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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 Motherboard
Intel Core i7: Platform
Intel X58-Express Platform
Gigabyte X58A Features
GA-X58A-UD7 Specifications
eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D)
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Components
BIOS and Overclocking
Motherboard Testing Methodology
EVEREST CPU Benchmarks
Maxon CINEBENCH Results
PCMark Vantage Test Results
HD-Tune Pro Benchmarks
Far Cry 2 Benchmark
Power Consumption Results
Tylersburg Refresh Final Thoughts
Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 Conclusion

Tylersburg Refresh Final Thoughts

Back when Benchmark Reviews launched the Intel Core i7 CPU & X58-Express platform in November 2008, having a team of two or more graphics cards seemed plausible for a few elite gamers. Extremely low retail prices on DDR3 system memory helped ease the new standard into mainstream acceptance when it would return in the P55-Express platform. However, it's because of Intel's X-before-P launch schedule that new technologies such as SuperSpeed USB-3.0 and third-generation SATA 6Gb/s were delivered on the mainstream P55 and overlooked the aging X58-Express "Tylersburg" enthusiast chipset. Without fail, the manufacturers have created their very own Tylersburg-refresh options ahead of the Intel X68-Express platform.

If X58 is good for anything, it's the 32-link lanes it provides PCI-Express 2.0 graphics. For single-unit video cards this is a non-issue, since sixteen lanes are more than enough and both the P55 or X58-Express platforms offer this. It's the multi-card setups that will see the most benefit from X58, primarily Triple-SLI and CrossFireX 'Tri-Fire' sets with three video cards. Additionally, the new NEC SuperSpeed USB3 and Marvell SATA6G controllers won't cause any performance penalty for borrowing much-needed PCI-Express link lanes on the X58 platform like they would on P55. But even still, X58-Express cannot offer what P55 has introduced: optimal memory management. Benchmark Reviews has further documented the differences in our P55 vs X58 article.

Gigabyte_GA-EX58A-UD7P_Motherboard_Top.jpg

With DRAM being sold at the lowest prices we've seen in many years, the introduction of a motherboard willing to harness large amounts of DDR3 may be a blessing in disguise. Even though enthusiasts have yet to fall in love with 64-bit versions of the Windows Operating System, there has been renewed interest since the launch of Windows 7. Supporting up to 24GB or system memory on a desktop motherboard is unheard of, and it's all thanks to triple-channel support on X58. The downside, however, is that transaction times are far worse than if the memory controller was integrated into the processor such as on Intel's 'Lynnfield' Core-i5/i7 LGA1156 processors.

As the Intel P55 chipset has now demonstrated, the future is in PCH-based designs, and 32- (or 22nm) technology has paved the way for Moore's law to continue as predicted. A true Tylersburg refresh (X68) may deliver all of the hardware features we desire for modern computing, but this isn't Field of Dreams, and if you build it they won't come. Computer hardware needs more than speed and power; it needs purpose.

New and upcoming DirectX-11 software notwithstanding, video games have generally required the same graphical power as they needed over the past few years. Newer server and virtualization technology continues to refine efficiency and uses fewer CPU cycles. So essentially software is barely moving forward while hardware is making leaps and bounds. Which raises the question: to what end?

Software just hasn't been keeping up its end of the deal, and most people still use 32-bit technology (introduced back in Windows 95). it's sad but true. Games like Crysis helped give reason for advancing graphics technology, just like virtualization technology and Terminal Services helped push processor power. But the apex of software demands hasn't really changed in several years, and having massive amounts of system memory are only helpful if there's an application that requires it.

I used to overclock my Pentium 4 (and later Pentium D and Core 2) processor to get a few extra frames out of Battlefield 2 and earn more work units per day with Folding@Home. But now I have a graphics card that performs 600x better at folding proteins than my CPU ever did, and I have a Core-i7 processor that can encode my self-authored DVD's in a fraction of the time it used to take. We haven't hit the wall, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting very close.

If software doesn't come around soon, perhaps in the shape of widespread adoption towards 64-bit computing using Microsoft Windows 7, we'll soon share the same dilemma facing the automobile industry: high-horsepower engines with break-neck torque driving down roads with a 65-MPH speed limit. I personally feel that this has been the case ever since Intel launched the Core 2 processor, which is why we're now sharing the other auto-industry dilemma: power efficiency.



 

Comments 

 
# Smart TPM initialization problemJohn Berthoty 2010-03-18 14:34
Tried to initialize, got an error: InvalidArgument=Value of '-1' is not valid for 'index'. Parameter name: index

Any clues anyone?
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# RE: Smart TPM initialization problemOlin Coles 2010-03-18 14:41
You should take this question to our forum, where there are more people avialable to respond. You should also include more information, such as your O/S, software version, and steps taken.
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# RE: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 MotherboardLeibritz 2010-04-09 10:09
none MB utilizes more than 3GB of memory on 32-bit Windows...
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# SATA-II and SATA-III Raid 0 SupportBill 2010-04-16 14:47
(1) Are there two SATA controllers on the motherboard, one for SATA-II and one for SATA-III ?

(2) Either way, will the respective SATA controller support Raid 0 for two SATA-II SSD storage devices ?
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# Answered in the article...Olin Coles 2010-04-16 14:51
"There are two eSATA ports available with a 4-pin Molex power connector between them for a total of two eSATA ports. In regards to standard integrated SATA ports, the X58A-UD7 motherboard offers six Intel ICH10R (colored blue) Southbridge ports capable of RAID-0, 1, 5, and 10. Along side these ports are four SATA-6.0 connections supplied by the Marvell 88SE9128 controller (colored white) which support RAID-0, 1, and JBOD."
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# RE: Answered in the article...Bill 2010-04-16 14:56
Perfect! Thanks for the information :)
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# ProlimaTech MegahalemsDustin 2010-04-21 14:38
Did the ProlimaTech Megahalems fit with the included mobo cooler which takes up a pci express 1.0 slot?
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# No problemsOlin Coles 2010-04-21 14:59
The Hybrid SilentPipe is positioned below the Northbridge, if you choose to use it. This add-on is nowhere near the CPU, and doesn't get in the way of any heatsinks I've tested.
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# ThanksDustin 2010-04-21 15:05
Thanks for the fast response. I'm a big fan f your work :)
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# SATA 6.0Gb HDDTinus Pruis 2010-05-14 13:34
Hi, on the GA-X58A-UD7 with the I7-Core.. which SATA port do I connect my 2TB Barracuda HDD (7200) with Windows 7? On SATA 0 or SATA 6 where the 6.0Gb connection I think should be connected?
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# RE: SATA 6.0Gb HDDOlin Coles 2010-05-14 13:40
Hello Tinus: Although the Barracuda XT's are SATA-6G compatible, you won't see a difference. The X58A-UD7 motherboard offers six Intel ICH10R (colored blue) Southbridge ports capable of RAID-0, 1, 5, and 10. Along side these ports are four SATA-6.0 connections supplied by the Marvell 88SE9128 controller (colored white) which support RAID-0, 1, and JBOD.
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# RE: SATA 6.0Gb HDDTinus Pruis 2010-05-14 14:14
Hi Olin, thank you for your quick response.. hmm ~ sorry but you are going way over my head..
iaw. I can connect my hdd on SATA 0 and the DVD-rom on SATA 1? Won't make a difference, cause I also don't run any RAID configuration..
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# RE: RE: SATA 6.0Gb HDDOlin Coles 2010-05-14 14:16
Conntect them to any of the ports, and you'll be fine. Ideally the hard drive should be on one of the white ports, and everything else on blue.
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# TempSobo 2010-06-01 14:48
Hi everyone !
My i7-930 cpu is at 60*C temperature in idle with no OC and box cooler, what can i do ?
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# Best CPU Cooler PerformanceOlin Coles 2010-06-01 15:44
@ Sobo: You need to read our "Best CPU Cooler Performance" articles located in the Cooling section from the main menu of this website.
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# crossfiremartin 2010-06-19 05:29
is there is a problem to make crossfire with this motherboard + HDD with sata 3 - because i read 1 of pci x16 slots start working at x8 when sata 3 and another story with fps drop at half when this sata 3 is working with 1 vga at this slot(x16 who drops at x8)
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# RE: crossfireOlin Coles 2010-06-19 08:11
Martin: your question has already been answered in this review, as well as in the user comments.
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# RE: RE: crossfiremartin 2010-06-20 09:32
well first -thank you for the answer
second - i didnt made my question exactly correct - yes i can read there its possible and 'no problem ' but i cant find any real time test with high end crossfire/sli configurations + sata 3 HDD ,thats why i asked
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# RE: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 Motherboardleo 2010-07-21 20:54
hay alguna que sea parecida a esa y que este un poco mas barata para un i7 920
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# RE: RE: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 MotherboardOlin Coles 2010-07-21 20:59
Este es un producto para overclockers serios, pero hay modelos mucho más asequible.
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# RE: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 Motherboardleo 2010-07-21 21:05
entonces esta es para overlockers.igual gracias porque me escribis en español.
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# MrSheps 2010-08-01 01:01
Is trim supported by the GA-X58A-UD7 in raid0 with 2 OCZ vertex2e ssd drives.
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# Not In RAIDBruceBruce 2010-08-01 05:58
TRIM is currently not supported by any SSDs in any RAID configuration. It is not strictly a function of the Motherboard, more like an alliance between the Southbridge, device drivers, the OS, and the firmware on the SSD.
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# RE: MrOlin Coles 2010-08-01 07:06
It doesn't matter what motherboard you use, TRIM is an O/S and SSD function. On the Intel ICH10 controller, it's my understanding that TRIM only works with the Intel Rapid Storage Driver when used in a RAID array.

