Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Motherboard Review

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X58 In Review

Before I started this article I was sidetracked by a brief trip to Wikipedia. The reason for this trip was the lingering feeling that the block diagram below looked excessively old. It feels like X58 and ICH10/R have been with us a bit longer than usual. Turns out X58 launched way back in November of 2008 and ICH10/R launched back in June of 2008. Since then we’ve had some evolutionary technology upgrades with USB 3.0 and SATA 6 being the most important. Where’s our ICH11R with at least SATA 6 support? Turns out we have to wait till Sandy Bridge in 2011 for a revision of either which means for now motherboard manufacturers have to turn to 3rd party solutions like Marvell’s 9128 SATA 6Gb/s controller and NEC’s D720200 USB 3.0 controller for support.

Intel X58 Block Diagram

I mention all of this as today I have Gigabyte’s latest flagship X58 motherboard, the X58A-UD7. In traditional Gigabyte fashion there is an overabundance of everything on this board ranging from “24″ phases for CPU power to a total of 14 available connections for SATA/PATA hard-drives. We’ll talk about the specifics later but let’s get a general look at the board now. Price is a big factor with this board with a $349.99 price tag at Newegg.com. At least they are so kind as to throw in free shipping which actually is rather nice as the box this board comes in is huge.

Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Box

Next let’s consider the competition. For this I’d say any board within $40 would be eligible competition which leaves us with the MSI P55 Big Bang Trinergy and P55 Big Bang Fuzion, EVGA’s P55 Classified NF200 and X58 E760 Classified, and Asus’ X58 P6X58D Premium, X58 P6T6 WS Revolution and X58 Rampage II Extreme. All of these boards are rather nice options but none of them except the P6X58D Premium include SATA 6Gb/s or USB 3.0 support so Gigabyte gets a gold star for that. It should be noted that the Asus X58 Rampage III Extreme will be available soon with USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s, but since it isn’t available it is hardly a factor. Comparing PCIe slot arrangement all these boards support 3-way SLI/CrossFire but only the $400 P6T7 WS Supercomputer supports 4-way SLI/CrossFire. This isn’t exactly a huge issue as the market for 4-way SLI/CrossFire is very small but when you are spending $350 on a motherboard you might as well have the option. Unfortunately I haven’t got an Asus Rampage II Extreme as it appears to be the ideal comparison but I do have an EVGA E760 Classified and it will offer a well enough comparison. Below for your ease of browsing I’ve included the specification sheet for the Gigabyte X58A-UD7.

CPU
  1. Support for an Intel® Core™ i7 series processor in the LGA1366 package
    (Go to GIGABYTE’s website for the latest CPU support list.)
  2. L3 cache varies with CPU
QPI
  1. 4.8GT/s, 6.4GT/s
Chipset
  1. North Bridge: Intel® X58 Express Chipset
  2. South Bridge: Intel® ICH10R
Memory
  1. 6 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 24 GB of system memory(Note 1)
  2. Dual/3 channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR3 2200/1333/1066/800 MHz memory modules
  4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
  5. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules

(Go to GIGABYTE’s website for the latest memory support list.)

Audio
  1. Realtek ALC889 codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for Dolby® Home Theater
  5. Support for S/PDIF In/Out
  6. Support for CD In
LAN
  1. 2 x RTL8111D chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
  2. Support for Teaming
  3. Support Smart Dual LAN
Expansion Slots
  1. 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1/PCIEX16_2) (Note 2)
  2. 2 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1/PCIEX8_2) (Note 3)
    (The PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2, PCIEX8_1 and PCIEX8_2 slots conform to PCI
    Express 2.0 standard.)
  3. 2 x PCI Express x1 slots
  4. 1 x PCI slot
Multi-Graphics Technology
  1. Support for 2-Way/3-Way ATI CrossFireX™/NVIDIA SLI technology
Storage Interface South Bridge:

  1. 6 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2_0, SATA2_1, SATA2_2, SATA2_3, SATA2_4, SATA2_5) supporting up to 6 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  2. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10

Marvell 9128 chip:

  1. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3_6, GSATA3_7) supporting up to
    2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  2. Support for SATA RAID 0, and RAID 1

GIGABYTE SATA2 chip:

  1. 1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices
  2. 2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (GSATA2_8, GSATA2_9) supporting up to
    2 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  3. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD

JMicron JMB362 chip:

  1. 2 x eSATA 3Gb/s connectors (eSATA/USB Combo) on the back panel sup- porting up to 2 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  2. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD

iTE IT8720 chip:

  1. 1 x floppy disk drive connector supporting up to 1 floppy disk drive
USB Integrated in the South Bridge

  1. Up to 10 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (6 on the back panel, including 2 eSATA/USB Combo, 4 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)

NEC chip:

  1. Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel
IEEE 1394
  1. T.I. TSB43AB23 chip
  2. Up to 3 IEEE 1394a ports (2 on the back panel, 1 via the IEEE 1394a bracket connected to the internal IEEE 1394a header)
Internal I/O Connectors
  1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 1 x floppy disk drive connector
  4. 1 x IDE connector
  5. 8 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
  6. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  7. 1 x CPU fan header
  8. 3 x system fan headers
  9. 1 x power fan header
  10. 1 x North Bridge fan header
  11. 1 x front panel header
  12. 1 x front panel audio header
  13. 1 x CD In connector
  14. 1 x S/PDIF In header
  15. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  16. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  17. 1 x IEEE 1394a header
  18. 1 x power button
  19. 1 x reset button
Back Panel Connectors
  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  2. 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  3. 1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector
  4. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  5. 1 x clearing CMOS button
  6. 2 x IEEE 1394a ports
  7. 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  8. 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  9. 2 x eSATA/USB Combo connectors
  10. 2 x RJ-45 port
  11. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/ Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller
  1. iTE IT8720 chip
H/W Monitoring
  1. System voltage detection
  2. CPU/North Bridge temperature detection
  3. CPU/System/Power fan speed detection
  4. CPU overheating warning
  5. CPU fan fail warning
  6. CPU/System fan speed control (Note 4)
BIOS
  1. 2 x 16 Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
Unique Features
  1. Support for @BIOS
  2. Support for Q-Flash
  3. Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
  4. Support for Download Center
  5. Support for Xpress Install
  6. Support for Xpress Recovery2
  7. Support for EasyTune (Note 5)
  8. Support for Dynamic Energy Saver™ 2
  9. Support for Smart 6™
  10. Support for Auto Green
  11. Support for eXtreme Hard Drive
  12. Support for Q-Share
Bundle Software
  1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
Operating System
  1. Support for Microsoft® Windows® 7/Vista/XP
Form Factor
  1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm
Note (Note 1) Due to Windows Vista/XP 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
(Note 2) For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16_1 slot; if you are installing two PCI Express graphics cards, it is
recommended that you install them in the PCIEX16_1 and PCIEX16_2 slots.
(Note 3) The PCIEX8_1 and PCIEX8_2 slots share bandwidth with the PCIEX16_1 and PCIEX16_2 slots
espectively. When PCIEX8_1 is populated with an expansion card, the PCIEX16_1 slot will operate
at up to x8 mode; when PCIEX8_2 is populated with an expansion card, the PC
IEX16_2 slot will
operate at up to x8 mode.
(Note 4) Whether the CPU/system fan speed control function is supported will depend on the CPU/ system cooler you install.
(Note 5) Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.
Remark  

  1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors’ website or 3rd party website.
  2. Due to most hardware/software vendors no longer offer support for Win9X/ME. If some vendors still has Win9X/ME drivers available, we will publish on website.

 

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