Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi Intel LGA 2011 Review 5

Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi Intel LGA 2011 Review

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Introduction


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.

Specifications

Specifications
CPU SUPPORT:2nd Gen Intel Core i7 processor family for the LGA 2011 Socket
POWER DESIGN:CPU Power: 8+1 Phase
PCH Power: 2 Phase
Memory Power: 1+1 Phase
CHIPSET:Intel C606 Express
INTEGRATED GRAPHICS:Not Applicable
MEMORY:8 x DIMM, Max. 64 GB, DDR3 1066 to DDR3 2400
BIOS:2 x AMI EFI BIOS with 64 Mb Flash ROM
SLOTS:4 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x0/x4/x16 or x16/x8/x4/x8)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slot
1 x PCI slot
HDD CONNECTIVITY:2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (Intel C606)
4 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (Intel C606)
8 x SAS2/SATA3 6.0 Gb/s (Intel C606)
NETWORKING:1x Intel WG82579LM PCIe Gigabit LAN
1x Realtek RTL8111E PCIe Gigabit LAN
PORTS:12 x USB 2.0 ports (6 at back panel, 6 at front panel)
6 x USB 3.0 ports (4 at back panel, 2 at front panel)
2 x RJ45 LAN connectors
1 x Audio port with 5 audio jacks
1 x SPDIF Output(Optical)
2 x eSATA3 ports
1 x IEEE 1394 port
1 x CMOS Button Stack
1 x PS/2 combo keyboard/mouse port
AUDIO:Realtek ALC898 HD CODEC
FAN HEADERS:2 x 3-pin, 3 x 4-pin
FORM FACTOR:E-ATX Form Factor (305 mm x 264 mm)
EXCLUSIVE FEATURES:
  • @bios
  • Q-Flash
  • Xpress Install
  • EasyTune
  • ON/OFF Charge
  • 3TB+ Unlock
  • Q-Share
  • 3D Power
  • Ultra Durable 5
  • 333 Onboard Acceleration

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!

Packaging


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.

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