Gigabyte P55-UD6 Review

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Since the introduction of the P55/Lynnfield platform a few months ago, I’ve had the opportunity to test several P55 motherboards.  Each has had it’s own advantages, as well as it’s own quirks and bugs.  But every time I test a new board, I always come back to this one: Gigabyte P55 UD6.

 

Since the introduction of the P55/Lynnfield platform a few months ago, I’ve had the opportunity to test several P55 motherboards. Each has had it’s own advantages, as well as it’s own quirks and bugs. But every time I test a new board, I always come back to this one: Gigabyte P55 UD6.

I’ve completed the most testing on this board because it’s such a pleasure to use.  Overclocking is as easy as can be. The board is super stable and seemingly indestructible.  I’ve done forum reviews for this board, but the threads have become quickly cluttered as I’ve added results here and there.  I’ll be using this review to compile my testing results and opinions into a comprehensive easy-to-follow article.

The P55-UD6 comes in familiar large, flashy packaging that most of Gigabyte’s top-end motherboards use.  Every feature unique to the product is illustrated on the box, with the one’s Gigabyte has deemed more important standing out the most.  The front flap lifts up to reveal the entire motherboard inside, with the accessories behind it in another box.  This makes for a very neat presentation.

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When unpacking the motherboard, we see it sports a typical Gigabyte color scheme and layout.  The heat-pipe assembly design reminds me of a race car.  Just glancing at the board, it seems Gigabyte has included every extra option one could want and then some.  Six RAM slots, 10 SATA ports, and plenty of space/slots for multiple GPU setups are the first features that jump out to me.

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On the back of the board we see the UD6 uses the Foxconn socket that has had reports of power handling issues which result in short circuits – I have not had any problem. Gigabyte’s 24-phase power (a huge feature of this board) is carried over to the back, for obvious reasons.  I’ve seen reviews questioning this for heat reasons (low airflow on the back of the board) but Gigabyte has been doing this for years.

I’ve seen mosfets pop that had been covered with foam insulation during heavy benchmarking sessions, but that should be a given.  I know it’s not very scientific, but I’ve felt the ones on this board for heat several times and they’re always pretty cool.  I don’t see mosfets on the back of this board being a problem at all.  Something else we can see from the back is the first blue PCI Express slot is 16x, the second is 8x, and the bottom is 4x.

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In the following pictures we can see the rest of this board’s seemingly-endless list of features.  In order of the following pictures, we see the

  • Packed CPU socket area
  • Impressive assortment of I/O ports
  • Six DDR3 slots for the same maximum capacity as an X58 setup
  • Onboard power button (reminds me of a push button ignition in a sports car)
  • 10 SATA ports total
  • Onboard POST code reader
  • Onboard reset and clear CMOS buttons

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And as always, here’s what the board looks like with the heat-pipe assembly removed:

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Since I’ve had this board for a while, I’ve tested it with two different sets of RAM and two different graphics cards.  In the first set of tests, I was limited by the memory.  I’ve done a ton of testing with this board and here are a few of my results.  Some components which were used for the duration of my testing with this motherboard:

  • Core i5 750
  • Corsair HX620 PSU
  • WD Raptor 36 GB HDD
  • Thermalright Ultra 120 Original

These first two rounds of benchmarks were run to show performance scaling between different overclocked settings.  The scores can obviously be improved greatly with a little system tweaking and better memory.  I got the RAM kit for something like $30 (while I was waiting for better sticks to arrive) and these scores are by no means meant to impress anyone.

There are two rounds of testing for this particular setup, the first being a very modest overclock of 3200 MHz, and the second being a very reasonable 24/7 overclock of 4 GHz.  The following round of testing was done with a better set of 2 x 2 GB RAM, and with CPU speed of 4100 MHz, still very attainable for 24/7 settings in my opinion.  The operating system used was Windows 7 x64.

Testing configuration for the following benchmarks is as follows:

  • Core i5 750 @ 3200 MHz
  • 2 x 1 GB Corsair Dominator PC12800 @ 1600 MHz, 7-7-7-18
  • EVGA GTX 260 216sp @ 700/1506/1120

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Testing configuration for the following benchmarks is as follows:

  • Core i5 750 @ 4000 MHz
  • 2 x 1 GB Corsair Dominator PC12800 @ 1600 MHz, 7-7-7-18
  • EVGA GTX 260 216sp @ 750/1500/1140

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Testing configuration for the following benchmarks is as follows:

  • Core i5 750 @ 4100 MHz
  • 2 x 2 GB G.Skill Ripjaws PC16000 @ 2040 MHz, 8-9-8-20 1T
  • EVGA GTX 260 216sp @ 750/1520/1140

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After doing these initial tests, I found myself focusing on wprime for some reason.  I ended up getting the following results with liquid nitrogen.  This particular CPU wasn’t up to the task of extreme overclocking though, as it didn’t much care for temperatures below about -40°C.

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Conclusion

The highest CPU speeds I was able to achieve on air were about 4500 MHz for single threaded benchmarks, and about 4450 MHz for multithreaded benches.  Memory overclocks like a dream, but we all know that’s due to several factors, such as the P55 platform in general, and the RAM modules themselves.

This board is quite remarkable.  As Gigabyte’s top-end P55 motherboard, it easily lives up to every one of my expectations – and then some.  The only issue I had was a CPU that didn’t like the cold, but that has nothing to do with the motherboard.  I have plenty more results in my forum review thread (http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?t=617761) but have only included the ones containing consistent run settings here.   I’d like to thank Gigabyte US for letting me test this product.

Sno.lcn

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