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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

Gigabyte X58A Features

Based on the Intel X58 chipset, the GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD7 delivers all the killer next generation features that gaming enthusiasts and power users have been waiting for including GIGABYTE's 333 Onboard Acceleration features with support for USB 3.0, Serial-ATA Revision 3.0 (6Gbps) and a 3x USB Power Boost, as well as multi-GPU support for NVIDIA 3-Way SLITM and ATI CrossFireXTM and support for Intel's upcoming 32nm high performance processors offering a high level of future CPU headroom for users wanting to maintain cutting-edge levels of performance. With the memory controller integrated directly into the processor die, the GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD7 also supports triple channel DDR3 memory for blazing fast memory performance.

The GA-X58A-UD7 was designed specifically to take advantage of the raw power of the next generation Intel CoreTM i7 processors and the Intel X58 Express chipset, whose new evolution in computing architecture is able to deliver an amazing performance break through from past processor generations. Replacing the Front Side Bus is the new Quick Path Interconnect, or QPI, whose 25.6 GB/sec transfer rates (double the bandwidth of the 1600MHz FSB) eliminates the communication bottleneck between the processor and chipset.

USB 3.0 Support
The GIGABYTE X58A series motherboards support the latest generation SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology made possible through an onboard NEC uPD720200 host controller. With superfast transfer rates of up to 5 Gbps, users are able to experience an almost a 10x improvement over USB 2.0. Additionally, backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 assures users of long term use of their legacy USB 2.0 devices. The onboard NEC SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology also provides new power management features that include increased maximum bus power and device current draw to better accommodate power-hungry devices.

SATA 6 Gbps Support
Yet another onboard feature of GIGABYTE X58A motherboards are Marvell's new SE9128 chips for high-speed SATA Revision 3.0 compatibility, delivering superfast 6Gbps link speeds for twice the data transfer rates of SATA Revision 2.0 (3 Gbps). When used in RAID 0 (Stripe) mode, GIGABYTE X58A series motherboards offer even faster data transfer rates of up to 4x the speed of current SATA interfaces.

3x USB Power Boost
GIGABYTE X58A series motherboards feature a 3x USB power boost, delivering greater compatibility and extra power for USB devices. GIGABYTE's unique USB power design is also able to efficiently regulate output over the full voltage range, which greatly enhances USB device compatibility. In addition, dedicated lower resistance fuses ensure lower voltage drops, and provide more stable and plentiful power delivery.

Industry's First 24 Phase Power VRM Design
GIGABYTE's cutting edge 24 phase power VRM design utilizes the highest caliber components to provide unadulterated, smooth power delivery for the CPU. Like a high performance sports car engine, GIGABYTE's 24 phase power design enables the best delivery of power to supercharge your system, giving extreme users unparalleled overclocking ability and the lowest temperatures to reach maximum performance levels.
The innovative 24 phase power VRM has been designed and engineered to deliver fast transient response times through quick and seamless power delivery during extensive CPU loading variations. In addition, heat from the VRM is effectively reduced by spreading the load between the 24 power phases, resulting in a cooler and more stable platform.

Qualified for Windows 7
The motherboard qualified for WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) certification of Windows 7 from Microsoft, setting the standard for future Windows 7 certified motherboards... more

Dynamic Energy Saver 2
GIGABYTE Dynamic Energy Saver 2 incorporates a host of intelligent features that use a proprietary hardware and software design to considerably enhance PC system energy efficiency, Reduce power consumption and deliver optimized auto-phase-switching for the CPU, Memory, Chipset, VGA, HDD, and fans with a simple click of button.

Smart 6- A Smarter way for PC system Management
GIGABYTE Smart 6 is designed with user-friendliness in mind, and offers a combination of 6 innovative software utilities that provide easier and smarter PC system management. Smart 6TM allows you to speed up system performance, reduce boot-up time, manage a secure platform and recover previous system settings easily with a click of the mouse button.

Smart QuickBoot: No more waiting for PC Boot up
Smart DualBIOS: Smart personal reminder
Smart QuickBoost: One-click Overclocking
Smart Recorder: Your PC's Watch Dog
Smart Recovery: Reverse time for you
Smart TimeLock: Time Controller for PC

AutoGreen- Greening your PC via Bluetooth cellphone
AutoGreen technology can automatically save power for you simply by your bluetooth cell phone when you are away from your computer.
Note: GIGABYTE motherboards do not include a Bluetooth receiver; the addition of a 3rd party Bluetooth receiver is required.

XHD (eXtreme HardDrive)-Accelerating hard drive performance with ease
Accelerating system performance is made easy with the user friendly GIGABYTE eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D). GIGABYTE eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D) provides a quick and easy way to boost your hard drive performance simply by adding another hard drive.

Integrated Memory Controller: Intel Core i7 Processors feature triple channel DDR3 support
Intel Core-i7 processors feature the memory controller integrated directly into the processor die, rather than as part of the Northbridge as in previous generations, allowing for faster memory performance. Core i7 processors also provide additional memory support including. QuickPath_Interconnect.jpg

QPI , QuickPath Interconnect: Replacing the role of FSB
Intel uses the QPI to connect internal components of Core i7 processors , and to connect the CPU itself to the Northbridge and banks of memory. QPI delivers up to 25.6GB/sec of bandwidth between Core i7 processors and the rest of the system,providing exactly double the bandwidth of 1600 Hz FSB

Intel Turbo Boost Technology
Dynamically reroutes power to improve performance For situations when all cores are not needed for a particular workload, Intel Turbo Boost Technology powers down the idle cores and dynamically reroutes the power to the active cores, boosting their performance without wasting power. This allows the active cores to achieve significant overclocks.

