Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi Intel LGA 2011
It's been nearly a year since Intel launched the X79 Express platform, and I have been enjoying what the platform offers since then. However, when Intel launched that platform, not all of the functionality was really there. It was missing PCIe 3.0 and SAS support, although a few boards did manage to trickle out with more features enabled than others.
Not all users of the X79 Express platform, including myself, are getting all they could out of their CPUs and here is the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi to help make that possible. There is something distinctly different with the X79S-UP5 WiFi, however.
With a design focus centered on Workstation users who demand the ultimate in reliability and functionality, the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi is far more than its name may hint at because it's not using the plain Intel X79 Express Chipset. It is, instead, equipped with a far higher-quality Intel C606 Express Chipset.
<th scope="row">CPU SUPPORT:</th>
<td>2nd Gen Intel Core i7 processor family for the LGA 2011 Socket</td>
<th scope="row">POWER DESIGN:</th>
<td>CPU Power: 8+1 Phase <br />
PCH Power: 2 Phase <br />
Memory Power: 1+1 Phase <br />
<td>Intel C606 Express </td>
<th scope="row">INTEGRATED GRAPHICS:</th>
<td>8 x DIMM, Max. 64 GB, DDR3 1066 to DDR3 2400
<td>2 x AMI EFI BIOS with 64 Mb Flash ROM </td>
<td>4 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x0/x4/x16 or x16/x8/x4/x8)<br />
1 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slot <br />
1 x PCI slot </td>
<th scope="row">HDD CONNECTIVITY:</th>
<td>2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (Intel C606) <br />
4 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (Intel C606) <br />
8 x SAS2/SATA3 6.0 Gb/s (Intel C606)</td>
<td>1x Intel WG82579LM PCIe Gigabit LAN<br />
1x Realtek RTL8111E PCIe Gigabit LAN</td>
<td>12 x USB 2.0 ports (6 at back panel, 6 at front panel)<br />
6 x USB 3.0 ports (4 at back panel, 2 at front panel) <br />
2 x RJ45 LAN connectors <br />
1 x Audio port with 5 audio jacks<br />
1 x SPDIF Output(Optical)<br />
2 x eSATA3 ports<br />
1 x IEEE 1394 port<br />
1 x CMOS Button Stack<br />
1 x PS/2 combo keyboard/mouse port<br />
<td>Realtek ALC898 HD CODEC</td>
<th scope="row">FAN HEADERS:</th>
<td>2 x 3-pin, 3 x 4-pin</td>
<th scope="row">FORM FACTOR:</th>
<td>E-ATX Form Factor (305 mm x 264 mm)</td>
<th scope="row">EXCLUSIVE FEATURES:</th>
Intel C606 Express Chipset
Launched in March, 2012, The Intel C606 is a Workstation-oriented chipset that supports eight PCIe 2.0 x 1 ports, up to eight SAS 3 Gb/s ports, two SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and four SATA 3 Gb/s ports. It also features fourteen USB 2.0 ports, Legacy PCI, Intel RSTe, and hardware XOR acceleration for RAID.
Built on the 65nm process node, the Intel C606 Express offers much more than the Intel X79 Express PCH, allowing board manufacturers to simplify design and save on component cost, but it does cost more than its X79 Express sister. It supports Xeon E5 processors, which can bring eight cores plus HT, for 16 total processing cores in a single-socket desktop workstation.
The 2nd Generation i7 Processors for SKT 2011 are very similar to the previously released SKT1155 CPUs, but nearly everything offered in the SKT1155 platform has been doubled, including cache and core count. Going by the marketing material given out by Intel, the SB-E CPUs (as they are referred to in enthusiast circles) feature eight total processing cores with two having been disabled to keep power in check. Rather than a total of eight active cores we find six, but as these cores feature Hyper-Threading, they appear as twelve separate cores to the OS.
Meanwhile, the Xeon E5 CPUs start as quadcores, but go all the way up to hectacores with HT, for a total of 16 processing cores within Windows. The cache goes up as well, as more cores need more cache, but the cooling needed, and thereby power consumed, increases as well, with the high-end 8-cores having up to a 150 W TDP.
