After the P67 chipset flaw debacle, Intel has been very quick to remedy the situation, so the B3 Stepping boards are now shipping and users are jumping back onto the Sandy Bridge wagon. Don’t let that isolated issue make you second guess the Sandy Bridge platform; it is a performance behemoth. And the Gigabyte motherboard is well suited to take advantage of that.
There are new features to be sure, but perhaps the biggest change is the overclocking. Locked and unlocked CPUs, speed limits that are determined by multiplier walls, air cooling is all that’s really necessary, and bus speeds that don’t move much at all. We did get a bit of wiggle room on the BCLK to squeeze a bit more out of the CPU to flirt with the magical 5GHz plateau.
In terms of features, the On/Off charge support is a welcome and unique addition for those of you with iPhone or iPad devices, for example. The dual BIOS is also extremely valuable if things go terribly wrong when flashing an upgrade. The Ultra Durable 3 designation isn’t just marketing hype; this board is solidly built. Easy Tune 6 is handy when fine tuning your overclock but it’s not as robust as some other utilities we’ve seen.
There are a few niggles though. The BIOS doesn’t bring anything new to the table unfortunately, as it’s not a UEFI BIOS like we’ve seen elsewhere, but it gets the job done. There also isn’t any sort of auto overclocking feature that we’re increasingly seeing on competitors’ motherboards. Lastly, the layout has a few oddities such as the 8-pin power connector that’s away from the edge and rotated 90 degrees, and the heatsink below the CPU will likely prevent any discrete cards from being used in the top PCI-E x1 slot.
Priced at about $320 USD, the UD7 is very pricey amongst P67 motherboards, and one of the most expensive you’ll find in fact. We didn’t achieve higher overclocking results than other boards that cost considerably less, though this should come as no surprise since the CPU is now the limiting factor. The UD7 also doesn’t have some of the more advanced features we’ve seen elsewhere, so the value is invariably a stumbling block. Though a bit of the shine is lost on the overall impression as a result, the fact remains that the Gigabyte P67-UD7-B3 is an extremely solid board that can extract some great performance out of a hotrod Sandy Bridge CPU.