GIGABYTE X99-UD4 Motherboard Review

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by Rob Williams on May 4, 2015 in Motherboards

Building an X99-based machine and want a great “sweet-spot” motherboard? GIGABYTE’s X99-UD4 is well worth the consideration, as it delivers a lot of functionality for its <$250 price-tag, tosses in a couple of extras we might not “need” but do appreciate, and sports a solid design. Let’s check it out.

Performance & Final Thoughts

From a performance perspective, we feel that motherboard benchmarking is almost useless. It’s the motherboard’s job to allow all of the installed hardware to operate at its full potential, so in theory, a $100 option shouldn’t be much (or any) slower than a $300 one. The differences in price instead comes down to the quality of the onboard components and other features.

So why do it at all? It’s because it’s important to make sure that the board we’re dealing with doesn’t lack in one particular area versus the rest. If board A performs 2% slower than board B in PCMark, for example, that’s of no concern to us – benchmark variance is a fact of life. However, if one board consistently performs weaker than the rest, that’s worthy of note – it could suggest that weaker components have been used which do not allow the hardware to operate at its full potential.

Please bear this in mind when perusing our results. Just because a board under-performs in a single test, it doesn’t mean anything in regards to its quality as a whole. Our ultimate goal here is to make sure that each board we test performs as we’d expect across the gamut of scenarios we pit them against.

Intel LGA2011-v3 Test System
ProcessorIntel Core i7-5960X – Octa-Core, 3.00GHz
MotherboardASUS X99-DELUXE (BIOS: ‘0801’ 09/04/2014)
EVGA X99 Micro (BIOS: ‘1.06’ 09/05/2014)
GIGABYTE X99-UD4 (BIOS: ‘F10’ 11/24/2014)
MemoryCorsair Vengeance DDR4-2800 @ DDR4-2400 16-16-16
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti (GeForce 340.52 Driver)
AudioOnboard
StorageKingston HyperX 240GB SSD
Power SupplyCorsair HX850W
ChassisCorsair Obsidian 700D Full-Tower
CoolingNoctua NH-U14S Air Cooler
Et ceteraWindows 7 Professional 64-bit

Increasing the BCLK value is one way that vendors could sneak in some higher-than-stock performance numbers, so after letting the test bench sit idle for a couple of minutes, we look at the current BCLK value as according to CPU-Z.

BCLK ValuesResult
ASUS X99-DELUXE100.1 MHz
EVGA X99 Micro99.9 MHz
GIGABYTE X99-UD499.9 MHz

All is kosher. Let’s move on.

General System Performance

To take a look at the “overall” performance of our PC configuration, we rely on dual Futuremark suites: PCMark 8 and 3DMark (2013).

SPECwpc 1.0MediaFinancialDevelopmentEnergySciencesGeneral
ASUS X99-DELUXE3.874.093.444.164.615.30
EVGA X99 Micro3.644.033.123.794.374.36
GIGABYTE X99-UD44.024.283.323.954.674.3
Higher results are better.
PCMark 8 Suite ScoresHomeWorkCreative
ASUS X99-DELUXE446550773474
EVGA X99 Micro429449203409
GIGABYTE X99-UD4423849153579
Higher results are better.
3DMark (2013)3DMarkGraphicsPhysics
ASUS X99-DELUXE3334348317247
EVGA X99 Micro3299344716243
GIGABYTE X99-UD43315346217200
Fire Strike test. 3DMark results in points; higher is better.

As we’d expect, the variance between these three boards is small, although ASUS’ board does seem to have a slight advantage. With the SPECwpc test in particular, both the ASUS and GIGABYTE boards trade punches.

I/O Performance

To properly give the internal SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0 ports a good workout, we turn to HD Tune and CrystalDiskMark.

HD Tune Pro 5MinimumAverageMaximumLatency
ASUS X99-DELUXE290.5373.0416.60.093ms
EVGA X99 Micro247.8332.9367.20.100ms
GIGABYTE X99-UD4249.4350.9394.40.092ms
Min/Avg/Max results in MB/s; higher is better. Latency results in ms; lower is better.
CrystalDiskMarkRead Seq.Read 4KWrite Seq.Write 4K
ASUS X99-DELUXE515.336.68315.4106.8
EVGA X99 Micro499.634.53312.2110.4
GIGABYTE X99-UD4492.434.27330.7106.3
All results in MB/s.
CrystalDiskMark USB 3.0Read Seq.Read 4KWrite Seq.Write 4K
ASUS X99-DELUXE432.027.17286.559.71
EVGA X99 Micro238.222.84237.842.83
GIGABYTE X99-UD4242.0522.99240.5841.77
All results in MB/s.

I don’t know what ASUS is feeding its SATA chipsets, but for the past couple of motherboard generations, its boards have consistently performed better than the others. Will these small differences be noticeable in the real-world? I certainly wouldn’t think so, but like most of the benchmarks on this page, it’s simply interesting to note.

Where ASUS really shines is with the USB 3.0 test, as on its boards, we have the option to enable the UASP protocol. Why that’s not a standard option on the other boards, I’m not quite sure. Again, though, unless you are copying data all day long, the boosted performance might not be that noticeable. Still, I’d rather faster, if given the option.

