Sunday, 08 December 2013 23:52

Gigabyte X79-UP4 Design and Feature Review

The X79 chipset is nothing new, in fact in motherboard years it is quite old. However that does not mean that is it obsolete. If anything there are still many people that use the platform for their Sandy Bridge-E CPUs and now that the Ivy Bridge – E is out it is a great option. As we have both of these CPUs in the lab we decided to take a look at a single X79 board and see how it fares with both the Core i7 3960X and 4960X. The board we chose for this is the Gigabyte X79-UP4. Since we have not had this board in the lab before we decided to do the full work up on the X79-UP4 before we dive into the meat of the matter and run both of these CPUs through our gauntlet of tests. So let’s get things started.

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As we round out our coverage of the Asus Republic of Gamers Rampage IV Gene we are taking a look at both the synthetic and real-world performance of this board. As we have mentioned before the Gene is the gateway into the ROG Line and shows an excellent blending of performance, features and ease of use for those that are new to playing with higher end Motherboards. Of course the Gene also serves a purpose with the enthusiasts as well it offers a very competent motherboard in a small package for gaming, small and quiet systems and even for someone looking for a solid board to build a home server on. Since we have already shown you what the Rampage IV Gene looks like on paper, let’s take the tiem to show you how it looks in the real world.

board01With 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?

IntroEVGA has built a name for itself inside the community of overclockers, gamers and other enthusiasts. Although they do not have the same volume as Gigabyte or Asus, they still put out some of the top boards when it comes to overclocking and performance. In fact as of this writing an EVGA Classified SR-2 Motherboard holds the number one slot in Futuremark’ s 3DMark 11 Hall of Fame. Unfortunately we do not have a Classified SR-2 in the shop for testing, but we do have an EVGA X79 FTW (151-SE-E777). This board features a matte black PCB, five PCI3 x16 slots and a lot more. So let’s take a look over the X79 FTW and check out both the design choices and features you can expect when you buy this board.

board06Earlier 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.

board03With 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.

board01After 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.

Wednesday, 08 February 2012 11:38

Gigabyte X79-UD5 Performance Review Part II

board03Not 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.

board01The 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.

Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:58

Gigabyte's X79-UD5 drops in for a video shoot

board03Intel 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…