The PCIe on the CPU can be split many ways, including dual x16 links and a single x8 link at the same time, a single x16 link with triple x8 links, or a single x16 link with dual x8 and dual x4 links. Together, these options offer a lot of flexibility for multi-card GPU configurations while supporting up to five total devices connected directly to the CPU. While only four discrete GPUs maximum are supported in current multi-GPU rendering options, the 5th link can be used for an external RAID controller or other PCIe devices that are commonly found in high-end builds.
The Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi does, of course, take advantage of the possibilities offered by the Intel C606 chipset, including full Xeon E5 CPU support, the 8-core Xeon E5-2687W that features 20 MB of cache, and a default 3.1 GHz speed with a TDP of 150 Watts. It also offers fully enabled SAS support over the desktop X79!
I was disappointed when I received the Gigabyte Z79S-UP5 WiFi. What greeted me when I opened the shipping container was a near copy of both the Z77X-UP5 TH and the Z77X-UD5H box I have shown in the past. The rear of the box is the same with a picture of the board and some technology descriptions.
Opening the box, I found the board wrapped in an anti-static bag with quite a few board accessories sitting underneath of this bag.
The Gigabyte Z79S-UP5 WiFi, like its name indicates, does, like many recent Gigabyte boards, include an add-on WiFi/Bluetooth combo card that fits into a PCIe x1 slot, and has a cable that attaches to a USB 2.0 header. There are the usual manuals, discs, SATA cables, and a USB 3.0 header that slides into a front-facing 3.5" port, including SLI bridges, to support the SLI and Tri-SLI functionality. I also found an extended Crossfire bridge and a couple of antennas for the add-in WiFi card in the box.
The Board - Layout
At first glance, the X79S-UP5 appears similar to the X79-UD5 I reviewed about nine months ago. There are, however, quite a few changes here, including better cooling. That cooling is the only point of color contrast from the matte black that covers the PCB, making it immediately obvious that there is another cooler present. The rear of the board is very basic with pins and such sticking out in the usual places. I also noticed that the cooling uses screws, which is good news for those that want to watercool the board, although it does say right on the front of the box that the X79S-UP5 WiFi is ready for watercooling right out of the box.
The socket area is standard fare for SKT 2011 motherboards, with the VRM cooling and ram slots close-by. The rear of the socket is, compared to some other boards I have looked at recently, clear of surface-mounted parts, although this is less of a focus here than it is with SKT 1155 parts since coolers mount right to the socket retention mechanism.
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There are six total expansion slots with a single PCI and PCIe x1 slot, and a total of four PCIe x16 slots. Only two of those slots are x16 slots electrically. The lower x16 slot will pass a PCIe x8 link up to the second physical x16 slot, while the third is always a PCIE x4 slot. The DIMM slots are pretty basic with four on either side supporting DIMMs of up to 8 GB each, bringing memory capacity to a staggering 64 GB, the size of some high-performance SSDs.
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All the usual suspects for pin headers are here, and since this is a Workstation-oriented board, a TPM header is here as well, along with the USB 2.0, FireWire, and audio headers. There are also two 3-pin fan headers on the bottom edge, with three 4-pin PWN-based headers located higher up the board as indicated by the red and yellow circles on the third image above.
The rear I/O panel is pretty busy, including eSATA, FireWire, dual LAN, and a mix of 10 USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports ports, with blue ports supporting USB 3.0 of course. The SATA ports are, with eight SAS ports, four SATA 3Gb/s ports, and two SATA 3 GB/s ports, far more than the traditional X79 board carries, one major feature of the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 Wifi. That is 14 ports all together, which should be more than enough for nearly any user.
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I got to say, I really like the blue Gigabyte uses for bits of the X79S-UP5 WiFi's heatsink, which appear to be some crazy interlocking design of many pieces that really is made up of some crazy interlocking design of many pieces! I didn't find much more than the Intel C606 Express chipset under that heatsink. The thermal paste used is of high quality, not that pink bubble-gum-like stuff I have seen before. I also noticed that the X79S-UP5 WiFi is made with a 6-layer PCB. I thought that it might have nine layers, but the other side had a "1" pointing in the direction that makes the number above really a "6". The board looks a bit thin to be made of nine layers anyways.
