GIGABYTE first launched the Z68X-UD5 without access to LucidLogix VIRTU; a feature that allowed users to utilize Sandy Bridge’s integrated graphics. After fielding some feedback from reviewers, GIGABYTE quickly revised the platform and brought us the Z68XP-UD5 which brings back VIRTU, Intel Quick Sync, Intel InTru 3D and Intel Insider features which make quick work of audio and video encoding tasks. The board is sharp but don’t have to take my word for it. Have a look at the video above (or directly on YouTube) for an up close look.

Other features built in to the Z68XP-UD5 are 108dB Dolby Home Theater audio, 3 x PCIE 2.0 slots, 2-way NVIDIA SLI/AMD CrossfireX support (up to Quad GPU), native Z68 and Marvell SATA3 ports, Power, Reset and CMOS (BIOS) Clear buttons if you don’t like conventional computer cases. Don’t forget, there is an HDMI out port so you can use the IGP for a seperate monitor while connecting another for something like gaming directly to your video card.

Surrounding the CPU socket is a 20 Phase power design for clean power when you need it and extra when overclocking. The Click BIOS makes it easy to access the BIOS through Windows for quick on the fly adjustments. The EZ Smart Response utility will make easy work of setting up Intel Smart Response performance using a 20-64GB SSD which caches commonly used files from your regular platter drive which noticeably increases overall system response and performance.

The board prices in at around $269.99 from the usual online retailers.  With the right search, you’ll find board and SSD combo deals which can save you some cash. Bundle the platform with a money saving 20-64GB SSD, or step up to the world of 120GB performance. Either way, you’ll find it a whole new application launching experience. Stay tuned for our MAJOR Z68 round up coming up later this week!

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