GIGABYTE GA-X58-USB3 Motherboard ReviewThu, Dec 02, 2010 - 12:00 AM
GIGABYTE GA-X58-USB3 Layout
The GIGABYTE GA-X58-USB3 motherboard follows the same blue and white color scheme as all but a handful of the GIGABYTE motherboards. The color scheme used by GIGABYTE isn’t exactly my favorite, but I have said it repeatedly, color doesn’t matter to me. It’s all about performance over style, and not to give to much away but I’d be happy to put this in to one of my machines.
Thanks to the Intel X58 chipset, the GIGABYTE GA-x58-USB3 features triple channel memory and will support a maximum of 24GB of DDR3 with speeds up to 2200MHz. Aside from the all important DIMM slots, we also have a system fan header (3pin) and the 20+4 power plug that provides the GIGABYTE GA-X58-USB3 with the majority of the power it will need.
Sliding down the GIGABYTE GA-X58-USB3 we come across the six SATA2 ports that can be configured in RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10. There is also another system fan header (3pin), and of course the passive heatsink on the Intel ICH10R South Bridge chipset.
Rounding the first corner we gain access to the pin out for the front panel, three USB2 headers and another system fan header (4pin). The red F_USB1 header provides the USB ports that will support GIGABYTE’s ON/OFF charging technology.
Moving down the GIGABYTE GA-X58-USB3 we come across the pair of BIOS chips that make up the DualBIOS system. This will come in handy if your BIOS ever become fragged due to a bad flash, helps prevent you from having a $179.99 paper weight.
Rounding one of the last corners on the GIGABYTE GA-X58-USB3 we begin to realize that there is quite a bit happening here. First of all we can see the layout of the expansion slots. we have a total of three PCIex1 slots (the short little white ones), and we also have an expansion slot that is just a bit outdated. For a reason unknown to me GIGABYTE has included a PCI slot on the GIGABYTE GA-X58-USB3, in my opinion that could have been left out with the IDE and floppy disk headers. We also have three PCIe-x16 expansion slots which can be used to run some double or triple SLI action. Just below the PCI expansion slot we have the ITE IT8720F which is the Super I/O chip, you can find detail on this chip here. Just to the left of the four solid capacitors is the Realtek ALC892. The Realtek ALC892 Codec is a high-performance DAC (Digital-Analog Convertor) with 100 dB signal-to-noise ratio playback quality and it also has support for Dolby.
The area around the CPU socket on the GIGABYTE GA-X58-USB3 is a busy place to say the least. Power to the CPU is provided by the 8pin CPU power plug and regulated by a six phase system that includes an Intersil ISL6336A 6-Phase PWM Controller. Surrounding the CPU Socket is Japanese solid capacitors and Ferrite Core chokes.
The rear I/O panel of the GIGABYTE GA-X58-USB3 has most of the ports you will typically find on the majority of the motherboards out there. There a couple that are missing that I have become accustomed to seeing. The first that I noticed that wasn’t present was an optical S/PDIF port, but there is a coaxial S/PDIF. I also noticed that there is no Firewire or eSATA. None of these features that aren’t present on the GIGABYTE GA-X58-USB3 will take away from the quality of of the board, but will save the end user who doesn’t need them a few bucks. If you do need these GIGABYTE has plenty of boards that you can choose from that do have these features.