Gigabyte X79-UD3 Motherboard
Author: Shawn Knight
Editor: Zahn Funk
Date: 03-17-2012
Provided by: Gigabyte
First Look

Included in the retail box is the board itself, rear I/O shield, user's manual, a Gigabyte sticker, four secure-style SATA cables and an array of SLI / CrossFire connectors for multi-GPU setups. The bundle is pretty basic save for the multi-GPU adapters which is a nice addition considering the board's capabilities in that department.

The X79-UD3 is a standard ATX-sized motherboard with a black PCB and black / white highlights. There aren't any over-the-top design elements like you'd find on their high-end G1.Assassin 2 board (neon green slots, pistol-shaped heatsink) so this should fit at home in most any themed chassis.

Starting at the top we find two 4-pin CPU fan headers next to the 8-pin CPU power connector. A single array passive heatsink just above the CPU socket is responsible for keeping the power system cool. Gigabyte's power system is a three-part system that supplies power to the CPU as well as each memory zone (Memory Zone A and Memory Zone B). Each zone is controllable via the BIOS or through Gigabyte's 3D software.

Socket 2011 is a good bit different from Sandy Bridge in that heatsinks mount directly to the retention mechanism rather than requiring a special backplate and holes to pass hardware though the board. The area around the CPU should accommodate most heatsinks but if you are using anything on the large side, I would suggest installing your memory first as it may not fit with a cooler in place. Additionally, the top PCIe slot is extremely close to the left set of memory slots and the CPU area in general. Again, this could be an issue if you have a big cooler.

As you can see, two sets of memory slots flank the CPU socket on either side, allowing for quad-channel memory. On the right side of the board is another 4-pin fan header, 24-pin ATX power connector and an internal USB 3.0 header.

More just ahead...

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