So here I am again with a new motherboard review! Today I have with me the Gigabyte X99 UD5 Wifi motherboard. As the name suggests, this motherboard is based on the latest Intel X99 chipset and Intel 5th Generation (Haswell-E) CPUs. Also it has on board WiFi card.
The UD in the UDseries (UD3/UD4/UD5/UD6/UD7) stands for Ultra Durable Series. Its priced at around $300. Basically if you want to migrate to the Enthusiast section without burning a hole in your pocket and want to shift to the X99 chipsets, these motherboards are meant for you, So without further due, lets get inside the box!
Inside The BoxThe box looks excellent. The back side of the box has a brief of the features of the motherboard. The packaging is quite sturdy and maintains the Gigabyte standard.
- User Guide and Installation guide
- Driver disc - One for board and one for included WiFi and Bluetooth module
- 2 SATA 6 Gb/s cables - 3 sets
- One auxiliary CPU power Connector
- Back panel I/O shield with LED connector.
- WiFi antenna
- NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX bridges
These are the things you need to setup your motherboard. I'm really impressed by the fact that it has inbuilt WiFi and bluetooth support. This is where my PC used to feel inferior to my laptop and the motherboards that offered these features were super expensive. Thanks to Gigabyte, we can get these features in the budget section.
Features and Specifications:The Gigabyte X99 UD5 WiFi motherboard has many features similar to the Gigabyte Gaming Series. I've reviewed the Gaming series, in my previous articles and you can check out those articles to get a detailed explanation of the common features.
♦SATA Express Ports (upto 10 Gb/s)
♦Multi GPU support (both SLI and Crossfire)
♦UEFI dual Bios
These were some of the common features of the new generation, gigabyte motherboard. Now, lets discuss the exclusive features of the X99 UD5 motherboard.
Dual M.2 Connectors: Unlike the Gaming series, the X99 UD5 has provision for two M.2 Connectors. One for the SSD drive connection (for higher speed) and another one for the onboard WiFi card.
4 Channel DDR4 Memory Slots: Most of the high end motherboards have 2-channel Memory slot but the Gigabyte X99 UD5 has 4 channel DDR4 memory slots for increased performance. The slots are divided into a 4+4 configuration on either side of the CPU that support up to 64GB of DDR4 at speeds ranging from 2133MHz DDR up to 3000MHz DDR via overclocking.
Expansion Slots: As claimed by the company, the UD5 supports quad-GPU setup. But this may not be true in every case. Since the UD5-WiFi does not have a PLX chip onboard, all the PCIe lanes are powered by the CPU.
2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIE_1, PCIE_2)
Enhanced Audio Technology: Creative’s Sound Core3D quad-core audio processor handles the sound processing, offloading that chore from the CPU. You’ll also find support for high-quality audio headgear. There’s a front headphone amplifier that pumps out loads up to 600 ohms, and there’s a gain boost switch to increase amplification from 2.5X (default) to 6X (high amplification). The latter is intended for speakers or headphones with high impedance. GIGABYTE also includes its OP-AMP (operational amplifier) technology, which lets you swap op-amps to change the sound to suit your needs. Out of the box, the GA-X99 UD5 WiFi features a TI Burr Brown OPA2134 op-amp.
Quick Onboard Buttons: Here we have onboard Power, Reset, clear CMOS, direct BIOS and DIP switches. In addition to these, we have the Fast Boot Button and dedicated OC button. Something for the Enthusiasts and open bench setups.
Improved Heat-sink Design: The VRM Heatsink design has been changed to account for DRAM slots on both sides of the CPU Socket. The two VRM Heatsinks are interconnected by a single metal heatpipe, and a similar design pattern is followed with the chipset/PCH heatsink which is thicker than in Z97 boards.
Underneath the VRM Heatsink we get the 8 phase, all-digital power delivery system. International Rectifier’s PowIRstage is onboard, leveraging their DirectFET MCM packaging. This reduces electrical noise to a large extent.
On-board WiFi and Bluetooth module: Between the second and third PCIe x16 slot, you can see that we've got a M.2 PCIe connector, along with a second slot that has an Intel Wi-Fi card included, which offers Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac and Bluetooth 4.0. The WiFi module is an Intel 7260NGW Dual Band module.
Q-Flash Plus USB Port: In case you corrupt your BIOS, the Q-Flash Plus allows you to update to the latest BIOS using a thumb drive without the CPU or memory needing to be installed.
Improved Screw Mounting Holes
Don't worry anymore about accidental damage while mounting your motherboard to you chassis. Gigabyte X99 motherboards all feature a wider copper ground pad and onboard components free area around the PCB screw mounting holes. This exclusive design reduces the chances of damaging any surrounding onboard components during the PC assembly process. Bigger copper ground pads also provide the added benefit of lower EMI disturbance for reduced noise interference across your system.
Gigabyte X99 comes with an onboard pin header to accommodate the addition of a GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ add-in card. The Thunderbolt™ controller can provide bandwidth of up to 20 Gb/s, compared to a max of 10 Gb/s on previous generation designs.
Durability: Gigabyte has provided some really durable features in this X99 UD5 WiFi motherboard.
- Cooper Bussmann Server level chokes
- 30µ Gold plated CPU socket
- 30µ Gold plated DDR4 slots
- 30µ Gold plated PCI-e slots
LED lit IO Shield and Heat Sink: The IO shield of the the motherboard is lit in bright blue color, while the Heatsink glows in bright yellow color giving the motherboard a premium look (I personally missed this glowy heatsink in the Gaming series) Both the heatsink and the rear I/O shield LEDs are programmable, too. You can set them to stay lit, pulse, or even flash along to the beat of the music you’re listening to.
BIOS and Bundled Software
Bundled SoftwaresGigabyte has unified their included utility software under what is called APP Center. APP Center is a one stop source area for almost every setting and feature the X99-UD5 WiFi has to offer.
Load test and Benchmarks:For test bench setup, I used the following configuration:
CPU: Intel Core i7 5930K (OC at 4.5 GHz)
An Engineer by profession and a writer by passion. Trying to solve others problems and learning in the due course.