Rendering & Image Manipulation

Writing files to disk or reading a website doesn’t do much to exercise our CPU, so for that, we turn to a few common scenarios – image editing, video rendering, music conversion, and 3D rendering.

Adobe Lightroom 5.5Result
ASUS X99-DELUXE435 s
EVGA X99 Micro464 s
GIGABYTE X99-UD4459 s
Results in seconds; lower is better.
Adobe Premiere Pro CCResult
ASUS X99-DELUXE575 s
EVGA X99 Micro608 s
GIGABYTE X99-UD4577 s
Results in seconds; lower is better.
Autodesk 3ds Max 2015Result
ASUS X99-DELUXE674 s
EVGA X99 Micro723 s
GIGABYTE X99-UD4678 s
Results in seconds; lower is better.
Cinebench R15OpenGLCPU
ASUS X99-DELUXE142.051416
EVGA X99 Micro138.311331
GIGABYTE X99-UD4140.111397
Higher results are better.
dBpoweramp R15FLAC to MP3
ASUS X99-DELUXE463 s
EVGA X99 Micro491 s
GIGABYTE X99-UD4466 s
500 FLAC to 320Kbps MP3.
HandBrake 0.99Result
ASUS X99-DELUXE1880 s
EVGA X99 Micro1998 s
GIGABYTE X99-UD41880 s
Results in seconds; lower is better.
POV-RaySingleMulti
ASUS X99-DELUXE333.952872.56
EVGA X99 Micro320.902699.90
GIGABYTE X99-UD4333.532862.15
Higher results are better.

This set of tests highlights an obvious trend. For some reason, EVGA’s board consistently falls behind the other two boards each and every time, whereas the ASUS and GIGABYTE are pretty well neck-and-neck. Great performance all around, but the EVGA trends are hard to ignore.

Sub-system Performance

For memory and CPU testing, we utilize SiSoftware’s Sandra 2015.

Sandra 2015 (Memory)IntegerFloat
ASUS X99-DELUXE50.346 GB/s51.203 GB/s
EVGA X99 Micro48.359 GB/s48.986 GB/s
GIGABYTE X99-UD451.160 GB/s52.395 GB/s
Int/Float/Cache results in GB/s; higher is better.
Sandra 2015 (Arithmetic)DhrystoneWhetstone
ASUS X99-DELUXE318 GIPS186 GFLOPS
EVGA X99 Micro298 GIPS176 GFLOPS
GIGABYTE X99-UD4311 GIPS187 GFLOPS
Higher is better.
Sandra 2015 (Multi-core)BandwidthLatency
ASUS X99-DELUXE55.67 GB/s52.0 ns
EVGA X99 Micro47.93 GB/s53.4 ns
GIGABYTE X99-UD455.71 GB/s52.2 ns
Bandwidth results; higher is better. Latency results; lower is better.

Once again, EVGA’s board falls a bit behind here (for reasons unknown), but overall, there’s great performance from all three boards here. While faster memory really isn’t important for most people, I admit it’s still nice to see performance peak at about 50GB/s. To put that into perspective, I hit 9.9GB/s on the last memory kit I reviewed seven-years-ago.

Final Thoughts

GIGABYTE’s X99-UD4 motherboard hits the “sweet-spot” when it comes to features and pricing. While the board today hovers around the ~$250 mark, it can regularly be found for less. As I write this, Newegg has the board listed for $245, and then offers a $20 mail-in rebate on top of it.

Like the ASUS X99-DELUXE board I took at look at in February, I’ve spent a lot of time with GIGABYTE’s X99-UD4, and overall, I don’t have much to complain about. The board looks good, has a great, common-sense design, and has a decent EFI / software implementation as well. Functionality-wise, it delivers all of what I’d expect an X99 board of this price range to.

GIGABYTE X99-UD4 Motherboard - Glamour Shot

GIGABYTE offers two boards above this one that might be worth considering if you don’t mind shelling out another $20 or $40. The X99-Gaming 5 board, for example, costs about $20 more, but caters more towards gamers. It offers a very similar feature set to the UD4, but has a catered audio solution, as well as Killer E2201 Ethernet (I actually consider that a downside, but some gamers might prefer it). The UD5 costs $40 more, so it’s not a great contender, but it offers dual Intel NICs, dual M.2 slots, as well as Wi-Fi (which hogs an M.2 slot).

But enough of other boards. For its price-point, I think the X99-UD4 is a fantastic option for a new build. As I said above, it succeeds in being a “sweet spot” board – it doesn’t go overboard, but it doesn’t sacrifice anything important, either.

Pros

  • Great “sweet-spot” board (well-priced).
  • Performance is great.
  • Good layout and design.
  • Lots of on-board functionality.
  • Supports quad-GPU.
  • Sleeved SATA cables is a nice touch.
  • Main EFI interface is excellent (in looks and use.)
  • LED-lit I/O panel – if you’re into that sort of thing.

Cons

  • EFI can be a bit buggy at times.
  • GIGABYTE really needs to add a comprehensive fan-tuning utility in its EFI.
  • A minor complaint, but I wish six fan headers was standard on $200+ motherboards.

GIGABYTE X99-UD4 Motherboard - Techgage Editor's Choice
GIGABYTE X99-UD4 Motherboard

Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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