the ALC889 of X58. This chip is better than the alc889, supports 7.1 channel as well and already blu-ray capable.

Moving on to the rear I/O is where we will see the biggest difference. The x79-UD7 comes with the full connectors like what you will see in other boards of Gigabyte, while the x58A-OC only comes with the minimum requirement.

Ok, enough with the comparisons. Time to move on to the rest of cool stuff the x79 based motherboard has to offer.
The PCH (Platform Controller Hub) was cooled by this heatsink and there a 6mm heat pipe as well. The heat pipe travels from the PCH and will go to the VRM area. The VRM area also has a black and orange heatsink and this is where the heatpipe will end.

The Spacing on the PCIe X16 is very well done. Multiple card setup should not be a problem. But beware, you cannot use the add-on pcie card (which I will show later) if you will use a four video card setup.

Again this is the I/O Panel of the X79-UD7. You can see that there are 8 USB 2.0 slots and there are 2 USB 3.0 (blue) slots. Standard audio ports along with optical out are also present in the board as well as the LAN connector. Near the PS2 port, you will see that there is the OC button. Pressing the OC button will make you system run at 4Ghz on the next reboot. Below the OC button is actually a BIOS switch. That BIOS switch is intended for people trying to find the best suitable BIOS for them. Pressing the button will make the system boot on its back-up BIOS. Initially the BIOS was at F2 but you can update it anytime you want, with any BIOS you prefer. Below the BIOS switch, you will notice a tiny button which is the CLEAR CMOS switch. You can now overclock your board even if it is inside the casing and will have no issue reseating the CMOS when overclocking goes south!

Moving on with the storage, this board has 6 SATA ports coming from the Intel chipset. The 2 white ports are the SATA 3 while the black ones are the SATA 2.

Additional SATA ports are also given by Gigabyte with the help of 2 Marvell chips. This chip already supports SATA 3.

This board provides you with voltage measurement hooks. You can just get your Voltmeter and can check voltage accuracy displayed in the software based vs the actual.

Debug 7 segment display also available to see if there are problem. This is very helpful especially when you are overclocking.

Moving on with the accessories included. I will start with this awesome bundle from Gigabyte. This board will come with Wifi and Bluetooth 4.0 PCIe x1 card. BT4.0 will be the next generation baseline of Bluetooth and if I heard it right, if you have 2 BT4.0 device connected (say a BT4.0 KB and mouse ) the battery life is longer than the current BT standard. Your battery will last for a year as compared to the current scenario wherein you will need to change your battery 2-3 times a year.

A front panel 3.5 bay USB connector is also provided by Gigabyte. For older PC chassis that dont have any USB 3.0 built in, this is a good addition since USB 3.0 will be accessible in front.

Lots of video card connectors! 4 way, 3 way and SLI cable provided by Gigabyte. A cross fire cable included as well. Several other cables like SATA, eSATA and the I/O shield also included in the box.

The Installation DVD, wifi/bt drivers are also included along with some other documents for you to install your system flawlessly.


Setup Time!

Wow that was long! Ok now time for the setup. Below are the components that I will be using to do some tests on the board:
1. Gigabyte X79-UD7 Motherboard
2. Intel 3960X 2011 Processor
3. Ripjaws Z 1600 9-9-9-24 1.5V RAM (too bad the 2133 ram arrived after returning the processor!)
4. HX1000W corsair PSU
5. XSPC RASA 750 Water cooling kit (With a little creativity you can fit the 1366 bracket!)
6. Kingston SATA 2 SSD
7. Gigabyte GTX 560 Video Card
8. Some fans. The place I am testing on is pretty hot and I just wanted to ensure that the VRMs will run cooler

I will be running the usual tests being done and will compare the results of the stock performance and the overclocked system. As mentioned earlier I will not be going thru the BIOS setup BUT will make one article just for the BIOS of this board.

Super PI 1M Test Stock VS Overclocked

Super PI 32M Stock VS Overclocked

3D Mark 2006 Stock VS Overclocked

3D Mark Vantage Stock VS Overclocked

3D Mark 11 Stock VS Overclocked

Cinebench Stock VS Overclocked

Sandra Memory Read Stock VS Overclocked

Sandra Memory Write Stock VS Overclocked

Sandra Memory Copy Stock VS Overclocked


Gigabyte has done it once again! Rock Solid board and awesome bundle. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think they are the first ones to come up with BT 4.0 and wifi in a board. The layout of the PCIe was well designed and putting multiple cards should be as easy as 1-2-3. No need to worry that it will not fit in. Placing the OC button, BIOS switch and CLR CMOS at the back is a very good idea. Overclockers who plan to use this as their main computer will have no issue accessing those buttons even if it is inside a chassis. The LAN and audio port is another good thing given by Gigabyte to their end-users. The BIOS switch which allows you to select which BIOS to use is another good idea. People can now select the BIOS they prefer to use especially those people trying to compare BIOS.