The Board - A Closer Look
Between the cooler and the SATA ports, I found the dual BIOS chips, which are controlled in a slightly different way than what we saw recently on the Z77X-UP5 TH. Instead of a switch on the board's edge, there are three switches on the rear I/O that control which BIOS is in use. There is also a Clear CMOS button, and a button labeled "O.C.", which immediately enables a preset overclock, even while in the OS. The blue and green switch, which swaps what BIOS is in use, lights up either the blue or green side according to the BIOS you are using with the board automatically enabling the backup BIOS should a boot failure be repeated a specific number of times.
The power switch is in the right corner of the board, while I found a blue RESET button down along the bottom right edge.
For monitoring duties, I found an ITE8728F, a very familiar Super I/O option that also provides the mouse/keyboard PS/2 port. The CPU VRM is controlled by an International Rectifier part labeled IR3570.
That of course manages the nine IR3550 powerstages that make up the CPU's VRM, each of which is capable of providing 60 A. I flipped the board over to find that there was nothing but some surface-mounted capacitors here, because those IR3550 parts integrate all the other parts you'd normally find behind the chokes, including Hi/Low MOSFETs, and the input driver. The design that puts all these parts together also allows for lower operating temperatures and greater efficiency, a big part of why Gigabyte has "certified" the Ultra Durable 5 parts, which carry these IR3550 powerstages, as "watercooling and K-SKU ready".
I found the VTT phase in the usual place, powered by an IR3553M powerstage, while chipset power is comprised of what appears to be two more traditional phases, although the design does seem a bit different from what I had expected.
The bank of DIMMs on the left side of the Gigabyte X79S-P5 WiFi is powered by yet another IR powerstage, this time an IR3570S, which in turn mates with another IR3553M, same as the VTT power phase. The IR3553 is rated for 40 A, which is more than enough.
The right bank is powered just as the left, using the same parts in all positions.
I found two different USB 3.0 controllers on the X79S-UP5 WiFi, one Fresno controller for the front ports, and a VLI part for the four ports on the rear.
There's a Marvell controller near the rear I/O to manage the eSATA ports, which is, most likely, a Marvell 88SE9172 part. The marking on the chip proved to be illegible, so I'm not 100% sure on that. The FireWire support is provided by a VIA part, a VT6308P shown in the second image above.
The dual LAN ports, like the USB 3.0 ports, are provided using different controllers, one an Intel part, and the other a Realtek part. Both are pretty reliable in my books, although some users do prefer the Intel part, so it's great to see that both types of users are covered here.
The audio on the board is provided by a high-end Realtek ALC898 CODEC, one that has proven itself in the field, but one that has, in my own testing, shown to be sensitive to circuit design. To swap the eight PCIe lanes from the lower x16 slot up to the x8 slot, I found four NXPL0408 parts, each one responsible for the switching of two lanes.
I also found a couple of PCIe clock buffers, both of which are made by ICS. Both of these parts were used on the X79 G1.Assassin2.
With the cooler removed from the board, you can see how the separate elements are organized. There are two large elements which connect to the PCH cooler with heatpipes but only one of them contacts the board, while the other sits on the VRM section for the left DIMM bank. Flipping the cooler over, we see contact pads on the VRM section that mates with the IR3550 powerstages. The other clearly has large standoffs that keep it from contacting the board's surface. The PCH contact plate only contacts the heatpipes on one side, which seems a bit unbalanced, but it seemed obvious to me that this was due to space restrictions after I had the cooler mounted back on the board.
<th colspan="3">BIOS Options</th>
<th scope="col">Step Size</th>
<th scope="row">CPU BCLK:</th>
<td>80 MHz ... 133.33 MHz</td>
<th scope="row">Memory Dividers:</th>
<td colspan="2">x8 (800 MHz), x10.67 (1067 MHz), x13.33 (1333 MHz), <br />
x16 (1600 MHz ), x18.66 (1866 MHz), x21.33 (2133 MHz), <br />
x22 (2200 MHz), x24 (2400 MHz)</td>
<th scope="col">Step Size</th>
<th scope="row">CPU Vcore:</th>
<td>0.80 V... 1.70 V</td>
<th scope="row">DRAM Voltage:</th>
<td>0.60 V... 1.80 V</td>
<th scope="row">CPU IMC:</th>
<td>0.80 V... 1.60 V</td>
<th scope="row">CPU PLL:</th>
<td>1.195 V... 1.985 V</td>
<th scope="row">CPU VTT:</th>
<td>0.715 V... 1.610 V</td>
<th scope="row">PCH Voltage:</th>
<td>1.5 V... 1.85 V</td>
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Like previous boards before it, the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi gets GIgabyte's new UEFI BIOS, which I've covered several times recently. The layout here is the same, with all the same basic options.
