Gigabyte X58A-UD9 and GTX480 Quad Sli Review

Introduction and Technical Specs

Gigabyte X58A-UD9 Review

Introduction

Enthusiast is an odd term. Most of us would class ourselves as enthusiasts. After all who would bother to build their own PC and read through reams of GFLOPS data without actually caring? Certainly not the casual Facebook user of the PC world.

However when it comes to PC hardware, enthusiast often refers to an elitist, high-end, ultra expensive product that only the dedicated can get the maximum from. As time has moved on and even the extreme hardware has become much more stable and easy to tune it tends to just refer to a product that is the flagship of a particular brand.

Enter the Gigabyte X58A-UD9. For a while now Gigabyte have differentiated their models by adjusting the UD number (UD standing for Ultra Durable). So a UD3 is the value board, UD5 the one most of us will purchase, UD7 used to hold the Gigabyte flagship crown, and now we have the UD9.

So what does this board do that the UD7 didn't, and is it worth your money?

Let's start off as always with the technical specifications, courtesy of the Gigabyte website.

Technical Specifications

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 Realtek RTL8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
  2. Support for Teaming
  3. Support Smart Dual LAN
Expansion Slots
  1. 4 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1/PCIEX16_2/PCIEX16_3/PCIEX16_4) (Note 2)
  2. 3 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1/PCIEX8_2/PCIEX8_3) (Note 3) (All PCI Express slots conform to the PCI Express 2.0)
Multi-Graphics Technology
  1. Support for 2-Way/3-Way/4-Way ATI CrossFireX™/NVIDIA SLI technology
Storage InterfaceSouth 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
USBIntegrated in the South Bridge:
  1. Up to 12 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. 2 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 2 x 4-pin PCIe 12V power connectors
  4. 1 x floppy disk drive connector
  5. 1 x IDE connector
  6. 8 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
  7. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  8. 1 x CPU fan header
  9. 3 x system fan headers
  10. 1 x power fan header
  11. 1 x North Bridge fan header
  12. 1 x front panel header
  13. 1 x front panel audio header
  14. 1 x CD In connector
  15. 1 x S/PDIF In header
  16. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  17. 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  18. 1 x IEEE 1394a header
  19. 1 x power button
  20. 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 (X.H.D)
  12. Support for ON/OFF Charge
  13. Support for Q-Share

 

As you can see it's a hugely comprehensive list, as befits a motherboard in this price-range. Time for a look.

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Most Recent Comments

30-07-2010, 05:09:23

tinytomlogan
Fancy a motherboard that has absolutely everything you could need? Gigabyte have the answer.

Continue Reading

30-07-2010, 06:40:36

Runebeard
Best review ever! Really appreciate the effort you and the guys must have gone to for this! Clearly proves that 3-way is good if a little expensive, but 4-way is just stupid for anything except PC Mark really. What a well made board though! Even if that stupid chipset heatsink is a massive gimmick , it's nothing short of awesome! Well done OC3D!

P.S. Love the new watermark btw.

30-07-2010, 07:35:35

silenthill
Fantastic, amazing, fabulous, unbelievable, jaw dropping, there is not enough words in the dictionary that would describe this review and videos I enjoyed every minute of it and to be honest I read it twice actually it was better than watching AVATAR in 3d in the cinema, Im a very critical person by nature but OC3D you deserve a 5 star for this one as for the videos I watched them in 1080p on my 40 Samsung to enjoy every single detail there is and it is truly amazing stuff guys and the watermark oh... just lovely truly professional , If it was up to me I'll put this review on the BBC it would definitely be better than watching click, to be honest there is nothing ells I can say to show my appreciation to you guys for giving me a two hour journey of pure enjoyment. I truly love you guys.

Regards to everyone in OC3D even the cleaners if you have any.

30-07-2010, 10:53:21

killablade
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='silenthill'
Fantastic, amazing, fabulous, unbelievable, jaw dropping, I enjoyed every minute of it, you deserve a 5 star for this one, just lovely truly professional, pure enjoyment, I truly love you guys,
You're like Steve Jobs at keynotes xD

Nice review though.

30-07-2010, 11:28:32

silenthill
Well your signature looks like readings from a cheap hand blood pressure machine

:haha: :haha: :haha:

30-07-2010, 13:38:57

killablade
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='silenthill'
Well your signature looks like readings from a cheap hand blood pressure machine

:haha: :haha: :haha:
Hahahaha xD

31-07-2010, 03:38:21

BadApathy
Good review sir, the shortcomings of quad sli were eye opening.

31-07-2010, 07:33:26

w3bbo
Fantastic looking board. I don't think there will be too many wanting to shill out 450 for this though with the new round of CPUs on the horizon.

4xsli is a joke. How gutted would you be if you bought the board for that reason only to get the results you have shown.

31-07-2010, 08:49:33

silenthill
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='w3bbo'
Fantastic looking board. I don't think there will be too many wanting to shill out 450 for this though with the new round of CPUs on the horizon.

4xsli is a joke. How gutted would you be if you bought the board for that reason only to get the results you have shown.
Mate with crazy overclockers who just want a few extra frames and seek to have the highest benchmark scores on the planet the term (money is no object) comes in to mind this is what this board is designed for not for a normal enthusiast which takes price in to consideration believe me if there was 5 way sli these people will go for it its the same thing as the car racing culture they just add on more gear to their cars to make them a bit faster and the cost is tremendous and you need to bear in mind that this mad drive to be faster and faster is what makes the computer industry evolve continuously and it has become the fastest growing market in the world.

:topic:

29-08-2010, 11:11:41

Ari-M.
Quote:
Originally Posted by w3bbo View Post

Fantastic looking board. I don't think there will be too many wanting to shill out 450 for this though with the new round of CPUs on the horizon.

4xsli is a joke. How gutted would you be if you bought the board for that reason only to get the results you have shown.
Count me in the lot that has more money than sense. Well significantly less money now that the ud9 lives in my case.

I am not rich, by any means. Let me point one thing out though. I do multimedia production work, and use some proprietary PCIe cards in that work. The cards MUST follow consecutive slot orders. So that made the ud9 one of only 3 options for my needs. The EVGA lacked the sata3 and a few features. The ASUS SC has been plagued with problems. So that only left the ud9. Well to be fair there was a small assortment of high end server boards also, but none exactly fit the bill.

ALSO, Gigabyte does make the promise that they will "custom engineer" BIOS features for ud9 users. This is critical for my needs. As my software/hardware matures, I am constantly running into dma/irq issues with mobo's/os's. If Gigabyte makes good on their promise and expedites BIOS implementations even ONE day ahead of the competition. The board has payed for itself.

Not to brag or tout my other hardware, but the proprietary PCI cards I use run about $15k for 3, so the premium for the ud9 was really not that big of a deal (in the bigger picture).

Now for the icing on the cake. I was previously running these cards in a MAC

Apple was forcing me to buy a new $7k computer every 2 years or so, just to keep up. So now that I moved over to a Win platform, the performance is through the roof....and I have under $4k into a system that utterly DEMOLISHES the MacPro in BOTH cost and performance.

I think the ud9 is actually a bargain, considering what it does. If there was ONE single competing product on the market...I would call it as you have.....but there is not.

I don't regret my purchase one bit. I am not just talking artificial benches....I am talking REAL WORLD performance. 24/7

ud9 is truly the current king

Reply
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