Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 LGA1366 Motherboard Review

by MAC     |     January 24, 2010


As a necessary companion to the Core i7 processors, Intel released the X58 Tylersburg northbridge, now known as the IO Hub (IOH). This reclassification has occurred because of the fact that the memory controller has been integrated into the processor itself. As a result, the IO Hub is now solely responsible for implementing PCI Express lanes and linking to the I/O Controller Hub (ICH) southbridge. Since the front side bus is no more, the X58 communicates with the processor via the new high-speed QuickPath Interface (QPI), and it is connected to the southbridge (ICH) via the traditional Direct Media Interface (DMI). The southbridge is the venerable ICH10R found on all P45 Express motherboards, and it supports six SATA II ports, AHCI, and Matrix RAID technology.

The X58 features 36 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes, which signifies that it supports two proper PCI-E x16 slots. However, depending on the motherboard manufacturer's design, those 36 PCI-E 2.0 lanes can also be utilized in a triple PCI-E x16 (x16/x8/x8) and/or quad PCI-E x16 (x8/x8/x8/x8) configuration. Naturally all X58 motherboards have full CrossFireX support, but some motherboards such as the GA-X58A-UD7 that we are testing today have been certified for NVIDIA SLI as well, which is a must-have feature for many enthusiasts.

Officially, Intel's specifications list DDR3-1066 as the highest supported memory speed on the Bloomfield/X58 platform. However, all motherboard manufacturers have marketed their models as DDR3-1600 capable, and Gigabyte have certified the X58A-UD7 for DDR3-2100 and above.

X58 IOH on the left, ICH10R Southbridge on the right - Click on image to enlarge

Now that we have examined some of the specifications inherent to the new platform, let's see what kind of motherboard Gigabyte have built around this new chipset:


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