|CPU:||Intel X3960 (ES)|
3.3 GHz, 15 MB Cache
|Memory:||16 GB DDR3 (4x 4 GB) G.Skill F3-17000CL9Q-16GBZH|
Intel X79 Express, BIOS ver F7
|Video Card:||Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2 GB|
|Harddisk:||Western Digital Caviar SE 16 WD5000AAKS 500GB SATA2|
Seagate Barracuda LP ST2000DL003 2TB SATA 6 Gb/s
iomega eGo BlackBelt 500GB USB3.0
|Power Supply:||Silverstone Strider GOLD 750W|
|Software:||Windows 7 64-bit SP1, ATI Catalyst 11.11|
Setting up the Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 went by without any issues, no different than any other motherboard, with the JEDEC 1600 MHz 11-11-11-31 1.5V profile of our G.Skill DIMMs booting right up. The OS install went perfectly, and no issues were noticed at any point during our testing period, even when overclocking. With the release of the new "F7" BIOS just after Christmas, we spent the few days right after re-testing everything, including the OS install, and found nothing worth mentioning, other than that everything worked as expected, with no hiccups.
PWM Power ConsumptionSince one of our first tasks was to truly verify system stability, while doing so we measure CPU power consumption. We 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.
The Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 at idle, sipped the power, pulling just four watts from the 8-pin EPS connector. With the new "F7" BIOS flashed on to the board, we found that load power consumption increased a fair bit from the previous BIOSes, pushing the Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 into territory no other boards sits in, with a total of 155 watts pulled via the 8-pin connector. This is a full 25 watts higher than any other tested Intel X79 Express product, and is also a 26 watt increase from previous BIOSes, which showed similar power consumed to the other products we tested in the past few weeks. We are not exactly sure why it is so much higher at stock, so we pushed the system to the limit, and found not only could we go further, but that power consumed during overclocking had reduced by nearly 25 watts. The new BIOS is definitely different in how it manages the VRM, and in a good way for those that are planning to overclock, as pushing further while consuming less power is not a small thing, at all.