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| Author: MAC |
Date: June 14, 2011
Product Name: GIGABYTE X58A-OC
Part Number: GA-X58A-OC
Warranty: 3 Years
Purchase at NCIX: | UK
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 that was first introduced with P45 Express chipset, 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. The X58A-OC that we are reviewing today supports up to 4-way CrossFireX and 3-way SLI. For those who are curious, 4-way SLI would have required an NVIDIA NF200 PCI-E bridge chip, which would have added cost, heat, and latency to this model, so we can do without it.
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-OC for up to DDR3-2200.
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: