Gigabyte X58A-UD9 and GTX480 Quad Sli Review

Conclusion

Gigabyte X58A-UD9 Review

Conclusion

Phew. What a rollercoaster ride that was.

There is a little bit to get through here, but there is one thing we have to deal with before we move on, because it colours everything else. The price.

It's available around £450 online. Just stop for a moment and take that in. You can buy a Gigabyte UD7 and a Intel i7 930 for the same money as just this board. So if you're here to see if this is good value, then no it isn't.

But value isn't everything, otherwise we'd all be driving 1 litre diesels and eating cheap beans on cheap bread. Just like a tent from Millets will keep you dry, not everyone wants the basics. Sometimes you want the best. The absolute, no compromise, does it all, best.

Certainly Gigabyte delivers on nearly everything we could desire. Performance is absolutely not an issue. Despite a couple of strange results in our first tests, it consistently beat out the Asus Rampage 3 Extreme using identical hardware. We also saw the highest overclock we've managed to obtain out of our engineering sample 980x. 4.6 GHz using only 1.4v is mightily impressive in anyones books.

The ability of the board to run four cards to their capacity is something barely a handful of boards offer. Those that do certainly don't come with the after-sales comfort that a board from Gigabyte gives us. As our testing showed Quad-SLI isn't really for anyone but the extremely wealthy, but 16x/16x/16x Tri-SLI has absolute performance benefits and would be the kind of system that we all dream of. Certainly having tasted that power we were saddened when Zotac took their cards back.

Connectivity is capably handled by the UD9 too. 10 SATA ports, of which 4 are the SATA 6Gbps variety. Multiple USB2.0 and USB3.0 ports. Hell it even has a Floppy and IDE connector should you bizarrely have some old bit of hardware you want to plug into your motherboard that cost the same as a cheap second hand car.

The accessories packaged with the board are comprehensive to say the least We can't think of anything it doesn't come with that we'd need. The inclusion of three extra stand-offs for those whose cases don't come with eATX support is one of those touches that really shows attention to detail.

In fact what we dislike about the board is brief indeed.

The box is far too gaudy for something in this price bracket. It's priced at the very tip of the enthusiast level and do they, heck do we, need to be told endlessly about the "Unlimited Power" and "333 Support". Yes once is fine, put it on the back by all means.

When all four slots are populated it is much harder to obtain a decent overclock out of the board. Considering that if you've got the wedge to lay down on four graphics cards you're more than likely to want to overclock your CPU too. This is a small thing though because you're also likely to have an Extreme Edition processor and therefore can massage the multiplier, as we did.

The cooling isn't brilliant and you definitely need to have a think about how to keep that northbridge cool if you're on air. If you're on water then your problems are greatly lessened.

Finally there is that price. Even with every single feature you could desire it's still arse-clenchingly expensive. The fact that there are already 40 or 50 quid variances in online price show how much mark up it's getting, which does make the retail price even harder to swallow.

So in short, if you can stomach the initial outlay, the Gigabyte X58A-UD9 is the absolute performance king and because of its huge connectivity will last until you move along to the i8 or whatever comes next. It's an easy winner of our Performance Award.

Videos

  

Many thanks to Gigabyte for letting us have a play with the UD9, and to Zotac for the GTX480s. Discuss in our forums.

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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

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