We performed our power consumption measurements using an Extech Power Analyzer 380803. This device is connected before the PSU and measures the power draw of the entire system (without the monitor), including the power loss that occurs in the PSU itself. In the idle mode we start the system up and wait until it stops accessing the hard disk. Then we use LinX to load the CPU. For a more illustrative picture there are graphs that show how the computer power consumption grows up depending on the number of active execution threads in LinX (both at the default and overclocked system settings). The mainboards on the diagrams are sorted out in alphabetical order.
We often point out that on many mainboards certain power-saving technologies are disabled by default. Therefore, besides power consumption in nominal mode with all default settings, we also measured the power consumption of test systems with all power-saving technologies (including the proprietary ones) manually enabled. The difference between these two test is usually quite obvious, but we couldn’t detect any difference at all with Gigabyte GA-X79-UD7 mainboard. Therefore, we have good and bad news for you. The good news is that all Intel processor power-saving technologies works absolutely correctly on this board that is why manually enabling them doesn’t affect the system power consumption in any way. This is an indisputable advantage of this mainboard, but there are also a few drawbacks. The new “3D Power” technology finally made it possible to configure in the BIOS Gigabyte’s proprietary power saving technologies, such as dynamic adjustment of the number of active phases in the processor voltage regulator circuitry depending on the current CPU utilization. Unfortunately, this function is currently non-operational that is why you won’t get any additional power savings from enabling the optimized power mode.
As a result, is we compare the power consumption of mainboards working in the nominal mode, then Gigabyte board will be more energy-efficient under any type of load, because it has all power-saving technologies up and running by default, unlike the Asus board.
Things change if we enable all power-saving technologies manually. Gigabyte mainboard will remain more energy-efficient under low operational loads, while under heavy loads Asus board will step forward, because besides Intel’s power-saving technologies, its proprietary power-saving tools will also kick in.
Only overclocking returns things to where they were in the beginning: Gigabyte mainboard is again more energy-efficient under all types of loads.
During our review of Gigabyte GA-X79-UD7 mainboard we uncovered a lot of advantages as well as a few issues. However, despite these issues the board left a very positive impression. We should keep in mind that the manufacturer was facing a very difficult task to perform smooth transition to UEFI BIOS and overall, which was an overall success. At least, we were expecting to reveal more serious issues than the ones we ended up finding. Of course, the new “3D BIOS” as well as the proprietary utilities suite still need some work done. It is a real pity that the new “3D Power” technology is not yet fully functional. At the same time we can’t help mentioning that the company is working very hard on resolving these issues in a timely manner. For example, Turbo technology didn’t work correctly and the counteracting processor’s voltage drop under heavy load didn’t work at all in the earlier BIOS versions. Now these issues have been successfully fixed. Two large heatsinks over the voltage regulator components on Asus P9X79 Deluxe remained very hot under heavy load despite an additional fan, while on Gigabyte mainboard one small almost decorative heatsink did its job perfectly even without additional airflow, which indicates that its voltage regulator circuitry is exceptionally efficient. In fact, even though the proprietary power-saving technologies didn’t work, the board still remains very energy-efficient, as you can see from our power consumption tests. At this point it is still too early to rate the new features and functionality of Gigabyte GA-X79-UD7, because they are still work in progress. However, we are very pleased to see them introduced, and on the technical side we have every reason to state that Gigabyte GA-X79-UD7 mainboard is a very high-quality product, which will serve you long and well.