Gigabyte P67A-UD4 Socket 1155 Motherboard

Posted by on Sunday, January 23, 2011 - 7:13pm

UD4Gigabyte has announced the release of several different models based on the P67 chipset. Of their entire lineup announced, one to surely be popular is the P67A-UD4. You get native SATA III support, USB 3.0 via onboard controller, of course Sandy Bridge processor support, and those are just what you'll find on the typical P67 based motherboards. So what does Gigabyte have to offer? How have they gone above and beyond the norm? The UD4 model offers a plethora of features in addition to those. For starters, Gigabyte is now sporting a brand new, sexy black look. As for that which isn't plainly obvious... Well, you'll just have to follow us down the rabbit hole and find out!

Introduction to the Gigabyte P67A-UD4 Socket 1155 Motherboard

With the whole P67 technology for Sandy Bridge upon us, every motherboard manufacturer has pulled out all the tricks to get the buyers to decide in their favor. We have seen it all over the web as companies have sent out sample motherboards, even long before the processors were released. For anyone who was fortunate enough to receive a Sandy Bridge processor before launch, could not release any performance numbers, specifications or pricing anyways. So, until now all we could do is go by manufacturer’s press releases and the word of a few hardware websites.

One company that we saw some interesting samples for was Gigabyte. A long time top tier manufacturer of motherboards, Gigabyte has released some of the best performing motherboards on the market. Many have even broken a few world records. Yet for many of us it’s not about broking records, it’s about how well the motherboard is going to perform for us on a daily basis.

Gigabyte has announced the release of several different models based on the P67 chipset. Of their entire lineup announced, one to surely be popular is the P67A-UD4. You get native SATA III support, USB 3.0 via onboard controller, of course Sandy Bridge processor support, and those are just what you'll find on the typical P67 based motherboards. So what does Gigabyte have to offer? How have they gone above and beyond the norm? The UD4 model offers a plethora of features in addition to those. For starters, Gigabyte is now sporting a brand new sexy black look. As for that which isn't plainly obvious... Well, you'll just have to follow us down the rabbit hole and find out!

Gigabyte's take on the UD4

Get ready for a mind blowing media experience when you upgrade to a GIGABYTE P67A-UD4 motherboard. Every component on GIGABYTE P67A-UD4 motherboards is designed and engineered to deliver exceptional performance and clarity for your computing needs. Powered by the Intel® P67 chipset with support for 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processors, GIGABYTE P67A-UD4 enjoy uniquely developed technologies such as Maximum Power Delivery technology, Dual CPU Power technology and Ultra Durable 3™ design just to name a few, that ensure a reliable and enjoyable computing experience.


Specifications

CPU
  1. Supports 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processors in the LGA1155 package

Chipset

  1. Intel® P67 Express Chipset

Memory

  1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 16 GB of system memory
    * Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
  2. Dual channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR3 2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
  4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
  5. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules

(Go to GIGABYTE's website for the latest supported memory speeds and memory modules.)

Audio

  1. Realtek ALC892 codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for Dolby® Home Theater
  5. Support for S/PDIF Out

LAN

  1. 1 x Realtek RTL8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)

Expansion Slots

  1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
    * For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
  2. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)* The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.
  3. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
    (All PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
  4. 2 x PCI slots

Multi-Graphics Technology

  1. Support for ATI CrossFireX™/NVIDIA SLI technology
    * The PCIEX16 slot operates at up to x8 mode when ATI CrossFireX™ is enabled.

Storage Interface

Chipset:

  1. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3_0, SATA3_1) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  2. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2_2, SATA2_3, SATA2_4, SATA2_5) supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  3. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
    * When a RAID set is built across the SATA 6Gb/s and SATA 3Gb/s channels, the system performance of the RAID set may vary depending on the devices being connected.

Marvell 88SE9128 chip:

  1. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors on the back panel supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  2. Support for SATA RAID 0 and RAID 1

USB

Chipset:

  1. Up to 14 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 on the back panel, 6 via the USB bracketsconnected to the internal USB headers)

2 x Renesas D720200 chips:

  1. Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 on the back panel, 2 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)

Internal I/O Connectors

  1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  4. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
  5. 1 x CPU fan header
  6. 2 x system fan headers
  7. 1 x power fan header
  8. 1 x front panel header
  9. 1 x front panel audio header
  10. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  11. 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  12. 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
  13. 1 x serial port header
  14. 1 x clearing CMOS jumper

Back Panel Connectors

  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  2. 1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector
  3. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  4. 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  5. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  6. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s ports
  7. 1 x RJ-45 port
  8. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/ Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)

I/O Controller

  1. iTE IT8728 chip

H/W Monitoring

  1. System voltage detection
  2. CPU/System temperature detection
  3. CPU/System/Power fan speed detection
  4. CPU overheating warning
  5. CPU/System/Power fan fail warning
  6. CPU/System fan speed control
    *Whether the CPU/system fan speed control function is supported will depend on the CPU/system cooler you install.

