Gigabyte Displays its X79 High-End Motherboard Lineup at IDF

At IDF, motherboard vendors got to show off their near-complete socket LGA2011 motherboards based on the X79 chipset. Many of these were half-built and straight out of R&D at this year's Computex event, back in June. Gigabyte showed off its first X79 motherboards, the GA-X79-UD5, GA-X79-UD7, and G1.Assassin 2. Unlike previous generations of high-end Gigabyte motherboards, the UD7 isn't a beefed-up UD5 with added features and better cooling. The two are entirely different right from the PCB, to the features they offer.

The UD5 targets premium users, with eight DDR3 DIMM slots, geared for 3-card SLI/CrossFire, while the UD7 is bleeding-edge with just four DDR3 DIMM slots, but a wealth of overclocking features and support for 4-card SLI/Crossfire. Then there's the G1.Assassin 2, which targets the gamer-overclocker market with neat features such as hardware-accelerated Creative X-Fi audio and Bigfoot Killer NIC, with support for 3-card SLI/Crossfire.

The GA-X79-UD5 features a generous 14-phase CPU VRM. The LGA2011 socket is wired to eight DIMM slots, four on either side, supporting up to 64 GB of quad-channel DDR3 memory. Expansion slots include three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x16/x8/x8 or x16/NC/x16), two PCI-Express 3.0 x1, and a legacy PCI. There are 12 SATA ports. It's likely that Gigabyte used third-party controllers over what the PCH offers. There could be as many as six 6 Gb/s ports. The rest of the connectivity is pretty standard stuff: 8-channel HD audio, one gigabit Ethernet, four USB 3.0 ports, and power-eSATA.

The GA-X79-UD7 sees a fusion between the traditional high-end connectivity and features of UD7, and the new "Gigabyte OC" line the company released with its X58A-OC motherboard. It keeps up with the black+orange color scheme. There are just the four DDR3 DIMM slots that can hold up to 32 GB of quad-channel memory, but PCB real-estate is allotted to a strong 22-phase CPU VRM, 6-phase memory VRM, and only those features that will help overclockers a big way. This board features four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC/x16/NC or x8/x8/x8/x8), 14 SATA ports, and high-grade connectivity. Apart from the 24-pin ATX connector, the board draws power from two 8-pin EPS connectors, and two SATA power inputs.

Lastly, the G1.Assassin 2 keeps up with the catchy new lineup Gigabyte built with X58 and Z68 chipset-based platforms. This board features just four DDR3 DIMM slots, but the space saved is used for bleeding-edge connectivity features that help gamers. First, there's a Bigfoot Killer NIC PCI-Express hardware-accelerated network controller, then there's a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi hardware-accelerated audio processor (CA-20K2), with its own set of audiophile-grade capacitors to the OPAMP circuit. The board features three PCI-Express 3.0 slots (x16/NC/x16 or x16/x8/x8), 12 SATA ports, and a wealth of other connectivity.

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