X58 Comparison – Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R
Our sample of the Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R arrived without any retail packaging or bundle. Those buying a retail model will receive the usual informative Gigabyte packaging and a bundle which contains a well written manual as well as all of the required cables and connectors to get a system up and running.
The board itself uses the same style as many of Gigabytes boards with blue PCB featuring a 2OZ copper layer for added stability and durability. The X58 Northbridge and power circuitry surrounding the CPU are cooled by passive heatsinks connected by copper heatpipes and the ICH10R Southbridge has its own passive cooler. Dotted around the PCB are five fan headers and the overall layout of the board is reasonably good, apart from one aspect. For some reason Gigabyte chose to position the clear CMOS jumper and battery underneath the location of graphics card coolers. So, if overclocking and something goes wrong we need to take out the graphics card to reset the BIOS.
In terms of slot layout there are no problems, we start with two PCIe 1x then its PCIe 16x PCIe 4x, PCIe 16x and finally two PCI.
At the bottom right of the board we find the front panel connectors along with two USB headers and a firewire header. Moving towards the left are two BIOS chips which allow us to recover any major BIOS problems. Moving up the right edge we find the eight SATA ports and a standard 24pin PSU connector which sits next to the memory slots.
In general X58 boards have six memory slots which utilise three channels; occasionally we see boards with one slot per channel but Gigabyte have decided to use a layout similar to Intel’s DX58SO board for this product. The three white slots work in triple channel mode with one per channel, the fourth slot which is blue shares channel A. Memory support runs from DDR3-800 right up to DDR3-2400 and the maximum capacity is 16 GB.
The external connectivity options offered by Gigabyte are good with support for PS/2, analogue, optical and coaxial audio, two firewire (standard and mini), eight USB and GB LAN. The only item missing is eSATA however as this is a board which is designed for a lower price point than most X58s it is understandable that we don’t have this feature.
Gigabyte use a version of Award BIOS for their motherboards and the performance options can be found in the M.I.T. screen. Before entering this it is always a good idea to press control and F1 together as Gigabyte often hide options which are unlocked by this key combination. When in the M.I.T screen we find all of the standard options such as CPU multipliers up to 65 and BCLK of 1200. Also present is the Q-Flash utility which allows us to update the BIOS from a USB drive.
Get a full range of bios shot from here