The first thing you’ll notice apart from the bright orange shades, is how spacious the GA-X79-UD7 is. I’ll get into the fine details later, suffice to say this motherboard is designed with overclocking in mind, and giving your components enough space to cool themselves.
So let’s look at the CPU area first. Notice the 16-phase power VRM dedicated to the CPU, helped in part by the two 8-pin power connectors to the left. Then there are the 24-phase POSCAP capacitors surrounding the heatsink and the CPU VRM for better insulation and lower temperatures. Gigabyte’s new digital power delivery feature comes into play here by regulating and power supply to the CPU, VTT, VSA and the memory via the DIMM slots.
Moving to the right we’ll see the main area overclockers will be fiddling with if they want to get all physical with the GA-X79-UD7. Apart from the big Power and rather small (blue) Restart button, you’ll see the Gear button along with two sets of plus and minus buttons.
First off, the left pair is to change the CPU multiplier, while the right pair is to change the BCLK speeds. The Gear button up top changes the frequency of change between 1MHz and 0.1MHz. While these buttons are nifty when overclocking, they are pretty much useless in BIOS. Their real use comes into play when you can manipulate the CPU frequency in real-time while running Windows. As I increased the steppings, I could see in CPUz the FSB speed change by 1MHz (resulting in total change in CPU clock speeds). Obviously, even with this physical override, the system will still crash if you go overboard.
Then there are the 10 SATA ports on the bottom right, two of which (white) are SATA III and the rest SATA II. The black and white SATA ports are controlled by the chipset itself, while the other four SATA II ports are handled by the Marvell controller.
If you notice, you’ll see that there are two SATA power ports between the SATA II and SATA III data ports. These are there simply to provide more juice to the motherboard if you decide to go with a 3 or 4-way SLI/CrossFireX setup. A rather elegant solution to plugging in molex power cables into your motherboard as was the case in the past. These are also just perfectly aligned with each PCIe x16 slot to give enough space between the cables for the cards and the data cables.
Coming back to the left side we see the rear I/O panel with 8x USB 2.0 ports and 2x USB 3.0 ports. The LAN and audio ports remain decidedly standard. Then you’ll notice the OC button with the dual BIOS select switch (allowing you to choose between two different BIOS custom settings) along with the Clear CMOS button.
All in all, the GA-X79-UD7 has just the right amount of ports, ample spacing and some great onboard heatsinks that allow for quiet and cool operations.