The Board - Layout
Dressed all in black except for a slash of blue and grey, the Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 has a fantastic stealthy look to it, thanks to the matte black PCB. Like all Intel X79 Express products, the surface is quite busy, and populated with a ton of surface-mounted parts, but it all just kind of blends into the background thanks its aesthetic design. The rear of the board is quite clean considering, with the VRM components on the rear a fair distance from the socket blackplate. It's also nice to see that all the heatsinks are attached with screws, rather than cheap plastic pins, a small touch that for quite a few users goes a long way.
Taking a look at the socket area, we find the usual clutter of bits and bobs that are around all Intel X79 Express sockets, including the ever-so-close DIMM slots on either side. There's not a lot of room for those looking to insulate around the socket to protect the board for extreme clocking attempts, and those that use aftermarket cooling are going to have to consider the proximity of the DIMM slots if using a larger cooler. The rear of the socket is pretty plain, and we did notice quite a few tiny components around the backplate, but thanks to the clever Socket 2011 mounting system, this should not be an issue for most users. The socket itself has quite a few parts in the middle of the socket, and we're happy to see every spot populated, rather than places for components that are not filled.
The bottom half of the motherboard is filled with six expansion slots; three PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (electrically two x16 slots and one x8 slot), two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots, and a single PCI slot, for those that need one. The Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 features eight DIMM slots for up to a maximum of 64 GB of memory (8x 8 GB), and has two single-phase power delivery systems, one for each bank of DIMMs. The two banks run along each side of the socket, with the grey slots seen in the two images above intended to be populated first.
There are several pin headers along the board's bottom edge, with audio headers starting on the left, next to an IEEE 1394 header, and fan header, and a port for TPM module. There are three USB 2.0 headers in the middle, followed by the front panel pin block, a RESET button, and finally, a fan header right next to the right edge. There are a total of five fan headers on the Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5, with three of them being 4-pin PWM headers, while the other two, the two on the board's bottom edge, are of the standard three-pin type with RPM sense. The CPU_FAN header can be controlled separately from the other two PWM-based headers, labeled SYS_FAN1 and SYS_FAN2, which are joined together in the same control grouping. The other two 3-pin fan headers get their own SmartFan control as well, and all three can be set to their own profile from within the BIOS, or from within the OS using one of the provided software tools.
On the back plate we find, starting from the left, two USB 2.0 ports, and below, a PS/2 mouse/keyboard combo port. Next to that are the BIOS and "O.C." switches, followed by a tower with FireWire, USB 2.0, and eSATA ports, all stacked on top of each other. Next to that we find a single eSATA 6 Gb/s port matched with two USB 2.0 ports, and then a little tower with two USB 3.0 ports. The LAN port is on top of yet two more USB 2.0 ports, bringing the total number of USB 2.0 ports found here to eight, if you include the one hidden in the eSATA/USB combo port. The audio tower rounds things out, with five analogue audio ports, and one digital audio port.
There are a total of ten internal SATA ports on the Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5, six of which are SATA 6 Gb/s capable (four grey and two white). The black SATA 3 Gb/s ports and white SATA 6 Gb/s ports are driven off of the Intel X79 Express chipset, while the two grey SATA 6 Gb/s ports are managed by dual Marvell controllers mounted to the board's surface just behind the ports.