GIGABYTE X79-UD7 Overclocking Review
The X79-UD7 is not bare of all features like the X58A-OC, but it's heatsink does carry the GIGABYTE OC emblem, as well as the same fire waves. The VRM also has a heatsink, yet not that big. Both are connected by a 8mm heatpipe, and it gives the board a sleek look. The GIGABYTE X79-UD7 has a 16+2+2+2+2 phase design(CPU+VCCSA+VCCIO+DRAM A/B+DRAM C/D).
Looking at this area we can tell a few things, first of all this board is equipped with two 8-Pin 12v power connectors for unhindered CPU power. We can also see that GIGABYTE is using Digital PWM's for the Memory, QPI/VTT, System Agent, and Vcore. They are using 4 phases total for the memory with some sort of single chip DrMOS type IR power stage. IR is International Rectifier, they recently acquired CHiL Semiconductor and are now using CHiL technology to build and market their own Digital PWMs. GIGABYTE is using their PWMs, 3 of them in total. GIGABYTE is using two 3+2 phase Digital PWMs each powering 2 DIMMs and either the System Agent or QPI/VTT. Each of them has 2 phases as well. From the picture above we can also tell that GIGABYTE is using FL1009 Fresco Logic USB 3.0 controllers, each support 2 USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports. We can also see an Intel NIC, which is great news for many, as the Realtek wasn't a favourite for many hardcore users.
We can see the area of the board that carries a lot of interest to overclockers, as one person dubbed it, the OC Area. We have Voltage read points which are a combination of pads and connectors for the included DMM wire adapters. We have two sets of buttons which can either raise/lower the multiplier and raise/lower the BLCK. There is a button called Gear, and it allows for the BLCK buttons to reduce their 1mhz increase to 0.1mhz increase for very fine tuning. GIGABYTE also has a reset button and a power button located respectively in this area as well. Then we have the port 80H POST code display, not blocked by the 24-pin connector as it was on the X58A-OC. The internal USB 3.0 connector is also here.
If you was wondering what that SATA power connector is, it is GIGABYTE's special PCI-E power plug. Instead of using Molex connectors like other motherboard makers GIGABYTE has taken the route of using SATA power connectors, which we don't mind one bit.
GIGABYTE's Digital PWM is a 6+2 phase Internal Rectifier PWM, those phases are then doubled by X-Phase ICs and then fed to 40A PowerPAK Low RDS(ON) MOSFETs. This is a very powerful VRM for the CPU Vcore, one of the most powerful we have seen for X79. The only thing we have to complain about is that half the MOSFETs are located under the board and not heatsinked.
GIGABYTE uses 19x 470uF POSCap Tantalum Ultra Low ESR capacitors. POSCaps are Panasonic branded Tantalum capacitors. We saw the same ones/amount used on the X58A-OC. This is a lot of bulk output capacitance; we have no doubt that this VRM has excellent performance. Everything about all the VRMs mentioned so far, from the power for the DRAM to the power for the VCCIO and VCCSA is powered by 100% International Rectifier parts, from the 40A power stages to the 40A MOSFETs, to the X-Phase doublers, to the PWMs. GIGABYTE has a total IR solution. Those nice DirectFET CopperMOS we saw on the older Rampage series (not Rampage 4 series) were made by IR, maybe we will see those on a later revision board, GIGABYTE?
GIGABYTE has supplied the board with 4 extra SATA6GB/s ports with two Marvell SE9172. GIGABYTE has also used two SuperIO controllers, the iTE IT8728F and Windbond W83L786NG which provides all 7 fan ports with control. The iTE chip also provides PS/2. There are also two ICS branded clock generators. GIGABYTE has upgraded their audio to the Realtek ALC898 which has 112dB SNR. The Intel NIC is also present is a PHY device that works with the PCH.
GIGABYTE also upgraded their BIOS from LGA1155 to LGA2011, from 32MB to 64MB, this was done to support the UEFI. So let's take a look at their UEFI!