Many positive commentaries have been written about Intel's current flagship Core i7 processors and its companion X58 Express chipset, due to the solid performance gains offered by the platform. In addition to the increased performance offered by Core i7 processors though, the X58 chipset also brings with it native support for ATI CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI multi-GPU technologies--provided support is available in the BIOS--as well as support for the flexible triple channel memory controller integrated into the Core i7. What might be concerning for some, however, is the overall cost of putting together all of the components we just mentioned. Currently, the cheapest Core i7 out there, the 920, will run you about $280, which is a huge savings over the 940 at about double that price and the Extreme Edition 965 at a cool $1K. DDR3 memory has really come down in price, thankfully, so picking up a three sticks of RAM is certainly not as pricey as it may have been when the Core i7 launched. And obviously graphics cards pricing is all over the map these days.
But, it all starts with the motherboard and most of the X58-based offerings out there are not cheap. Simply put, being the latest and greatest always commands a premium and it doesn't help when there's no real competition (on the chipset level at least) to help keep prices in check. Thus, we were very eager to test a couple of Gigabyte's latest X58 Express based motherboards that are priced much more competitively than many of the other X58 boards currently on the market. Gigabyte may have sacrificed a little here or there to get to a lower price point, but with the five X58-based boards they have in their line-up currently, there should be a board to fit just about everyone's needs. Come on by and check out the Gigabyte EX58-UD3R and EX58-UD4P...
X58 for the Masses: Gigabyte's EX58-UD3R & EX58-UD4P
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