I have to tell you though, SSDs aren't HDDs. You don't need RAID-0, and you'll notice no real-world difference like you would with a HDD.
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# OlinJJ 2010-09-30 17:33
While TRIM is a function of the OS, the SSD must support the functionality. TRIM cannot be passed to drives in a RAID array. TRIM also does not require the Intel Rapid Storage Driver.

AHCI performance is, however, affected by the IRSD. You will get a noticable increase in performance with AHCI on AND using the updated IRSD. There is currently no way to make TRIM work with RAIDed drive members.
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# RE: OlinOlin Coles 2010-09-30 18:03
Sorry to correct you, but TRIM actually is possible on SSDs in a RAID array. They have to be on an Intel ICH controller, and you have to use the Intel Rapid Storage Driver.
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# AlsoJJ 2010-09-30 17:38
Though SSDs are not HDs, there in fact IS a huge difference in performance with RAIDed SSDs. The real issue is, unless you are using a dedicated PCIe RAID card (not the onboard ICHxx RAID solution which uses the SATA bus), your crazy fast SSD RAID will be limited by the 250 MB/sec SATA II bottleneck. Two Crucial Real SSDs would reach more than 500 MB/sec on a PCIe RAID card solution.

Would you really know the difference between 250 and 500 MB/sec when you're opening IE, Word, or any day-to-day application? Probably not. For applications that benefit from multiplication of throughput rates... yes, you would. Again, TRIM would be out the window in that configuration.
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# Motherboard recommendationNag 2010-10-29 20:34
May I trouble you to recommend a Gigabyte X58 motherboard?

Main use: cpu-intensive, computational. memory or HDD i/o is not an issue.

My constraints:
1. cpu = i7 950
2. stable motherboard--no overclocking, no fancy features, must be reliable and durable with most kinks ironed out, good thermal features.
3. 6 memory slots: prefer to start with 12GB (3 x 4GB)--again speed is not a constraint--with a max of 24GB.
4. Summers are hot--45C
5. Prefer one eSATA port and USB 3.0 Do not care about SATA 3. Perhaps you can recommend one MB wihout eSATA, USB 3.0 being a constraint and one MB with eSATA and USB 3.0.

Thanks
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# RE: Motherboard recommendationOlin Coles 2010-10-30 09:11
Hello, thanks for posting but this is really a question for our forum. The quick answer is that X58 is intended for SLI/CrossFire video card sets, and would be 'overkill' for your needs. Because of the processor, I recommend any of the lesser-expensive X58 options. Nearly all will feature eSATA and USB 3.0, and SATA-6G is merely an option. Take a look at NewEgg, and sort by price.
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# Sata 3.0Oni 2011-03-01 15:44
Guys i want to Connect my 250 gb HDD to the 6gb/s how do i do it i know its a stupid question but is it possible to increase the data transfer I have 1 HDD

My PC
Core I7 930 O.C. ar 3.4 ghz
Gigabyte X58 A UD7
Hitachi 250gb HDD
2x 250 GTS SLI
Gigabyte Odin Pro 550 PSU
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# RE: Sata 3.0Olin Coles 2011-03-01 15:46
Don't bother. SATA 6Gb/s connections are only useful for drives designed to reach past 3GB/s, and your hard drive only offers 1GB/s speeds. Only the newest SSDs are able to make use of the extra bandwidth.
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# Dualdavid wisotsky 2011-03-27 09:24
I just came off a dual zeon tiger board thinking I would go faster with this 4 core 3.2
I was very disappointed with this board. Stalls and makes allot of hard drive noise So i shut off paging helped a little
Then i shut off power saving features and it seems to really help
I think the default starves the CPU
If you have good cooling do it
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