BIOS

  1. 2 x 32 Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b

Unique Features

  1. Support for @BIOS
  2. Support for Q-Flash
  3. Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
  4. Support for Download Center
  5. Support for Xpress Install
  6. Support for Xpress Recovery2
  7. Support for EasyTune
    * Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.
  8. Support for Dynamic Energy Saver™ 2
  9. Support for Smart 6™
  10. Support for Auto Green
  11. Support for eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D)
  12. Support for ON/OFF Charge
  13. Support for Cloud OC
  14. Support for Q-Share

Bundle Software

  1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)

Operating System

  1. Support for Microsoft® Windows® 7/Vista/XP

Form Factor

  1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

Remark

  1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website.
  2. Most hardware/software vendors no longer offer support for Win9X/ME/2000/XP SP1/SP2. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.



Closer look

The first thing that you can't help but notice about this new P67A-UD4 (henceforth referred to as UD4) motherboard is the complete change in color scheme. Gigabyte decided to move on to a black theme for the P67 line-up, though the H67 line still maintains the blue theme we are accustomed to. Many like the fact that Gigabyte's board has a true black PCB, not a black-like color like that of some the competitors. The reason for that black-like (almost brown in certain light) is because, as we all know, motherboards incorporate a lot of copper and it's all those copper-orange traces which cause that brown hue when painted over by black. What Gigabyte has seemingly done is added a top PCB layer just for the black matte color, thus preventing the copper's color imposing a brown hue in places.

Being the mainstream model of the series, the UD4's CPU power section are cooled with decently sized heatsinks for the MOSFET voltage regulation circuit. You shouldn't have any issues with mounting a large CPU cooler given the ample amount of room provided. The UD4 uses 12+2 power phase configurations to distribute adequate power to the CPU and its integrated memory controller. One of the advantages Gigabyte uses to promote their motherboards is ‘2 oz copper’, which means Gigabyte incorporates 2 oz of copper for both the power and grounding layers. This not just helps by providing an increase in power efficiency, but aids in the cooling as well, which combined result in stable operation at a potentially higher overclock.

The UD4 comes equipped with dual full length PCIe 2.0 slots. When using a single GPU the top slots runs at the full x16, and in an XFire or SLI configuration the bandwidth drops to x8/x8. Which yes, you read correctly, this motherboard supports both CrossFire and SLI for a better gaming experience. There are also three x1 PCIe and two standard PCI slots on the motherboard, which one of each will be rendered unusable if running two graphic cards.

The Sandy Bridge processor has a default [native] integrated memory controller speed of  1333MHz DDR3, but no worries as the motherboard itself can support up to 2133MHz memory when overclocked. Through the four DIMM slots the motherboard there is support for up to 16GB of ram when using 4GB memory modules. The motherboard does support Intel’s XMP, so the input of the correct timing parameters is easier as the end user only needs to enable this feature.

The UD4 has a total of six SATA ports with two being SATA III, with the remaining four being SATA II, and support the more popular forms of RAID: 0, 1, 5 and 10. These six ports are directly through the CPU’s PCH chip, which is cooled by the heatsink in the background of the first shot shot below. The second photo shows the internal USB 3.0 header for an addition two connectors. This is nice as many of the new cases coming out are equipped with front connectors and this should help eliminate the need for running a USB3 cable out to the back panel. Missing from the boards is the floppy and IDE controller which are not supported by the chipset and so are optional add-on features. (Editor's Note: Speaking of add-on features... The PCI slots you see are also not natively supported by the P67 and are run off an integrated bridge adapter through a PCIe x1 lane, and is provided by the ITE chip off to the right of the PCI slots. You can actually see it on the left side of the USB3 header shot, to the left of the two silver/blue capacitors . So if you start to see an influx of boards without PCI slots, it isn't due to the manufacturers leaving out features the P67 supports, but simply because it actually doesn't. Just a friendly FYI!)


