The Gigabyte P55-UD5 comes in a gorgeous white box that has a holographic type effect built into the coating which really makes it stand out. It's very difficult to do it justice in a photograph so we have taken a close up shot later on that really emphasises it. It truly adds a touch of class to the box. The main front of the box are dominated by the four important pieces of information.
Firstly the actual name of the motherboard itself is writ-large upon the bottom of the box in a huge attention-grabbing font. Quite often manufacturers have rather complex naming conventions for each motherboard variant, but by utilising such a simplistic scheme (higher UD number equals higher-end motherboard) it is very easy for the customer to understand.
Secondly is the typical Ultra Durable 3 logo that adorns so many of their products. Although most people wont know what the benefits of all Japanese Capacitors would be, it certainly catches the eye, and for those of us who do understand the benefits it's clear what the Ultra Durable refers to.
Finally the Smart6 logo and Gigabyte logos also show who makes it, important for Gigabyte, and the Smart 6 is an impressive, if oblique, logo.
Luckily turning the box over onto its back gives a much clearer indication as to what those features are. The rear of the box is split into three distinct sections.
The left hand side gives an explanation of the UD3 technology with a cool exploded diagram of how the 2oz Copper will provide extra durability, thermal performances and higher overclocking potential compared to rival boards. This is followed by little box explaining how Japanese Solid Capacitors will provide enormous longevity.
On the right hand side is quite brief introduction to what those "Smart 6" features are without going into much detail. Box space being incredibly limited it's good to see just enough information provided without either ignoring a feature entirely or turning the back space into an incomprehensible jumble of data. There is a large part devoted to the Smart TPM feature, which indicates the ability to lock your motherboard data by utilising a bluetooth cellphone. Certainly sounds like an interesting innovation. Unfortunately Gigabyte don't provide a bluetooth receiver to enable you to use this "out the box" and in these days of smart phones I haven't got a bluetooth receiver so we were unable to test this specific feature.
Finally, the bottom third of the box is dedicated to the various ingredients that make up a P55 chipset, which we will be taking a closer look at on subsequent pages.
Opening the rather battered outer box (yeah thanks for that Mr Courier by the way) reveals a very sturdy plain white box containing the various cables and manuals and the motherboard itself. It's strange when you open the box to see such a relatively high-end motherboard still only provided with the normal "sheet of cardboard on top of the mobo" that Gigabyte provide with even its more lower end models.
On the left you can see the usual driver disk, which comes complete with the main utilities and includes drivers for Windows 7 as well. In a business that usually provides driver disks that are hugely out of date by the time the motherboard is finished and in production, it's good to see Gigabyte covering the latest OS without forcing the user to hunt around the internet for a useful set of compatible drivers. The manual is entirely in English, all 128 pages, and very comprehensive. Anything you could wish to be covered is, and the only slight complaint I can have is the same one that blights every manual to any product on the planet and that is the "it's all gone wrong" troubleshooting guide. Even on something as complex as a motherboard it seems limited to the typical "is it all plugged in and switched on?" which just isn't good enough in this reviews opinion.
On the right are the various connection options provided in the box as standard. Four angled, latched, SATA cables, a PCI bracket that adds a further two eSATA ports in addition to the two already available on the back IO, an IDE cable should you want to drag your old legacy hardware to your new board, a flexible SLI bridge and Gigabytes usual high standard colour-coded blanking plate. Considering the sheer volume of SATA ports available perhaps an extra couple of SATA cables would be nice, but otherwise it's a good bundle as befits a motherboard of this stature.
Finally a close-up shot of that amazing coating on the box. It really does separate this from the pack and is both eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing.
Time to take a close look at the Gigabyte P55-UD5 itself.