gb x79 overview Hands on pictures of Gigabytes upcoming X79 motherboards

VR-Zone got to spend a little bit of time with Gigabyte's upcoming motherboard for (as we were informed by Gigabyte who in turn had been instructed by Intel to tell us that we should call it) the Intel Core i7 processor family for the LGA 2011 socket, otherwise known under Intel's code name of Sandy Bridge-E. We've already seen Gigabyte's X79 motherboards a few times, but these are the first detailed pictures and as such we have a few additional snippets of information to share with you.

VR-Zone got to spend a little bit of time with Gigabyte's upcoming motherboard for (as we were informed by Gigabyte who in turn had been instructed by Intel to tell us that we should call it) the Intel Core i7 processor family for the LGA 2011 socket, otherwise known under Intel's code name of Sandy Bridge-E. We've already seen Gigabyte's X79 motherboards a few times, but these are the first detailed pictures and as such we have a few additional snippets of information to share with you.

ud3 1 Hands on pictures of Gigabytes upcoming X79 motherboards

Starting with the X79-UD3 we don't have too much new to report, but we know for sure that we're looking at a couple of additional Marvell controllers for the extra four SATA 6Gbps ports. Another feature we weren't aware of until now is that Gigabyte has moved away from Realtek on all of its X79 motherboards in favour of Intel Ethernet controllers. That said, the audio is still from Realtek, but that's more or less the norm today, no matter what motherboard you buy with a few exceptions.

ud3 2 Hands on pictures of Gigabytes upcoming X79 motherboards

A third Marvell controller adds the two eSATA ports and as we mentioned before, Gigabyte has moved over to Fresco Logic for the USB 3.0 host controllers on its X79 boards. Sadly Fresco Logic's four port host controller wasn't ready in time, so multiple controllers had to be used. This is also the only of Gigabyte's X79 motherboards that lacks a heatpipe, but to make up for it a taller heatsink has been fitted to help cool the VRM.

ud3 3 Hands on pictures of Gigabytes upcoming X79 motherboards

Moving on we have the X79-UD5 and we'd like to point out that the heatsink in this case is quite different to the UD3 and we're not talking about the blue colour here. Due to in part the heatpipe running from the VRM to the heatsink and in part to the two different coloured materials used, Gigabyte has fitted a much thicker and more solid feeling heatsink on the UD5, even though it might not look like it's anything special from the pictures. As we mentioned before, the UD5 is Gigabyte's only eight DIMM board, although this is at the cost of the seventh expansion slot. We should also mention that this is there are no PCI Express switches on this board, as it's configured in dual x16 and a single x8 slot and as there are enough PCI Express lanes to go around, there's no need for any switches.

ud5 1 Hands on pictures of Gigabytes upcoming X79 motherboards

For those still using FireWire, this is also Gigabyte's only X79 motherboard that supports FireWire. You'll also find an eSATAp (powered eSATA/USB combo) port around the back. As we mentioned back at the IDF preview, that blue and green button below the O.C. button around the back is in fact for manual BIOS switching. There's also what appears to be a small clear CMOS button here. Otherwise this board offers fairly similar functionality to the UD3.

ud5 2 Hands on pictures of Gigabytes upcoming X79 motherboards

ud5 3 Hands on pictures of Gigabytes upcoming X79 motherboards