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GIGABYTE GA-X99-UD5 WIFI LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

Pros: The Good
When we said that new technology can be future proof, this board met that example when it was released. LGA-2011-v3 support was barely released and taken advantage of. DDR4 ram modules were emerging into the market, and the support for faster storage modules became the number one demand. This motherboard satisfied every demand. The majority of this board can be equipped with expansive components of every territory. Power users could take advantage of every option available. Driver support from Gigabyte as well as chipset vendors has been remarkable. A lot of the features supported by this board are undocumented, however, users like myself that have tested numerous components have submitted their results to various online forums, Newegg, and Gigabyte. Overclocking with this motherboard has been a breeze, while thermal management counterbalances that ease. I suggest that "enthusiasts" looking into overclocking should equip this board with proper components and thermal dissipation techniques.
The built in Wireless Access is powerful and capable, however, be advised that the wireless performance and range will be dependent on how your system is built and the placement of the computer from the access point.
I enjoy using the dual gigabit ethernet functionality of this board. I'm able to isolate each port for different virtual machines that I run.
I also enjoy being able to run two (2) GPUs at full PCIe 3.0 x16 support, however, users should be advised that the CPU being used must be able to support 40 threads in order to allocate 16 threads per GPU.
For added ease, this board included onboard buttons for powering on and restarting the board, clearing the CMOS, booting directly into the BIOS, and a debug LED for any troubleshooting needs.

Cons: The Bad
For starters, I cannot express to users how expensive it was to get parts for this board when it was first released. The fact that DDR4 and LGA 2011-v3 components were fresh on the market meant that those components also came with an added cost. Over time, the costs began to decrease and the component availability increased, making it easier for users to pick and choose what they'd like in their builds.
The moment your system is up and running, booted into BIOS, users should immediately update to the latest BIOS build before proceeding with installing other components and operating systems. I experimented with the Q-Flash functionality and ran into issues that other users had reported: flash media compatibility, incompatible partition structures, corrupted firmware files, ...etc. To clarify for any users reading this and to those that attempt Q-Flash, from my experiences, make sure you use a USB 2.0 device and format it with a FAT-32 partition structure. Anything else (may or may not) be recognized by the utility.
In regards to memory module support, I ran into a few issues regarding memory DIMMs, placement, and configurations. I experimented with Intel's i7 Haswell CPUs as well as their Xeon Server CPUs (Yes, this board supports them too). When using the i7's, XMP profiles were not properly adjusting when enabling the option, thus leading me to having to manually input the configurations. When using the Xeon CPUs, I experimented with ECC and Non-ECC RAM modules, while taking into consideration that the RAM was buffered or unbuffered. Gigabyte's website documents supported RAM modules for both configurations, however those results were not entirely consistent with my initial testing.
M.2 storage medias suffer from the same issues as RAM module support. Experienced users will know that there are currently three socket types for the supported M.2 platform (B, N, B&N) on this motherboard. I was only able to test the B&N M.2 modules due to market availability, and the motherboard failed to recognize half of the cards I tried. It seemed to be a hit or miss issue, even after the BIOS updates were setup. However, once you've configured the M.2 card to be recognized by your system, the next challenge becomes installing an operating system to it.
Although Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 support this motherboard, installing them was not easy by any means. The standard "pop in a disc and boot to it before installing" no longer applied. I've had to experiment with multiple boot discs, flash drives, SD cards, internal and external SATA drives, and etcetera before being able to install those operating systems to the M.2 as well as any PCIe storage options. Pre-configuring the BIOS and slipstreaming drivers into the installers makes the process a lot easier.
Users deciding between power supplies: I suggest you pick a PSU that features multiple high amperage'd 12v rails. For a Crossfire/SLI set up, cards must be on separate rails, including the OC-PEG po

Other Thoughts: I'm not a fan of the IO back-panel backlighting. Thankfully there's an On-Off switch. I have not yet fully tested the thunderbolt features supported by this board. There are not many components currently available on the market that I can afford or use practically, however, I was able to connect to my MacBook Pro with the thunderbolt cable and optional thunderbolt adaptor (sold separately from Gigabyte). File transfers went through quicker than I thought they would.

NETGEAR WNR2020v2 Wireless N300 Wi-Fi Router with External Antennas
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Consistent wired and wireless performance for home networks. Wireless coverage is improved with the external directional antennas, although, the antennas are non-removable. DHCP seems to auto-detect and configure faster than other routers of the same class. Upon initial installation, a router firmware upgrade was available from Netgear (v. The firmware upgrade slightly improves the user functionality. Installation of the upgrade is simple and only takes a few minutes.

Cons: No gigabit ethernet availability.
No onboard USB ports for network storage.
External antennas are fragile and non-removable.
No 5ghz wireless spectrum.
2.4ghz connectivity is susceptible to interference from other devices, and AP isolation does not provide any resolve.
Bridging other routers and access points to this router, although an easy process, does not operate properly.
Initially attaching this router to a cable modem required the previous DHCP lease to be released, followed by a few power cycles to both devices to renegotiate a new connection, otherwise, the router would time out upon connecting to the internet.
The included CAT 5e cable is short, I recommend replacing it with a longer cable.

WD BLACK SERIES WD2003FZEX 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Performance wise, these drives are beastly compared to the similarly spec'd drives on the market. 2TB of mechanical storage running at 7200RPM should be sufficient for any consistent data reads/writes. A surface format (NTFS Partition Scheme) of the drive over the SATA III interface took roughly 12 hours. Average reads and writes peaked at 130MB/s. Simultaneously reading and writing data to the drive (from multiple sources) averaged speeds of 55MB/s-60MB/s while running Windows 7. The drive functions fairly well when queuing up data reads/writes, and I suspect that the 64MB cache is responsible for this performance.

Cons: Heat and Weight. (See below for details)
DO NOT run this drive in any RAID configuration.

Other Thoughts: Heat dissipation is a concern. This drive is heavy, and when running at full load, it gets hot. I installed it into a Sony VAIO All-in-one Desktop PC (L Series). There isn't much room in the chassis of that computer. There is no airflow passing the drive, so heat becomes a major issue. The only remedy for this situation was to maximize the power-down modes available to the drive, as running it 24/7 under constant heat would lead to imminent failure, plus... it's hassle to install a drive into one of those PCs.


Ibrahim H.'s Profile

Display Name: Ibrahim H.

Date Joined: 11/08/05


  • Top 1000 Reviewer
  • 100 Reviews
  • Reviews: 138
  • Helpfulness: 53
  • First Review: 03/07/06
  • Last Review: 11/20/15
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