Want to know how insane the enthusiast motherboard bracket has become? Gigabyte’s X58A-UD7 seems
next to the other two contenders here. Sure, it has a rakish, liquid-cooling-ready heat pipe to keep the north bridge chilled out, but frankly, without that Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2 in place, the board is damn near boring next to its contemporaries. Where’s the dual 8-pin supplemental CPU power connectors? Or Bluetooth remote-control capability, wired remote overclocking tool, or audio riser card?
Instead, it includes a floppy port and parallel ATA port! We haven’t seen those since way back in aught nine.
Gigabyte was the lone board here to offer legacy floppy and PATA ports.
Fortunately, as Han Solo said, the X58A-UD7 has it where it counts, kid. USB 3.0 is there—thank you, NEC—as is SATA 6 courtesy of a Marvell 9128 controller. Four x16 PCI-E physical slots are featured, allowing up to tri-SLI or three-way CrossFireX. You should note, however, that not all slots will run in full x16 PCI-E 2.0 in a three-way config as the X58 chipset doesn’t have enough PCI-E lanes to support it. We’re also not fans of the PCI-E layout for tri-carders, which is incompatible with most cases.
We certainly can’t quibble with Gigabyte’s SATA configuration—10 front-facing SATA ports along with two rear eSATA ports. There are also no major layout gaffes—though there is a minor one. When the Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2 is in place, you can’t reach the card release for the top GPU with your fingers.
The board’s performance is another thing we can’t complain about. Thanks to a slight out-of-the-box overclock, the X58A-UD7 hangs in front or near the front in every test. The truth is, X58 boards are pretty even-Steven performance-wise. It comes down to features and bling. And though the X58A-UD7 has plenty to offer, we were more swayed by the competition’s bells and whistles and harmonicas.