Gigabyte put some time and thought into this, and gave the UD4 motherboard a nicely laid out rear I/O panel. There are a total of eight USB 2.0 ports, two are at the far left and sit above the combo-PS/2 port. Next to them are optical and coax digital audio, then four more USB2 and two powered eSATA for external storage. There are two of the typical blue colored USB 3.0 ports, controlled via an onboard Renesas (aka NEC) chip. The onboard Gigabit network port comes next, followed by the remaining two USB2 ports. Finally are the 7.1 Surround and Mic/Line-In connections that come by way of the Realtek ALC892, which is Dolby certified and should offer some decent sounding digital audio.


BIOS

The BIOS of the UD4 is something that most of us are familiar with. As of now there is UEFI interface like on the ASUS(P8P67, Pro, H67 M-EVO) and ASRock(Pro3) motherboards we have reviewed. Not quite as fancy as the UEFI interface, but the nice thing is that we knew just where to go to set up everything we needed to get the benchmark session going.


M.I.T. Current Status


Advance Voltage Settings


Advance CPU Core Settings


Advance Frequency Settings


Advance Memory Settings


Memory Multiplier


Memory Timings


Key Features

12+2 Phase Power Design

Driver MOSFETs

Dual BIOS

Ultra Durable 3

Cloud OC

 

Gigabyte has packaged the P67A-UD4 with some rather fancy features. They lead the field with their 24 Power Phase motherboards, which help by supplying the CPU and memory controller with enough power to operate stably at even the highest overclocks. The UD4 may seem as though it is not as high end  with only 12+2, there are a few things to consider. First is the easiest and that is the fact the UD4 is not exactly an "enthusiast grade" motherboard. While it is by all means a high end product, it is still aimed at the mainstream market, and so such a feature isn't entirely necessary; however, that is where the second part comes in.

The UD4 comes with a new "Driver MOSFET" that will help increase the output and efficiency of the VRM circuit. To give a basic idea how things went before is you had a High side and a Low side MOSFET, and then a single driver for both. That is in addition to the ferrite chokes and capacitors as well, but all in all you basically end up with one Phase (channel). Then you do that, so many times, until you have your desired configuration. Take fore example the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H with it's 10 Phase (8+2) design. Basically means you are ending up with a rather healthy number of MOSFET, choke, capacitors and drivers for ONE Phase! Now multiply that by ten, and I think you'll see where we're going. Point is, Gigabyte go away from that now and they run the Driver MOSFET. Whats that means? Well the switching can occur much faster, no more passing energy between a high-side and low-side, thus allowing for a quicker transferal of energy to the CPU. This new bit of silicon has the MOSFETs and driver all rolled into one nice packaging, and so is aptly named Driver MOSFET.  As we all know, when you are able to put more critical components together into a single piece of silicon, the efficiency will increase as a result. Which that efficiency in turn offers more than one may think; heat output. An example of those two things: The integration of the memory controller onto the CPU which greatly increased bandwidth, and the increased efficiency of a power supply results in a far cooler operating temperature. Not only has additional space been opened up by requiring fewer components to complete the same task, but manufacturing costs come down as well. 

To summarize: Less components = less Heat which = better overclocking potential. The greater efficiency equates to getting the same output capability, while not having to use as many phases. We're not saying 12=24, but it bring it closer! So you can imagine how well the P67A-UD7 with 24 Driver MOSFET phases will perform!

By now we are all familiar with Gigabyte's patented Dual BIOS feature, which as the name implies means the motherboard physically has two BIOS chips. This is a very helpful feature for both the newbie and enthusiast, which 'enthusiast' in this case would be a BIOS modder. To relate that to a user experience, say you've done some hard core BIOS setting tweaks and well, they just didn't work out. Instead of a CMOS reset, the second BIOS will kick in and allow you to POST, go in, and not lose all your settings. Sure, the competition can do that with one chip, but that's where the latter comes in. If you've made a BIOS modification and it went south, with a single chip you'd need to do what they call a "hot flash", which only then is possible if your BIOS chip is socketed! If it is soldered on, well you've got a corrupted chip and a new one (preferably already flashed) will need to be soldered on; not fun, not at all. With Gigabyte's Dual BIOS you needn't worry. The second one will kick in just like before, but this till it will detect a corrupted primary chip and flash it back to working order, automatically! We don't recommend modding a BIOS, but it is a nice peace of mind, given a bad flash can easily occur during a manufacturer released BIOS. As the saying goes: Sh...stuff happens! 

