Gigabyte GA-X79S-UP5-WIFI and GA-X79-UP4 Dual Motherboard Review
OverviewHardware: CPU & Motherboards
WHAT WE LIKED:Great styling, good performance with a boatload of Sata ports.
WHAT WE DISLIKED:Overclocking a chore and memory frequencies will not tune over 2400MHz
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IvyBridge has a foundation in the desktop arena and Intel will start phasing out SandyBridge later this year. IvyBridge “E” series processors will be released soon. Before that, motherboard manufacturers like Gigabyte want to stay in front of technology as seen today with the Gigabyte GA-X79S-UP5-WIFI and GA-X79-UP4 motherboards that support LGA 2011. Both motherboards feature similiar aesthetics and packaging. The UD5 has blue heat sinks where as the UD4 has grey which slightly separates the look. Both look great and the aesthetic package would blend perfect with just about any hardware. This is especially true for the UP4 as the black and grey will blend with just about anything. The GA-X79S-UP5-WIFI features 14 sata ports for those looking to have multiple drives and what we call “Mega Raid” but the GA-X79-UP4 is no slouch with 10 sata ports. They both have 4 PCIE slots but the UD5 has the last slot running in x4 speed so there is a trade off of sorts. Looks and features aside, performance is also very important.
In our testing, we looked at the overall performance of both boards however we incurred two issues: Oveclocking was quite a chore with both the UP5 and the UP4. We reached 4.6GHz stable with both the UP5 and the UP4. That was as far as we could push it with our custom water cooling and the results were consistent with both boards. We have reached 5GHz with our Intel core i7 3930K in the past so we felt a bit let down, especially with Gigabyte boasting “Made for Watercooling” on the front of both boxes. The second issue we stuggled with was overclocking memory frequencies over 2400MHz. Both motherboards would not boot with our G.Skill 2400MHz Tridents and Kingston 2133MHz Hyper X at 2400MHz or higher. The UEFI bios packages were identical with both the UD5 and UD4, and although Gigabyte did a great job with a boat load of voltage and LLC adjustments, we could not find the right combo to make it work.
Performance on both the UP5 and UP4 were very respective. CPU performance ranked the same as all the X79 motherboards we have tested. Memory read/write and copy speeds also matched other products, as did sata 6G and USB 3.0 speeds with the UP4 performing slightly better in sata 6G and USB 3.0. One of the added featues on the UP5 is Gigabyte’s dual antenna WiFi. The Wi-Fi expansion card is a very welcomed inclusion as now all your devices can be connected to your home system. This should be standard protocol on all higher end motherboards in our opinion. The dual antennas help eliminate dead spots in your home or office and Gigabyte is the only manufacturer that features dual antennas.
In Pure Overclock’s opinion, the overclocking hiccups should only be looked closely at those looking for pushing your processor to the limits. Most will use air cooling so the issue will be moot for those. We did like both the Gigabyte GA-X79S-UP5-WIFI and GA-X79-UP4 and the pricing keeps both very competitive. The GA-X79S-UP5-WIFI retails at $300 and the GA-X79-UP4 kicks off at $269. Because both boards have a lot of Sata ports, you can’t go wrong with either one if you need extra connectivity. It would be nice to see Gigabyte add the WiFi feature to the UP4, but that would probably make the UP5 obsolete. Performance on both has a nice punch, but overclocking was on the low side. The pricing is competitive, so we must give the Gigabyte GA-X79S-UP5-WIFI and the GA-X79-UP4 our Pure Overclock’s Good Hardware award on this run.