The Intel X79 chipset is a single-chip solution which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip supports two SATA-600 ports and four SATA-300 ports, supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5). In addition to these ports, the Gigabyte X79-UD3 has four SATA-600 ports controlled by two Marvell 88SE9172 chips and two eSATA-600 ports controlled by another Marvell 88SE9172 chip. These chips support RAID 0 and 1.
The ports controlled by the chipset and two of the four additional SATA ports are located at the motherboard edge, rotated 90°, so video cards won’t block them. See Figure 4. The other two additional SATA-600 ports are located at the motherboard edge, near the fourth PCI Express slot (PCIE8_2). The installation of a video card in this slot will block these ports.
The Intel X79 chipset supports 14 USB 2.0 ports and, unfortunately, support for USB 3.0 ports isn’t integrated in the chipset yet. The Gigabyte X79-UD3 offers all 14 USB 2.0 ports, eight soldered on the rear panel and six available through six headers located on the motherboard. It also supports four USB 3.0 ports, controlled by two Fresco Logic FL1000 chips. Two of them are located on the motherboard rear panel and the other two are available on a motherboa
rd header, to be used by USB 3.0 ports located on your computer case.
The Gigabyte X79-UD3 doesn’t come with FireWire ports.
This motherboard supports 7.1+2 audio format, i.e., eight channels plus two independent channels for audio streaming. On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using the new Realtek ALC898 codec, which is an outstanding solution, providing an impressive 110 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, with 24-bit resolution. This means you are able to capture and edit analog audio (e.g., converting LPs to CDs or MP3, converting VHS to DVDs or any other digital format, etc.) with this motherboard without adding any background noise.
This motherboard has independent 7.1 analog audio outputs, meaning that you won’t need to use the “line in” or “mic in” jacks when installing a set of analog 7.1 speakers. The motherboard has on-board optical and coaxial SPDIF outputs. An SPDIF header (“SPDIF_O”) is also available if you want to route digital audio to your video card to have digital audio available on the HDMI connector, in case your video card needs this connection.
The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by the chipset using an Intel WG82579V chip to make the interface with the physical layer.
In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel, with PS/2 keyboard and mouse shared connector, eight USB 2.0 ports, optical and coaxial SPDIF outputs, two eSATA-600 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, and independent 7.1 analog audio jacks.