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From tab to tab, I actually couldn't say much about the BIOS itself that I have not said before, other than that its sub-menus are slightly better optimized.
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One thing I haven't covered too much is Gigabyte's new 3DBIOS, a graphical user interface that tries to take some of the mystery out of the options offered. Most of the main options for board set-up are across the bottom, including boot order, language, and date, under others. Clicking each icon has a menu pop up in the middle, which disappears when you hit "ESC".
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As you can see, SmartFan options here are broken down into two separate groups, one more group than I had expected. To get to the real board options like clocks, voltages, and more specific settings, you merely need to click the right area on the picture of the board sitting in the background, each area of which will light up blue after you activate a part that has settings you can change. There's also a little pop-up window that lets you know the details. It's pretty useful, for sure.
CPU speed, memory timings, and other such options are contained within what is referred to as the "System Tuning" section. Clicking on it pops up not one, but two windows. One window contains the settings you can change, while the window on the right side of the screen provides some monitoring information, far more than you'd find in the "normal" BIOS.
As I've mentioned before, Gigabyte's UEFI BIOS has progressed very quickly, even though they were late to the game of releasing products equipped with UEFI. It really appears as if they took that time to get everything working just right, which really shows. The BIOS is quick and responsive, and there was not a single occasion where I found myself thinking "I wish this option was here", which is a big change from BIOSes Gigabyte has released in the past.
I found the usual suspects on the driver disk with, of course, EasyTune making another showing. Also here with the Ultra Durable 5 motherboards is the "3D Power" utility, a software interface that allows you to adjust VRM settings form within the OS.
There's also the usual @BIOS software for BIOS updates, one that I have used a bit too much. It does work well, but there is no reason for such a software tool anymore since the BIOS is capable of updating itself.
<th colspan="2">Test System</th>
<td>Intel 3960X <br />
3.3 GHz, 15 MB Cache</td>
<td>16 GB DDR3 (4x 4 GB) G.Skill F3-17000CL9Q-16GBZH</td>
<td>CoolerMaster TPC 812</td>
<td>Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi<br />
Intel C606 Express, BIOS ver F3a</td>
<th scope="row">Video Card:</th>
<td>Gigabyte WindForce Radeon HD 7950 3 GB</td>
<td>Corsair ForceGT 60 GB SATA 6 Gb/s SSD(DATA)<br />
Corsair F60 60 GB SATA 3 Gb/s SSD(OS)<br />
Velocity SuperSpeed USB3.0 External Dock w/Corsair ForceGT</td>
<th scope="row">Power Supply:</th>
<td>Silverstone Strider GOLD 750W</td>
<td>Antec P280<br /></td>
<td>Windows 7 64-bit SP1, ATI Catalyst 12.8 w/ CAP 12.7 v3</td>
Initial setup and testing was uneventful with the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi. I noticed a slightly more aggressive Turbo profile than I have seen before, pictured in the CPU-Z screenshot above. I had many issues at first when I got the board, as it would not recognize any of my ES CPUs, but once I had popped in a retail chip, the board booted right up without any issues.
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As you can see by the pictures above, the slot arrangement for dual-GPU use is pretty good, with two full slots between each card. Of course, you could install three cards if you wish, although I tend to hesitate doing so on boards like this one because they do not feature an additional PCIe power plug. You can still access all the bottom edge pin headers, as well as the REST switch that sits amongst them, with three cards installed. I have found that some boards claiming to support three or four cards don't actually do so unless you completely ignore using the front-panel connector, as some cases have large headers that prevent installation of some VGAs, but that is not an issue with the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi.
We measure CPU power consumption since one of our first tasks is to truly verify system stability. I isolate the power coming through the 8-pin ATX connector using an in-line meter that provides voltage and current readings, as well as total wattage passed through it. While this may not prove to isolate the CPU power draw in all instances, it does serve as a good indicator of board efficiency and effective VRM design. I also measure total system power consumption, allowing you can get an idea of how much power the board and installed devices draw.
Idle power consumption for the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi's VRM was very good, beating out the Intel Z77 Express products. At the same time, full system power consumption was a bit higher, but given the extra PCIe connectivity and such, that comes as no surprise.
