Plotting a performance PC? Snag a high end motherboard. That's the conventional wisdom challenged by the new Gigabyte X79-UD3.

Of course, any board based on Intel's X79 chipset hardly rates as poverty item.

At around $260, the Gigabyte X79-UD3 ain't exactly cheap, but it is within a fiver of the cheapest X79 motherboards on the market. Everything, therefore, is relative.

Consequently, the Gigabyte X79-UD3 is flagrantly frills-free.

But with so many features now finding their way onto the the CPU die itself, including the memory controller and PCI Express bus, you could argue motherboards in general are less critical.

Gigabyte X79-UD3

So Gigabyte's task is to deliver quality and performance where it matters while not going overboard on the corner cutting compared with more expensive X79 models such as the Asus P9X79 Pro and MSI X79A-GD65 8D.

If Gigabyte can pull that off, we can certainly live without trinkets such as hardware power switches and LED displays.