In the end of last year Intel introduced their new high-performance LGA 2011 platform including Sandy Bridge-E processors and a new X79 Express chipset. Our first article in the series called “Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition and Core i7-3930K processors for LGA 2011 Platform” talked about the peculiarities of the internal CPU organization and chipset structure, introduced to you the product lineup, described the design of the cooling systems, compared the performance and power consumption of the new platform against the already existing ones. As always, we followed up with a series of mainboard reviews in order to fully grasp the implementations of the new features and functions by different mainboard makers. Our first review talked about Asus P9X79 Deluxe. This mainboard left a very good impression, but the review may have left you with some questions, because at that time there was no real rival to the new Asus board. Without proper comparison it is hard to judge how good or bad the product is in certain applications. Today Asus mainboard has a more than worthy competitor: the flagship product from Gigabyte – GA-X79-UD7. This comparison promises to be particularly interesting because in their new mainboard family Gigabyte introduces new “3D Power” and “3D BIOS” technologies and even such familiar old features like DualBIOS, for example, will suddenly present themselves in a new light.
Packaging and Accessories
Gigabyte GA-X79-UD7 mainboard ships in a large box with a carry handle. Among numerous logotypes on the front side of the box, one stands out – a 3D cube, which serves as the symbol of the new “3D Power” and “3D BIOS” technologies.
The back of the box has a mainboard photograph, a brief list of technical specifications, and a short description of a few mainboard’s features.
The external decorative box is made of thick cardboard, and there is another sturdy white cardboard box beneath it. This second box contains two individual boxes with a mainboard in one of them and all accessories neatly arranged in the other:
- Four SATA cables with metal connector locks, two with L-shaped locks and another two with straight ones;
- A flexible bridge for two-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 two-way CrossFireX graphics configurations;
- A kit including a bracket and cables providing two external Serial ATA ports for the back panel;
- A module with two USB 3.0 ports for the 3-inch bay of the system case;
- A kit with a PCI-E Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 4.0 card, two antennas and a USB cable;
- A set of adapters for voltage control using a voltmeter device;
- I/O Shield for the back panel;
- User manual;
- Brief installation guide in 17 different languages;
- A booklet with Wi-Fi/Bluetooth kit installation instructions;
- DVD disk with software and drivers;
- DVD disk with software and drivers for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth kit;
- “Dolby Home Theater” and “Gigabyte” logo stickers for the system case.
It’s been a while since we came across a mainboard with such exceptionally rich accessories bundle. However, we have already seen all components in it before, except for the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 4.0 kit including an expansion card, two antennas and a USB cable.
The card is designed in PCI Express x1 form-factor, but is based on a mini PCI-E AzureWave IEEE 802.11 b/g/n – BT Combo PCIe minicard (AW-NB100H model).