Intel is in full swing with the X79 and their Sandy Bridge-E CPUs. We have watched as they have broken and re-broken records for performance and in some cases overclocking. Behind all of this we have the X79 chipset with its quad-channel DDR3 configuration and some impressive power specifications. Intel has also brought back BCLK overclocking which has made things very interesting. We have a few X79 boards in the lab and are working on finding out just what they can do and how they actually work in the real world. One of these is also our second Gigabyte motherboard; the X79-UD5. This will also be our first video preview where we show you and talk about the design and features. So let’s dive in and see what the GA-X79-UD5 has to offer…
With all of the news about the Z77 Express motherboards and Ivy Bridge we thought we would step back and take a look at our old friend the X79 and the Sandy Bridge-E CPU. This platform still represents the top end for Intel and although it does not have the same mainstream media acceleration that Ivy Bridge does it is still quite the platform. We are going to dive into the design and features of one of the more prominent enthusiast products for this chipset; Asus Republic of Gamers Rampage IV. We have the Rampage IV Gene and the Formula in the lab and will be running both of these through their paces in the coming days. Right now we are going to walk around the Rampage IV Gene which at $290 is a lot of money to shell out, but it also looks like a lot of motherboard in a small package. Let’s take a look shall we?
After taking a look over the MSI X79A-GD65(8D) motherboard and some of MSI’s design choices (and the benefits they bring) we have dove into our performance testing. You may remember that we had concerns about the way the PCIe slots were segmented into Gen3 and Gen2. To check and see what effect (if any) this might have on performance we ran some of our tests with the GPU in the Gen2 slot and some in the Gen3 slot. We were more than a little surprised at what we found out. So let’s get into the performance half of our review of the MSI X79A-GD65(8D) and see what we found.
Earlier this year when we visited Gigabyte during CES they reiterated something that they said about three years ago. They are committed to providing a much better performing product and are gearing themselves more and more toward the enthusiast and gamer’s market. We have watched them make this shift since we first started working with them back in early 2005. Now 6+ years later we can say they have made this transition well. Their lineup has become much more diversified with a good separation of products. We have already shown you some of the top end boards like the G1.Assassin2 and the X79-UD5 and have goe though the design and features of the X79-UD3 so now we can tell you how this board really performs. Let’s take a look.
Only a few weeks after we showed you the performance of the MAINGEAR Epic180 we have another product from MAINGEAR in the labs. This is their DIY thermal interface material called the MAINGEAR EPIC T1000 (yes it is a terminator reference). The EPIC T1000 is a phase change alloy that changes from a solid to a liquid when exposed to heat. This creates and flow that is capable of filling in any and all pores and lines in both the CPU heat spreader and the head of your cooler (whether it is water cooling, air or other). This, technically can beat even the smoothest thermal paste on the market in terms of fill and also should be able to outperform them in terms of thermal transfer as the head of your cooler and the CPU are almost soldered together for an even and continuous surface contact. So let’s take a look at what you get with this new DIY kit from MAINGEAR and also see if it really can improve performance.
As 2011 comes to a close the big name in desktop CPUs is Intel. AMD’s Bulldozer failed to impress the market and while it is not a terrible product it does not have what it takes to grab the CPU performance crown from Intel. The top product for Intel is its new Sandy Bridge E CPUs and the X79 chipset. We have taken a look at Intel’s X79 Desktop board and Gigabyte’s G1.Assassin2. Both of these products let the Sandy Bridge E stretch its legs and run. Now we have our third X79 board in the lab. This one is from Asus and is the upper end of their consumer line. The board in question is the Asus P9X79 Deluxe. This board features the standard Intel LAN (you get dual LAN but only one is Intel in this case) as well as Asus’ BTGO (Bluetooth Go) 3.0. This is a continuation of the Bluetooth that Asus has been putting on their boards since the beginning of the year (we saw this at CES 2011). Now they are also dropping in Wireless (just like most other X79 boards), but wireless and Bluetooth are not all that Asus has packed into this board. So let’s take a look at exactly what you get with the Asus P9X79 Deluxe.
With the apparent delay of Intel Ivy Bridge and of course the Z77 chipset that goes with it) we there is going to be a continued demand for the X79 chipset and the pretty much every flavor of the LGA2011 CPU. To be honest I think that even after Ivy Bridge there will be a demand as the replacement for the LGA 2011 CPUs will not hit the market until around Q4 2012 or even later. So with that in mind we are taking a look at what at first glance appears to be a low cost X79 motherboard from Gigabyte. However, once you take a look at it you just might begin to see the serious overclocking and GPU benchmarking potential that it has. Let’s take a look at the Quad-SLI/Crossfire capable X79-UD3 from Gigabyte.
Not that long ago we talked to you about the features and design choices that Gigabyte made on the X79-UD5. This board is at the upper end of Gigabyte’s X79 lineup although it is not what you would consider an enthusiast board. Despite this Gigabyte has given it many of their enthusiast level features like their dual 3D BIOS, 3D power and some of the overclocking potential that we would expect from Gigabyte. Now it is time for us to dive into the usability and performance. So let’s see exactly how the X79-UD5 performs.
Intel is enjoying some of the most successful quarters of their life. They have launched what is arguably the fastest desktop CPU that you can buy and have coupled it with a chipset that is clearly set to perform. We have already shown you what the CPU is capable of on a reference design motherboard and are now ready to dive into what the, more creative, companies have in stock for the X79 and Core i7 3960 combo. Today we are going to dive into the features of the Gigabyte G1.Assassin2. This X79 based board is the follow up to the very popular G1.Assassin (hence the “2” at the end) It features quite a few intriguing new features as well as what you would expect from a G1.Killer motherboard. These include an onboard KillerNIC and also a full CreativeLabs Audio card built right onto the board. Other features include a new “3D” bios improved power management and Bluetooth 4.0. Will these combine to bring about the same level of gaming platform we saw in the G1.Assassin? Or will the youngest member of the G1 family be a disappointment and not get invited to holiday dinner? Let’s find out…
The fourth X79 board we have in the lab is from MSI in the form of the X79A-GD65(8D). This board features the third generation of their Military Class of hardware as well as what MSI calls true Gen 3 PCIe The X79A-GD65(8D) has a price tag under $300 which makes these represents the lowest priced board we have tested so far. Now the question is; does the X79A-GD65(8D) have the same level of quality and performance as its more expensive peers, or will we find out that the old maxim “you get what you pay for” is true. We will take a look at both the performance and the design choices behind the X79A-GD65 and let you know. We will kick things off with the design and features.