Multi-display support with 3 way CrossFireX and 3 way SLI
Flexible graphics capabilities - Up to 3 VGA cards are supported for either 3 way CrossFireX or 3 way SLI action, delivering the ultimate in graphics performance for gaming enthusiasts who demand the highest frame rates without compromising on resolution.

Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2Gigabyte_Hybrid_Silent-Pipe_2_Badge.jpg
GA-X58A-UD7 motherboard now features the revolutionary new GIGABYTE Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2, a fusion thermal solution that combines GIGABYTE's proprietary screen cooling technology, external heat sink and liquid cooling with chipset water block to deliver maximum thermal performance.

Unique Screen Cooling thermal design effectively reduces the temperature around the CPU zone, and removes the heat between NB and SB area.
Liquid Cooling system featuring special waterblock design with an enlarged dissipating surface area for enhanced heat dissipation and optimum flow-rate.
High-Precision die forming technology utilized to increase the thermal conductivity of the material that makes up the heat sink.
High performance Copper Heat Pipe with sintered process designed for ultra efficient thermal conductivity.
External Heat Sink design utilizing a convection slot at the back of the chassis to increase thermal dissipation.

Ultra Durable 3
GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 3 design, featuring 2 ounces of copper for both the Power and Ground layers which dramatically lowers system temperature by delivering a more efficient spreading of heat from critical areas of the motherboard such as the CPU power zone throughout the entire PCB. GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable 3 also lowers the PCB impedance by 50%, which helps to reduce electrical waste and further lowers component temperatures. A 2oz Copper layer design also provides improved signal quality and lower EMI (Electromagnetic Interference), providing better system stability and allowing for greater margins for overclocking... more

Benefits of 2 oz Copper PCB Gigabyte_Ultra-Durable-3_Badge.jpg

  • Cooler than traditional motherboards
  • Enhanced durability
  • Improved energy efficiency
  • Greater margins for overclocking... more
2X Lower Impedance
In addition, doubling the amount of copper lowers the PCB impedance by 50%. Impedance is a measure of how much the circuit impedes the flow of current. The less the flow of current is impeded, the less amount of energy is wasted. For GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 3 motherboards, this means total PCB electrical waste is reduced by 50%, which also means less heat is generated. 2 ounces of copper also provides improved signal quality, providing better system stability and allowing for greater margins for overclocking.

50,000 Hours Japanese Solid Capacitors
GIGABYTE Ultra Durable motherboards are equipped with solid capacitors developed by leading Japanese manufacturers. With an average lifespan of 50,000 hours, these solid capacitors provide the stability, reliability and longevity essential to meet the power needs of high-end processors and other components running today's most demanding applications and games.

Quick and Effortless Overclocking with One Click
GIGABYTE Quick Boost provides 3 levels of CPU performance enhancement; a simple click on the desired level delivers quick and effortless overclocking for novice and experienced users alike.

EasyTune6
GIGABYTE has completely redesigned EasyTune6 from the ground up to make it easier than ever to manage and monitor your hardware resources as well as tweak your system settings in order to achieve maximum system performance. Whether you are an overclocking enthusiast, or a computer novice, EasyTune6 provides the tools you need to quickly and effortlessly fine tune your system.

DualBIOS - Patented Dual Hardware BIOS Protection
DualBIOSTM is a GIGABYTE patented technology that automatically recovers BIOS data when main BIOS has crashed or failed. Featuring 2 physical BIOS ROMs integrated onboard, GIGABYTE DualBIOS allows quick and seamless recovery from BIOS damage or failure due to viruses or improper BIOS updating.

2 Gigabit LAN
High Velocity 2X Bandwidth Boost Intel_TurboBoost.jpg

Hardware OverVoltage Control IC - Enabling Extreme Overclocking
GIGABYTE Hardware Overvoltage Control ICs featuring more voltage control options than before for the CPU North Bridge and memory. The overvoltage controllers also provide hardware linear real-time voltage control, which means there is no delay compared to the GPIO controller in past implementations. In addition, GIGABYTE's Hardware Overvoltage Controller ICs also allow for much finer voltage control, allowing power users to adjust voltage in as little increments as 20mV for better overclocking performance.

Visible Overvoltage Reminder
Debug LED Embedded post code LED display simplifies motherboard signals and indicates system status

OV-Alert LED
4 sets of OV-Alert LEDs indicate the overvoltage level of the CPU, Memory, North Bridge and South Bridge to prevent component damage.

Visible Overclocking Reminder
OC-Alert LED indicates the level of CPU overclock from low to high.

Visible Temperature Reminder
Two sets of Temperature Alert LEDs indicate the current temperature level of the CPU and North Bridge

Onboard Quick Switches
Onboard Power, Clear CMOS and Reset buttons allow for quick and easy tweaking for power users working in an in chassis environment.

Dolby Home Theater - Enjoy a Rich Home Theater Surround Sound Experience
Dolby Home Theater places listeners in the middle of the action, giving their PCs a powerful set of tools to deliver a cinema-style experience in vivid surround sound.

Delivers vivid surround sound for music, movies, and games, using two to eight speakers or any set of headphones
Designed to automatically deliver the best possible listening experience



 

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 ?
Report Comment
 
 
# 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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