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Gigabyte X99-UD4 review

Andrew Unsworth
1 Oct 2014
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
167
inc VAT

The Gigabyte X99-UD4 is good, relatively cheap X99 board with great support for multiple GPUs and fast storage

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Specifications

Processor socket: LGA2011-3, Dimensions: 305x244, Chipset: Intel X99, Memory slots: 8, PCI-E x16 slots: 4, PCI-E x1 slots: 3, PCI slots: 0, USB ports: 4x USB, 6x USB3, Video outputs: none

The Gigabyte X99-UD4 uses the Intel X99 chipset and is therefore designed for use with Intel’s powerful Haswell-E processors such as the Intel Core i7-5960X. The Haswell-E processors are designed for real enthusiasts who demand the most from their hardware, and the Gigabyte X99-UD4 is suitably specified to help them.

There are no fewer than four PCI Express (PCI-E) x16 slots, for example, and the Gigabyte X99-UD4 supports up to 4-way CrossFire and SLI configurations. Two of the PCI-E slots run at the maximum x16 speed, while the other two run at x8. It’s worth noting, though, that you can only use up to three graphics cards in SLI mode if you install the Intel Core i7-5820K due to that chip’s limitations.

Unlike the older Intel X79 chipset, the X99 chipset supports up to 10 SATA3 ports, and the X99-UD4 provides exactly that number, along with a SATA Express connector and M.2 socket, both of which support transfer speeds up to a whopping 10GB/s. However, there are chipset limitations on storage use. You can only use the M.2, SATA Express and SATA ports 3 and 4 one at a time. If you use one, the others become unavailable. There are also eight DDR4 memory slots, with support for 64GB of quad-channel RAM and modules overclocked to 3,000MHz.

All of this provides you with the potential to create an incredibly powerful PC, whether you want to make a video-editing or music production workstation, a gaming PC or simply want to own a powerful PC. Other expansion slots include three PCI-E x1 slots and a second M.2 slot that’s intended for an optional M.2 Wi-Fi module. There are also two USB headers for a further four USB ports and a USB3 header for a further two USB3 ports.

Back panel connections include two PS/2 connectors, six USB3 ports, four USB ports, five 3.5mm analogue audio jacks, an optical S/PDIF port and a gigabit Ethernet port. This is pretty much everything you could want on a modern, high-end motherboard.

PERFORMANCE

Our standard benchmarks can’t fully exploit the power of the Intel Core i7-5960X processor that use to test X99 motherboards, so we created a new set of benchmarks that are more difficult to process. The new benchmarks involve converting Ultra HD video to Full HD while playing a Ultra HD video, among other things, and force all cores of the processor to work at 100 per cent. The new benchmarks are normalised to our Core i5-4670K, which scored 100 in the test. 

At the Core i7-5960X’s stock clock speeds, our test system scored 209 overall, and an incredible 275 overall with the Core i7-5960X overclocked to 4.5Ghz. As you’d expect from a board such as this, there are plenty of overclocking options, including the ability to disable cores and adjust all kinds of voltages.

As with all modern Gigabyte boards, the X99-UD4’s UEFI BIOS gives you the best of both worlds, with a highly graphical view that contains lots of sliders, tables and graphs, and a more traditional text-based BIOS that’s ideal for powerusers who want to go straight to an option and adjust it. If you don’t have the confidence to delve into the X99-UD4’s many overclocking settings, you can still enjoy a performance boost by enabling the CPU Upgrade option. This option lets you increase the frequency of the installed processor by differenct amounts, up to a maximum of 4.3GHz in the case of our Core i7-5960X. The Core i7-5960X can be pushed further, but this is still a good performance increase, and it involves nothing more than a couple of mouse clicks.

Sadly, there are no onboard Power, Reset, Clear CMOS buttons or overclocking buttons, which would’ve made overclocking and testing easier with your test setup on a test bench or when trying to solve problems with the side of your PC off. However, these are small concerns if you only plan to apply a modest overclock in BIOS once.

The Gigabyte X99-UD5 has these overclocking buttons, along with other features such as extra USB ports and an extra USB3 header among other features, but it is more expensive. The Gigabyte X99-UD4 is a great board if you want all the headline features of the X99 chipset along with a few extras but don’t want to spend silly money. It gets a recommended award.

Hardware
Processor socketLGA2011-3
Form factorATX
Dimensions305x244
Processor supportIntel Core i7 Haswell-E processors
Processor external bus100MHz
ChipsetIntel X99
Supported memory typeDDR4
Maximum memory speed3,000MHz
Memory slots8
Maximum memory64GB
Motherboard power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin 12V
PCI-E x16 slots4
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x1 slots3
PCI slots0
Motherboard fan headers3
SATA II ports0
SATA III ports6
RAID support0, 1, 5, 10
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s
Motherboard sound (ports)Realtek ALC1150 (5x analogue, 1x optical S/PDIF)
USB ports4x USB, 6x USB3
USB headers2x USB, 1x USB3
Video outputsnone
Other ports2x PS/2
Cables included4x SATA, 2x CrossFire ribbon cable, 3x SLI connectors
Motherboard clock adjustmentCPU/RAM/chipset
Motherboard voltage adjustmentCPU/RAM/chipset
Buying information
Price including VAT£167
WarrantyThree-year RTB
Supplierwww.scan.co.uk
Detailswww.gigabyte.com
Part codeGA-X99-UD4