Gigabyte X99-UD4P Haswell-E Motherboard

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FINAL THOUGHTS

The Gigabyte X99-UD4P offers an impressive array of features including support for proper 4-way SLI/CrossFire, 128GB of RAM, 10 SATA devices, both SATA Express and M.2 storage options, and even an M.2 WiFi slot. Rounding out the main features is an all-digital 8-phase power regulation system cooled by a capable two heatsink plus heatpipe setup, five individually controllable fan headers, and a high-end amplified dual stream audio solution. However, these are the types of things you expect from a prototypical high-end board; it's the little bells and whistles that often make or break a product in a competitive field. The dedicated USB port for updating the BIOS automatically -- even if the system is headless and even brainless -- is incredibly useful. The lighting effects are less so, and some better choices could have been made. It's difficult to color-coordinate with the yellow and orange combination on the board as most colored components are red, blue, or green, and the blue/purple blend on the rear panel is a bizarre complement as well.

What remains lies in software and that's where Gigabyte is both plebeian and promising. The APP Center launcher continues to lag behind consolidated solutions like the ASUS AI Suite. It's messy to switch between utilities in separate windows rather than having them as tabs or modules within one application. Worst of all, there is no performance advantage to this system, as loading the individual apps are slow to load. The UI suffers from inconsistent window and font sizes. Then there are apps like cFos Speed, which live outside APP Center entirely, following an even more disparate design language. That being said, the Cloud Station utility is evidence of some forward-thinking, though like the desktop software, the mobile app definitely needs some work on look and feel. Up to this point, I've found most cloud-connected PC enthusiast gear to be of dubious value but the things Cloud Station can do shows promise. It's notable that Cloud Station's various functions are quite different from each other and yet they can be accessed from the same window/interface; APP Center is incapable of doing the same.

Overall, the X99-UD4P is a decent product at the price. Whether the Gigabyte X99-UD4P is right for you really depends on two things, the most important being whether LGA2011-v3 is suitable for your purposes. Haswell-E is the current belle of the ball with the best multi-threaded desktop performance money can buy. The supported 6/8 core processors are expensive, of course, as are the boards, as is the DDR4 memory required to get the most out of the platform. LGA1150 CPUs are no slouch in comparison and offer much better value, making them the preferable to the vast majority of PC users. At US$260, the X99-UD4P is the cheapest E-ATX LGA2011-v3 motherboard on the market, but it only has one clear advantage over equally/lower priced ATX models: 4-way SLI/CrossFire support. If you're not planning on using such an extreme graphics combination, then it's needlessly large unless you want to fill one of the many oversized cases on the market.

Our thanks to Gigabyte for the X99-UD4P motherboard sample.

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