Overclockers rejoice: GIGABYTE X79-UD7 review

When the X58A-OC was released overclockers worldwide rejoiced that finally there was a board on the market specifically designed to push components to their limits. While the OC name has been shelved there’s no denying the X79-UD7 is a descendant of the original board. From the onboard options to the OC stamp on the heatsink this board screams overclocking.

There was a time when GIGABYTE made some of the ugliest boards on the planet but this certainly isn’t the case anymore. GIGABYTE has potentially taken out the title of best-looking X79 board with its orange colour scheme and tasteful heatsinks but ASUS fanboys might have something to say about that.

Expectedly the UD7 has dropped the PCI standard and gone with three 1x PCI-E slots and four full-length slots with perfect spacing for four-way CrossFire or SLI configurations. Less anticipated is GIGABYTE’s decision to include only four memory slots. This may not suit everyone but should provide more than enough capacity for most users. In a move sure to please storage enthusiasts GIGABYTE has squeezed four SATA 2 and six SATA 6Gb/s ports onto the UD7. Unlike the original OC board the latest iteration is not short of USB ports including two USB 3.0 ports and six USB 2.0 ports on the IO panel. The IO panel also features a single Gigabit Ethernet port a BIOS toggle button a CMOS clear button standard audio outputs and the famous 4G overclock button.

The 4G button makes overclocking impossibly easy: simply throw in your CPU memory and graphics card then press the 4G button for an instant 4GHz overclock. The OC Touch interface makes a welcome return providing buttons to adjust your CPU multiplier and base clock on demand without ever entering the BIOS. In a major step forward GIGABYTE has moved away from analogue power circuitry and added a new digital PWM that promises to deliver cleaner power and more control to the user. The BIOS has also had a major overhaul taking the UD7 into the realms of the graphical BIOS. Never fear though the old BIOS layout is a single click away at all times.

The X58A-OC was in the upper echelon of our benchmark results and we expect nothing less of the X79-UD7. We were surprised that the UD7 came out in first place during our 2D testing even beating the normally untouchable ASUS Republic of Gamers board. During 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 11 testing there was absolutely nothing between the ASUS Rampage 4 Extreme and the UD7 – it finished in a dead heat. Unfortunately the UD7 spoils its perfect record by narrowly finishing in second place in the Crysis average frames per second test.

GIGABYTE has come through with another great motherboard in the UD7; while it doesn’t have as many features as other ultra-high-end boards it’s extremely competitively priced. We don’t care what GIGABYTE calls their motherboard around the APC labs it will be known as the X79-OC.

Available from GIGABYTE retailing for $439.
APC rating: 9/10 (Editor’s Choice)