Load power consumption was another matter, but the Intel X79 Express platform itself does draw more power than Intel's Z77 Express, so this is really of no concern at this point. We will hopefully get usable information once I add more results in the future.
CPU Performance Results
We spent a week with the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi before beginning our performance testing, running various configurations and CPUs, and checking hardware compatibility. We verified our power consumption numbers using various different power supplies, and played a few hours of games with some members of the TPU community to get an overall feel for the board and to verify stability. Once completed, we tore down the system, mounted our Noctua cooler and put the board through the paces.
SuperPI serves as our memory-focused benchmark, being highly single-threaded. The Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi ended up a bit slower here, but that was expected.
wPrime is much more CPU-focused, and here the extra cores of the 3960X CPU pay off, letting the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi greatly outclass the other two boards.
WinRAR also takes advantage of the extra cores, and ends up seeing near 100% efficiency gains from those cores when compared to the other two results.
I use AIDA64's memory benchmark to highlight memory bandwidth. X79 Express itself fails with this workload, as AIDA64 fails to fully utilize all four channels of the SB-E's quad-channel controller.
Handbrake is used for encoding testing, and provided results much similar to the previous benchmarks, with the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi taking the top spot overall.
In Cinebench, the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi was a bit slower in the GPU portion than I had expected, considering the other results. The CPU results, on the other hand, have the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi on top again.
3D Performance Results
Once we completed our CPU test suite, we took some time to play some games with the TPU community to get an overall feel for gaming on the GigabyteX79S-UP5 WiFi. We settled in to complete our 3D benchmarking after a couple of days, feeling confident that the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi was going to put on a good show. Let's take a look at what numbers the board provided.
Once we ran 3DMark11, it became clear that a trend was emerging - one that has the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi as the fastest tested product.
I've recently added PCMark 07 and 3DMark 11 testing. Here, the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi performs pretty horribly, and I am not exactly sure why.
Shogun 2 is also a new benchmark in my main testing suite. It has proven to be very sensitive to changes that might affect system performance, serving as a good indicator of overall gaming performance. Here the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi wins again, but that's no surprise, is it?
Our second real-world 3D performance test comes from CodeMasters, in the form of the "F1 2010" included benchmark. We let the game recommend us settings, which included 8xAA with our dual HD 7950 3 GB cards from Gigabyte. F1 2010 proves to be one of my personal favorites, and the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi managed to really step up to the top, leaving the two Intel Z77 Express boards behind to the tune of 17 FPS! A Workstation board beating out gaming boards!
With the CPU and 3D performance compares out of the way, I took a closer look at the other performance features offered by the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi.
Drive and Audio Performance Results
Our drive and audio testing differs a bit from the rest of our testing, for several reasons. First of all, when it comes to drive performance comparison, nearly every platform on the market is very close to one another, as most do provide external drive controllers which means the numbers offered are very much platform agnostic. And finally, with audio, we do not list any numbers except for those reported by the product we are testing in order to provide the most information possible, as each audio CODEC will behave quite differently, and each board does not employ the same CODEC. As such, there is no standard we can use other than the numbers themselves. You can always check our other motherboard reviews in order to make direct comparisons to audio performance.
We tested each drive interface separately in order to provide the most complete numbers possible. Employing HDTune Pro for all of the testing, we tested each drive outside of the OS environment, using a separate OS on a separate drive. However, we do use drives with a fair amount of data on the Corsair ForceGT (60% full) to simulate performance in real-world situations, and I do use the same drive to test all interfaces too.
HDTune Pro (SATA2)
In HDTune Pro SATA 3 GB/s performance, we found the GigabyteX79S-UP5 WiFi to be underperforming. It placed last, but really, it's only about 1% slower than the other results, if that.
HDTune Pro (SATA 6Gb/s)
SATA 6 Gb/s showed much the same, with the GigabyteX79S-UP5 WiFi right in the middle.
HDTune Pro (USB3.0)
USB 3.0 drive performance tests are done using the same Corsair ForceGT drive used to test SATA 3 Gb/s and SATA 6 Gb/s performance, and here we got much better results, with the GIgabyte board taking the top spot.
RightMark Audio Analyzer
Audio testing using RightMark Audio Analyzer provided pretty good numbers for the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi, rating the audio given by the onboard Realtek CODEC as "Good". Only a single item here was listed as "poor".
