Gigabyte Doubles Up Copper in Mobos

Gigabyte announced this week a new technology which it calls Ultra Durable 3, promises that motherboards featuring the new technology will achieve better overclocking, reduced heat and increased energy efficiency. The premise of the new technology is actually rather simple; increasing the amount of copper used in a motherboard will lower the impedance, reduce heat and improve signal quality.

According to Gigabyte, Ultra Durable 3 motherboards will be the first consumer desktop motherboards to feature 2-ounces of copper for each power and ground layer, doubling that of traditional motherboards. A bit like how a larger copper heat sink often works better than a smaller one, having more copper throughout the motherboard allows for more efficient spreading of heat. As such, heat created by critical components on the motherboard will spread out across the entire motherboard more effectively, which Gigabyte claims can deliver 50°C cooler working conditions than traditional motherboards. Somehow that claim seems to be a bit misleading, but it should be interesting to see in tests how much cooler the motherboard components actually do get.

Doubling the amount of copper should also help to reduce the amount of impedance, which Gigabyte says is lowered by a factor of two. Impedance is like resistance in that is opposes the flow of electrical current, so reducing the impedance will also reduce wasted power. Less wasted power means less generated heat, cooler components and a lower power bill. Gigabyte claims the extra copper cuts the total amount of PCB electrical waste in half, which probably still does not amount to actually a whole lot, but every bit helps.

One last aspect in which the added copper apparently comes in handy is with improving signal quality, which results in a more stable system and greater overclocking margins. Of course, all these claims still need to be substantiated, but the theory behind adding extra copper looks sound enough. For some users, the need for extra copper in motherboards may not be really all that important or necessary, especially if it comes at a premium cost. For serious overclockers and enthusiasts however, the little extra copper found in those motherboards will likely be welcomed, even if the effect turns out to be minor.

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  • jliu83
    As an electrical engineer who makes PCB's professionally, I think these are all marketing schemes. Impedance characteristics of high speed signals are usually controlled, not reduced. Lowering the impedance of certain critical signals will get you a motherboard that does not work (signals get reflected if impedance is not matched). Increase the ground and copper planes will have a small effect on heat dissipation. This is because the standard 1oz copper is already a very good conductor of heat, with very low resistance. Increasing the copper to 2oz cannot improve performance by a significant amount (diminishing returns as copper is increased). The way you control the impedance is by changing the signal's trace width, and height with respect to the ground plane. It is NOT controlled by the thickness of the ground plane itself. As for low frequency signals, impedance doesn't really matter. This is because as a signal's frequency reduced, the DC characteristics matter more than the AC characteristics.
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  • drysocks
    "new technology"
    Very funny. I've improved my impedance matching, VSWR, Power handling, for years now with 2oz copper in certain circuits.

    "Gigabyte claims can deliver 50°C cooler working conditions". Do they mean 5°C?
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  • mr roboto
    Yeah up to 50c across the whole board. Like up to 5c on the mosfets, up to 5c on the northbridge, up to 5c on the Southbridge, etc... Up to 50c cooler combined across the whole motherboard. Very misleading and seems to be below what Gigabyte is capable of in terms of marketing. Maybe they think people will be stupid enough to believe it.

    Gigabyte has gone downhill in recent times. Not the same company that once made some outstanding AMD 939 boards a few years back. Now they're associated with high failure rates and poor QC, oh and now add BS marketing to that.
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  • exiled scotsman
    They'll probably ad a nice $30-$50 price premium to boards featuring this "break-through". I suspect when the benchmarks are made, that there won't be much of a difference. Wow, I can gain 100Mhz extra on my already OC'd C2D...it improved my framerates by 1%...
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