Gigabyte X58A-OC Sub Zero Review
Wow. There really isn't much else to say that isn't blatantly obvious. In fact we debated whether to just make the conclusion simply "6GHz, Gold" and be done with it.
Where do we start with the Gigabyte X58A-OC?
Looks are certainly a good point. The board is absolutely tent-inducing. Black and orange always work well together and they've never looked better than they do here. It's the little touches across the whole board that really bring home the attention to detail with which this has been crafted.The fan headers are black. Power inputs are black. Even the SATA-III ports are grey rather than the more standard blazing hues. Everything is exactly how you'd want it to be. Utterly without compromise.
The design doesn't just stop at the looks like so many have though. Fan headers are spread around the board ensuring you're never too far away from having somewhere to plug one in. The CMOS battery has been relocated from its usual "anywhere will do" place to right in the bottom corner ensuring that if you've smothered the board with putty for a full-on attempt at the world 3D Mark record and everything goes wrong, you can still get at the battery to enable things to reboot.
Things would have to go very wrong though, the X58A-OC is so user-friendly as to be quite surprising. There was a time, not that long ago, when 'overclocking' motherboards were very unstable and required near endless tweaking to get remote stability from them. Even then you were never quite sure if that tiny tweak was assisting things or making it worse, or even more likely not actually doing much at all. The X58A-OC is as easy to live with as a subservient mute, and makes the whole overclocking process as simple as you're likely to find on a LGA1366 board. There is plenty of room to tinker and tweak should the mood take you, but equally if you just fancy throwing an overclock at it then it can deal with that handily.
This is the point in the conclusion where we normally point out that you get what you pay for, and as you're getting so very much you might need to sit down for the price. Well you still might need to sit down for the price, but that's because it's only around £250. Yes you really can get the zenith of X58 motherboards for an exceptionally reasonable amount of cash.
Not only are you getting the very best X58 board around, but you're also getting one that is unlikely to be confused with any of its contemporaries. Very important for that "wow I see you've got a ... " factor in your windowed rig should that be how you decide to use it although I think the majority of these will live on a test bench.
Demonstrating, should the pudding require further egg, that this board really does make the whole overclocking thing a breeze, our first attempt at sub-zero cooling saw 6GHz. That's not a month spent deeply contemplating where to squeeze and extra ounce. That's out the box, CPU, putty, DICE, tweak, 6GHz. Barely an afternoons work.
This thing is absolutely stunning. A good price. Drop-dead gorgeous looks. Brilliant performance. Of course it wins the OC3D Gold Award and, for the simplicity and brutality of its results, the OC3D Performance Award too.