Overclocking with the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi was a bit problematic. It did not like my ES C0 chip at first, although this changed with the most recent post BIOS. I did manage to beat the VRM pretty hard with my C1 chip, to the point that I could not get my usual 4.6 GHz stable with that chip, which was not an issue with my new replacement. If you plan on pushing more than 300 Watts through the CPU VRM, I'd advise against it, but around 250 Watts is just fine.
Memory clocked well, as expected. The Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi has just hit retail, and I really did not expect much with such a new BIOS, but it did exceed my expectation, especially considering this is a Workstation product. Workstation users that aren't as familiar with overclocking, but would like a bit extra performance, can push the OC switch on the board's rear I/O for an easy automatic overclock that works fairly well. What speed you get with that button will depend on which chip you have installed.
Overclocked Performance Summary
I have really changed how I do my overclock testing with motherboards now. Every single test you see in the main section is repeated in the section that follows, including power consumption. As I test more products, a good picture of overclocking efficiency should emerge, which should prove interesting when it comes to those products that are 100% overclocking-oriented. I've grouped the results into sections here, and all products are tested with a 4.6 GHz CPU speed. Memory speeds vary depending on the platform's ability.
Power consumption was pretty good with the Gigabyte X79S-UP5, although that doesn't show here as there aren't many X79 results yet. As you can see though, the X79S-UP5 WiFi had no issues pushing 250 Watts through the VRMs, for a total of 409 watts for the entire system. Do keep in mind there was no 3D load here, and that these numbers reflect CPU load only.
AIDA64's memory benchmark does not take full advantage of the quad-channel memory this board supports, so it may looks like it's performing poorly here, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The Z77 boards also use faster memory which skews the results a bit, but that is one of the benefits Z77 offers, making it a fair comparison, especially when overclocking.
CPU OC Performance
CPU overclock performance was very good, with the platform continuing to win in all the same benches that it did at stock. It lost in Cinebench OpenGL and in SuperPi, but that's to be expected. Otherwise, the SKT 2001 is clearly faster overall than the SKT 1155, although many see them as competing with each other.
3D-Oriented OC Performance
Again, SKT 2011, and thereby the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi, wins out in 3D performance, and by considerable margins, too. I really didn't expect the F1 2010 results to have such a gap in them, but it is what it is. If you want the best in performance, SKT 2011 is clearly the choice you must make.
Value & Conclusion
<table width="100%" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" id="result">
<td>The Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi is really a great product. I really had a hard time coming up with things that it did poorly. If you want to overclock your CPU until it fries to a crisp, this board is not for you. But if you value stability, and a lot of drive ports at a reasonable price, you don't need to look any further. <br />
The addition of SAS support and a PCI slot, things that are specific to the Intel C606 chipset, are quite obviously focused on Workstation users, but given today's HD media, managing large amounts of storage is something that many users are familiar with. Adding support for as many drives as the Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi offers would normally cost an arm and a leg, simply to cover the cost of a RAID card to add all those ports. Here, that functionality is provided nearly for free.<br />
I was completely blown away when Gigabyte informed me of the price. There are a couple of other Workstation-centered products for SKT 2011 on the market already, and the Gigabyts X79S-UP5 WiFi really outstrips them in both functionality, and cost. And if it doesn't beat the competition in one category, it certainly does in all others. I think Gigabyte has a winner here, and I just might have to swap to a blue and black rig.:p</td></tr>
I want this board. Stability is what I desire.
Wait... if the board uses the C606 chip, then why is X79 in the board's name? Did they originally intend to use the X79 or is it just a screw up?
C606, technically, is X79, but a different grade. Both are "Patsburg", but of varying quality. There are like 5 or 6 different versions, that back this time last year, were refered to as Patsburg-S or Patsburg-T, or other letters follwing "Patsburg".
Today they are know as follows:
All expect the X79 version are used as workstation or server-grade PCH's, while X79 is reserved for desktop use.
So, to call the board X79, is as accurate as C606. I personally wanted to highlight that this was not "just X79", so now you know, and thanks for asking.;)
Great Review I like your work!
Now this is a sexy board! I wanted to do a red themed build, but now i'm going to have to do a blue and black one with MB!
EDIT: Dang just realized this board is E-ATX won't fit in the case I wanted...
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