Articles: Mainboards

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The reviews of flagship mainboards are always increasingly popular. The mainboard makers pursue those, because high-end models allow them to easily demonstrate maximum of their potential. Reviewers also prefer to check out full-featured products and even though potential users enjoy reading these reviews a lot, in the end they still go with something from the mainstream or even low-end segment. The reasons are quite obvious: the extensive functionality of the flagship products is often excessive for regular users. Besides, top models are usually more expensive than regular ones. Therefore, now that we have already discussed almost half a dozen of flagship LGA 2011 products from different makers, time has come to expand our coverage to somewhat simpler products. The main hero of our today’s review is the junior model in Gigabyte’s line-up on Intel X79 Express chipset – Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3.

I have to say that the low-end models usually receive if not contemptuous, but at least understandingly indulgent welcome. Everyone knows that entry-level mainboards usually come with a very limited set of features and for the most part offer only the basic functionality that is why they will suffice only for the least demanding users. However, despite this popular opinion, Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 is nothing like that. It is a junior model, but in no way a limited one – it is a fully-functional product with a set of unique features of its own. Moreover, in some aspects it is even superior to some of the top products, and its functionality is extended with a lot of additional onboard controllers. Well, enough of teasing, let’s get acquainted with this new product.

Packaging and Accessories

Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 is shipped in a thin cardboard box without any bells and whistles such as a carry-handle or flip covers. Modest design of the front side is very pleasing to the eye and only includes a few logos. The back of the box has a photo of the mainboard, a brief list of technical specifications and mentions a few specific peculiarities.

Note that there is a large yellow sticker in the lower left corner of the box. You may already know that shortly after the launch of the LGA 2011 platform, it turned out that the first BIOS revisions for Gigabyte mainboards could cause a mainboard failure during overclocking accompanied by substantial voltage increase. Therefore, they released an F7 version update, which improved the built-in protection and advised all users to update their BIOS as soon as possible. This sticker informs the user that the board comes with a BIOS version F7 or newer.

Inside the box you find the following accessories:

  • Four SATA cables with metal connector locks, two with L-shaped locks and another two with straight ones;
  • A flexible bridge for 2-way Nvidia SLI graphics configurations;
  • A hard bridge for 3-way Nvidia SLI graphics configurations;
  • A hard bridge for 4-way Nvidia SLI graphics configurations;
  • A flexible bridge for 2-way CrossFireX graphics configurations;
  • I/O Shield for the back panel;
  • User manual;
  • Brief assembly guide in 17 different languages;
  • DVD disk with software and drivers;
  • “Dolby Home Theater” and “Gigabyte” logo stickers for the system case.

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