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.

  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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 improved my framerates by 1%...
  • 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.
  • ram1009
    I was going to make the same criticizms but you all beat me to it. Good work.
  • ossie
    Actually the real part of impedance (aka resistance) is dissipating power. By doubling the thickness of ground/power planes, the resistance of the connection is halved, and also the lost power. Thermal resistance might also be reduced somewhat. All this has effects only at low frequencies/DC. At higher frequencies, there will be practically no change due to the skin effect, and also no change in transmission line impedance.
  • 505090
    ossieActually the real part of impedance (aka resistance) is dissipating power. By doubling the thickness of ground/power planes, the resistance of the connection is halved, and also the lost power. Thermal resistance might also be reduced somewhat. All this has effects only at low frequencies/DC. At higher frequencies, there will be practically no change due to the skin effect, and also no change in transmission line impedance.
    Impedance and resistance are two separate principles. Impedance which can be created by an inductor resists a change in current, either stabilizing a DC circuit or causing resistance to an AC circuit; because of the constant shifting of current flow inherent to AC. Resistance which can be created with a resistor resists the flow of current to either DC or AC. Being we are discussing a motherboard that functions entirely upon DC we should be careful not to confuse the two.
  • ZootyGray
    I appreciate facts, truth, accurate information. I appreciate people with direct experience, sharing what they know.

    I am disgusted and fed up with useless, negative, uninformed, opinionated, self-important morons with misconceptions about the relative locations of their brains vs other body parts designed for elimination.

    It is increasingly difficult to acquire information from this site without being bombarded by passing manure spreaders that apparently have undergone some out-of-control process of spontaneous combustion.

    Simultaneously, it is increasingly difficult to simply come here and feel good while being entertained by info on recent technological changes.

    Oh so obviously, there is a chance that this might be something good. Oh so obviously, this is a marketing feature. Oh so obviously, they warranty what they sell and are not going to produce a liability for themselves. (speaking of which) >>> And oh so obviously, some of you have created for yourselves a very sad world of unhealthy negativity. It is not your fault; but it IS yours to recreate a world of joy where you can be happy. If you have not yet had enough pain, then continue as you are.

    The degree to which you find this offensive is a reflection of your immersion in the problem. You might be surprised to hear that you really do not have to live that way. It is your choice and is the result of past choices - but your future choices are all yours. Change is difficult until you have seen better - that, in itself, is the beginning of new and improved; and as it continues, there is no place for disease. This negativity is more dangerous than you know - if you knew that, you would not be doing what you are not - because, you are really not that! Your land of the free, is not supposed to be a deathtrap. And your home of the brave is useless if you are unknowingly just hurting yourself and others. It begins and ends with you. Peace. Have a nice day; unless you have other plans.

    Contrary to some other opinions, I have seen some fine products from Gigabyte; particularly their AMD boards featuring the 790GX chipset. Your mileage may vary; but I hear good feedback from people with AMD systems with Giga mobos.

    Please note - this is not a gauntlet thrown as an opportunity for yet another lame useless flamewar. I am simply a person who prefers AMD and would like to share info with others who have similar interests. You are entitled to your preferences. I have mine for my own personal reasons. I would prefer this talk to calling you all morons and suckers for ever being seduced by spintel in the first place - so you see, I have to keep myself on the right path also :) and it is not always so easy. Sometimes it is very easy.

    Thanks for nice article. We shall see how this develops for Gigabyte and whether or not others follow.
  • johnbilicki
    exiled scotsmanThey'll probably ad a nice $30-$50 price premium to boards featuring this "break-through".
    Which should still keep it a hundred dollars cheaper then the over priced Asus boards that you'll get used replacements for when you have to RMA them.

    jliu83's comment's are pretty much on the mark, what do you think your PSU's are? Same thing as a power brick or the black blocks for things like your answering machine: AC to DC power converter.

    Most people will stick to affordable motherboards. Not going to pursue a multiple-GPU solution? A Via chipset won't give you much of a performance hit then a high end system, just fewer features.

    Now if they included a bar of gold with the motherboard for an extra $30 or $40 I'd be sold!
  • Copper is very precious, it's price is rivaled only by tin and lint.

    I do not think using 2oz copper has anything to do with impedance matching, it says that 2oz copper is used for the ground and power layer, nothing about the signal layer.

    Pretty much anything PCB related is cheap, 1oz vs 2oz, 10 layer vs 12 layer, is just pennies and cents. No doubt though gigabyte is going to make a spectacle out of this to make it seem that the premium that consumers pay is justified. Can't blame then though, Money talks and BS walks.