With the relocation of the memory controller from the northbridge to the CPU the performance differences between two competing X58 motherboards are now going to be infinitesimally small. This is a phenomenon that we have observed on the AMD side since they made the switch to an integrated memory controller, and it is undoubtedly going to apply to the Intel Core i7 platform. As a result, manufacturer-specific features and overclocking capabilities are going to be the deciding factors when choosing between two similarly-priced X58 motherboards. As mentioned previously, the X58A-UD7 is the most high-end model in Gigabyte's entire motherboard roster, therefore we fully expect it to be a technological Swiss Army knife.
|24-Phase Power Design|
Along with the P55-UD6, this is among the very first motherboard with a 24-phase power design. This VRM has been designed to deliver fast transient response times ensuring superior power delivery during full load scenarios. Also, by spreading the load across all 24 power phases, the overall heat ouput is reduced and reliability is increased.
|Dynamic Energy Saver 2As the follow-up to D.E.S Advanced, GIGABYTE's Dynamic Energy Saver 2 incorporates a host of intelligent features that use a proprietary hardware and software design to considerably enhance PC system energy efficiency, Reduce power consumption and deliver optimized auto-phase-switching for the CPU, Memory, Chipset, VGA, HDD, and fans with a simple click of button.|
|Ultra Durable 3Like all Gigabyte motherboards, this model features the Ultra Durable 3 design. As with Ultra Durable 2, this signifies that the motherboard was designed with high quality and energy efficient components, namely Low RDS(on) MOSFETs, ferrite core chokes, and long-lasting solid capacitors. However, it also features a 2 ounce copper PCB delivering lower system temperature, improved energy efficiency and enhanced overclocking stability.||EasyTune6|
EasyTune6 was one of the very first of the second generation manufacturer-provided utilities, which is to say utilities that actually worked as to should. Gigabyte redesigned EasyTune6 from the ground up to make it easier than ever to manage, monitor, and tweak your hardware and system settings.
|USB 3.0 Support|
The GIGABYTE X58A series motherboards support the brand new SuperSpeed USB 3.0 standard, which makes possible made possible transfer rates of up to 5.0 Gb/s, which is an almost 10x improvement over USB 2.0. Additionally, USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 which that assures that users can still use those countless USB 2.0 devices.
|SATA 6 Gbps SupportYet another feature of GIGABYTE X58A series motherboards is support for SATA 6Gbps, courtesy of two Marvel SE9128 controllers. As it's name suggests, SATA 6Gbps delivers twice the data transfer rates of SATA 2 (3 Gbps). When used in RAID 0 (Stripe) mode, GIGABYTE X58A series motherboards offer even faster data transfer rates of up to 4x the speed of current SATA interfaces.|
|3x USB Power Boost|
GIGABYTE X58A series motherboards feature a 3x USB power boost, which is to say that they deliver three times more power to the USB ports as standard ports (500mA vs 1500mA). Not only does this ensure greater USB device compatibility, but extra power for those USB devices.
eSATA/USB combo ports provides significant convenience by supporting eSATA and USB devices in one port, and requires no additional power source when connecting eSATA/USB combo devices through the applicable cable.
|Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2|
The GA-X58A-UD7 motherboard now features the new GIGABYTE Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2, a fusion thermal solution that combines GIGABYTE's proprietary screen cooling technology, external heat sink and liquid cooling with a chipset water block.
|3-Way CrossFireX & 3-Way SLIThis model supports 3-Way CrossFireX and 3-Way SLI, which is a capability that enthusiasts demand in a high-end Intel X58 motherboard. In order to support SLI, motherboards must first be certified by NVIDIA, and Gigabyte have wisely chosen to do so with all of their X58 models.|
Providing bullet-proof BIOS protection, the X58A-UD7 has 2 physical BIOS ROMs which permit instant recovery from BIOS damage or failure due to viruses or improper BIOS updating.
|XHD (eXtreme HardDrive)|
Improving system performance is made easy with the quick and easy GIGABYTE eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D). GIGABYTE eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D) provides a user-friendly way to boost hard drive performance through RAID-0 by adding another hard drive.
|Visible Overclocking Reminder|
The OC-Alert LED indicates the degree to which to your CPU is overclocked, ranging from low to high, which might be useful for novice users who likely should not be overclocking to begin with.
|Overvoltage & Temperature Alert LEDs|
The 4 sets of OV-Alert LEDs indicate the overvoltage level of the CPU, Memory, North Bridge and South Bridge to prevent component damage. This model is also outfitted with 2 sets of Temperature Alert LEDs. These LEDs serve to inform users about the current temperature level of the CPU and Northbridge, which should be a useful novelty feature for novice users.
This motherboard features an embedded post code debug LED display, which indicates if a malfunction is occurring and allow users to quickly identify the source of the problem. Secondly, it indicates system power status, preventing potential hardware damage due to improper installation/removal of components while the systems is still in a power-on state (S0, S1, S3, S4, S5).
|Hardware Overvoltage Control ICs|
Catering to the enthusiast crowd, the X58A series features hardware overvoltage control ICs which allow for linear real-time voltage control options for the CPU, memory, and northbridge. In addition, these ICs also allow for extremely accurate control, allowing overclockers to perfectly adjust voltages in precise 20mV increments.
GIGABYTE Smart 6 offers a combination of 6 new software utilities that provide superior PC system management. Smart 6 allows you to speed up system performance, reduce boot-up time, manage a secure platform and recover previous system settings easily with a click of the mouse button.
AutoGreen technology can automatically save power when you are away from your computer by putting the system into a low power state when it doesn't sense your bluetooth-enabled cell phone in the vicinity.
As you can see, Gigabyte have integrated some interesting new features on this motherboard. The 24-phase power design is very impressive, and should definitely come in handy with the upcoming six-core Westmere 32nm processors. The new software suite has some worthwhile new capabilities that will definitely appeal to those who want total control over every aspect of their system. The potential to have a mobile phone interact and manage the system is definitely an industry first and it's some very promising technology. Now we have to find out whether all these features work as they should, and whether they actually improve the general computing experience.