Ultra Durable 3 is another feature Gigabyte has been employing for at least a year now. Plainly put it means a motherboard with that label comes equipped with USB 3.0, 3X USB power (higher current output) and SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s). It was such a successful naming convention that even the other companies have picked up and incorporated their own variations. "Competition breeds innovation" they say, and it is true.

Cloud OC is a fairly new tool. With the software it allows the user the ability to overclock the system through any web connected device. So a Smartphone, tablet, netbook, et all, if it's connected to the internet and you're running Cloud OC then you have complete control. We see it as a novelty for the standard user, but quite a useful tool for the competition overclocker where in a multi-person team. One could be say, pouring the LN2, where the other is standing out of the way and overclocking from a tablet.


Test Hardware:
Motherboard: Gigabyte P67A-UD4
Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K
Ram: Patriot Sector 5 4GB Dual Channel (9-9-9-24) @ 1333MHz
Video Card: ASUS Radeon HD 5870
HDD: Hitachi 1TB
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 850 (Sponsored by Thermaltake)
Case: NA
Cooling: Scythe Yasya
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
Thermal compound: Arctic Silver 5

Overclocking the Gigabyte P67A-UD4

The Gigabyte P67-UD4 is the ideal match for the more popular i5 2500K. In our testing we managed an incredible 4700MHz using a retail version CPU, not an engineer sample which consumers do not have access to. This speed was done using a modest 1.4V on the CPU, and 1.65V for the DDR3.


Testing

SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2011c 
SiSoftware has always been at the forefront of the technology arena, being among the first providers of benchmarks that show the power of emerging new technologies such as multi-core, GPGPU, OpenCL, DirectCompute, AMD64/EM64T/x64, IA64, NUMA, SMT (Hyper-Threading), SMP (multi-threading), AVX, FMA, SSE4.2, SSE4.1, SSSE3, SSE3, SSE2, SSE, Java and .NET.

AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50
FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business Edition 1.50 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises.
The new AIDA64 update implements AVX-optimized benchmarks for the upcoming Intel Sandy Bridge processors, adds a brand new video encoding benchmark, and supports the latest AMD and nVIDIA graphics processors.

Maxon Cinebench
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.


Super PI Mod-1.5 XS
In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr. Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.


(Lower is better)

Tech ARP x264 HD 3.15
Simply put, it is a reproducible measure of fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It's nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other.


(Lower is better)

Square Enix Final Fantasy XiV
FINAL FANTASY XIV takes the first intrepid steps into an unknown realm, and in doing so a new place for adventurers of all creeds to call home is born — Eorzea.
In the world of Hydaelyn, the term Eorzea denotes the geographical region comprised of the continent of ldenard and its surrounding islands, as well as the civilization which spawned there. Calling the area home are several independent city-states,the most notable being Limsa Lominsa, bustling port and pirate hub;Ul’dah, a desert city rich in mineral wealth; Gridania, nested deep within an ageless wood; and Ishgard, bastion atop the mountains.


Conclusion

We have here another fine example of what Gigabyte is doing for the DIY computer building community. For either the gamer, enthusiast or overclocker the P67A-UD4 is a great motherboard that offers a lot in the form of features that are unique to Gigabyte. Honestly, what surprised us was the change in color combination on the motherboard. Gone is the light blue that have adorned Gigabyte's boards for many years, and replacing it is a beautiful black PCB, one that is truly black and not some brownish-black.

One of the wonderful aspects of the P67 chispet, and reasons people from even higher end predecessors are changing from, is the overclocking ability and increased memory bandwidth. Both are fun to play with as well as benefit us while gaming, benching or doing routine tasks. Yes, we can rely on the Intel SpeedStep to take our CPU to the next level but the fun is pushing the envelope with this board, either by using the EasyTune software or the old fashion way in the BIOS.

In the case of this motherboard we took a retail version i5 2500K and pushed it to 4.7GHz with ease. Sure, more could possibly be gained with additional tweaking and time, but even with just playing around in the BIOS we have never been able to do this with air using older chipsets, short of some kind of golden CPU that was touched by the Gods of computing.

The UD4 is placed in the middle of Gigabyte's P67 lineup. Priced at roughly $190, the UD4 should be a great seller for Gigabyte but we would have liked to see at least one added feature at that price point: onboard power, reset, and CLR CMOS button. The UD4 will be on the bench table of a lot of users and these buttons would be very handy.

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