Archive Home arrow Reviews: arrow Motherboards arrow Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 Motherboard E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
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

BIOS and Overclocking

Let's face it: Intel X58-Express is the platform of choice for enthusiast hardware overclockers and extreme-performance gamers. This is why Intel only offers the Core i7-965EE and Core i7-975 Extreme Edition LGA1366 processors and triple-channel DDR3 memory exclusively on X58-Express motherboards. With a solid foundation provided by Intel, manufacturers such as Gigabyte are responsible for feature-added services and BIOS optimizations.

Every user has their personal preferences, and mine have always favored Award BIOS software, such as the revision F6 firmware that came on the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7. For clarification, Award Software merged with Phoenix Technologies Ltd. back in 2008, and now exists as the Award Software brand under the Phoenix name. The combination of two BIOS-focused companies has led to several key advantages over their competition, namely American Magatrends, Inc (AMI), which designs less-ergonomic BIOS software. After all, hardware is only as functional as the software that controls it and the BIOS firmware can make a major difference in overclocking experiments.

First and foremost, every chip is different. Despite close production tolerances and identical architecture, not all same-model computer hardware will perform the same. For example, the Intel Core i7-920 processor used for testing on this Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 motherboard may overclock better on another GA-X58A-UD7. Likewise, a different Core i7-920 CPU might overclock better than the processor we've used. Furthermore, firmware revisions will generally alter all these results even when retested using the same product sample. To avoid an unfair evaluation of overclocking performance, we will instead concentrate on the overclocking features available within the BIOS.

Gigabyte_GA-EX58A-UD7P_MB-Intelligent-Tweaker.gif

Beginning with the MB Intelligent Tweaker menu, both easy to understand basic settings and more advanced options are readily available. Serving both novice and experienced overclockers is a must for manufacturers of desktop hardware to survive into the age of portable computing. Gigabyte does an excellent job of keeping the options easily discovered, and adding detailed information when an item is highlighted (using the arrow keys).

As most overclockers know, the key to success is finding the right combination of component voltage and hardware settings to run stable at their higher speeds. Gigabyte goes into deep detail for the advanced hardware overclocker who enjoy the myriad of optional configuration settings available to them, while at the same time the X58A-UD7 delivers enough basic menu options to beginners for decent OC results without all of the tedious trail-and-error. Gigabyte also provides their own C.I.A.2 (CPU Intelligent Accelerator 2) feature on the X58A-UD7 which is designed to automatically adjust CPU computing power to maximize system performance. C.I.A.2 allows your system bus to be changed dynamically based on CPU loading through the use of 5 preset states:

  • Disabled Disables the use of C.I.A.2. (Default)
  • Cruise Increases CPU frequency by 5% or 7% depending on CPU loading.
  • Sports Increases CPU frequency by 7% or 9% depending on CPU loading.
  • Racing Increases CPU frequency by 9% or 11% depending on CPU loading.
  • Turbo Increases CPU frequency by 15% or 17% depending on CPU loading.
  • Full Thrust Increases CPU frequency by 17% or 19% depending on CPU loading.

Gigabyte_GA-EX58A-UD7P_MB-Advanced-Voltage.gif

Gigabyte CIA2 is fine for novices, but more experienced hardware enthusiasts will leave the feature disabled and work the settings themselves. This is where Gigabyte's OV-Control integrated circuit comes into play. The OV-Control IC allows fine voltage stepping of 6.25 mV (+/- 0.00625 volt increments) for all hardware components.

For memory tweakers, the DRAM Timing Selectable (SPD) option allows Quick or Expert settings which reveal all DRAM timing control items to be configured. Options are: Auto (default), Quick, Expert. Profile DDR Voltage. When using a non-XMP memory module or Extreme Memory Profile (X.M.P.) is set to Disabled, this item will display as 1.5V. When Extreme Memory Profile (X.M.P.) is set to Profile1 or Profile2, this item will display the value based on the SPD data on the XMP memory. XMP options offer the easiest method to achieve an instant memory overclock, but most experienced hardware enthusiasts will choose to define their own settings using the manual Quick or Expert options.

Gigabyte_GA-EX58A-UD7P_Advanced-DRAM.gif

While CPU overclock settings run moderately deep depending on your end-goal, system memory configurations become highly complex with options that travel well-beyond CAS latency, CAS-RAS delay, RAS pre-time, RAS act-time, and RAS delay. In fact, with over 31 different configuration options, it might be easier to keep within the 'Quick' set of variables to avoid spoiling the overclock.

The real challenge begins when you work with component voltages, and this is where Gigabyte's use of the Award BIOS pays dividends. Displayed to the immediate left of all configuration variables is the default value, which can be a voltage rating, memory latency, or clock multiplier. As we've recently discovered in our review of the ASUS P6X58D-Premium, without the default values committed to memory you'll be forced to move between pages and make your overclocking experiment less enjoyable. On the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 all default voltage, timing, and clock settings are displayed beside the new optional configuration.

In summary the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 motherboard offers the best of both worlds: basic entry-level overclocking options for novice hardware enthusiasts, as well as some very complex BIOS options for fine tuning minutia hardware settings. Default hardware variables are located beside their optional setting, giving Gigabyte's Award BIOS design and edge to hardware overclocker.

Current and future GA-X58A-UD7 BIOS firmware updates are available for download directly from the Gigabyte product website.



 

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?
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 MotherboardLeibritz 2010-04-09 10:09
none MB utilizes more than 3GB of memory on 32-bit Windows...
Report Comment
 
 
# 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."
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Answered in the article...Bill 2010-04-16 14:56
Perfect! Thanks for the information :)
Report Comment
 
 
# 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?
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# ThanksDustin 2010-04-21 15:05
Thanks for the fast response. I'm a big fan f your work :)
Report Comment
 
 
# 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?
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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..
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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 ?
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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)
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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
Report Comment
 
 
# 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
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 Motherboardleo 2010-07-21 21:05
entonces esta es para overlockers.igual gracias porque me escribis en español.
Report Comment
 
 
# MrSheps 2010-08-01 01:01
Is trim supported by the GA-X58A-UD7 in raid0 with 2 OCZ vertex2e ssd drives.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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
Report Comment
 

Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews
QNAP Network Storage Servers

Follow Benchmark Reviews on FacebookReceive Tweets from Benchmark Reviews on Twitter