👤by Richard Weatherstone Comments 📅15-11-11

As we previously stated in the introduction, I was a big fan of the X58-UD5 and longed for the X79-UD5 to give similar satisfaction. While there is no doubting it is a good motherboard, it's not quite got the same appeal.

Take for example the overclocking. While 4.7GHz is a great achievement in anyone’s regard, it is not just the end result but the trouble it takes to get there. The GIGABYTE X79-UD5 was a very stubborn motherboard and also, at times, awkward and frustrating to use. BIOS recovery needs some work as a failed overclock will continue to cycle until you pull the power rather than resetting to default settings automatically. Cue the CMOS clear switch which is hidden away on the I/O panel which is both small and very difficult to gain access to should a number of USB peripherals be attached in that area. The CMOS clear switch will also automatically power on the motherboard upon releasing the button which is less than ideal.

Questions also need to be raised regarding the placement of the on-board power and reset switches. While I have no issues with the power button, the reset switch, which will most likely be used more often than the power on button is hidden away at the bottom end of the motherboard, opposite end to the power-on button. Not only that but it is simply a micro switch with no illumination or a button per say, unlike the power button. Therefore the rest switch, along with the CMOS clear switch appear to be more of an afterthought than a product of design.

The 3D UEFI BIOS I'm sure will appeal to those who are daunted by the feel of the old school BIOS however it still has some bugs that need ironing out. We are currently in talks with GIGABYTE who have assured us that future BIOS releases are in the pipeline which will rectify some of the issues we found. With a little luck, hopefully new BIOS revisions will also allow us to increase our overclock further and because GIGABYTE are very good at keeping updating their BIOS revisions, I will keep you posted on developments with edits to this review. As it stands though, the X79-UD5 clearly has some more work needed if it is going to battle with the best like its older brother based on the X58 chipset. I am perhaps being a little unfair though as the X79-UD5 is not the premium overclocking board; the X79-UD7 is where that game is played best.

The packaging of the product was very good and I really liked the inclusion of a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module which is a rarity among motherboards. The aesthetics of the board, while slightly different from the previews we have seen, are still very good and a far cry from the horrid multi-coloured GIGABYTE motherboards of old. Performance wise, the GIGABYTE was ever so slightly behind on CPU performance, matched GPU performance and excelled at memory performance so it was a mixed bag of results in truth. Overall, if I was pushed to choose the GIGABYTE or the MSI, as much as I like the GIGABYTE, the current issues and poor button layout would make me edge toward the MSI. However, if you plan on keeping your motherboard inside an enclosure then the two boards are fairly evenly matched. The MSI just pipped the GIGABYTE but I suspect that once GIGABYTE sort their BIOS issues out, the two boards will once again stand toe to toe in this department as well.

Overall then, the GIGABYTE X79-UD5 will make a good foundation to a new LGA2011 build. It has everything a mainstream user could want, masses of connectivity, PCIe Gen3, SATA 6GB/s and USB 3.0 along with wireless capability. It does have a few issues though and while some of these will be resolved in the future, presently the motherboard just misses out on Silver and has to settle for the Vortez Bronze award.

+Ultra Durable 3 components
+Very good (passive) cooling
+Very quiet operation (fan less)
+Wireless capability
+Good packaging/Accessories
+8 Memory expansion slots

-BIOS Issues
-Poorly positioned CMOS and reset buttons
-Auto Overclock recovery poor
-No LED Debug
-Audio ports may be an issue for some

Click here for an explanation of our awards at Thanks to GIGABYTE for providing today’s review sample.

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