Gigabyte X58A-UD3R: USB 3.0, SATA 6G

Gigabyte X58A-UD3R: USB 3.0, SATA 6G

The past few years have been very kind to Gigabyte; the company's shipments have increased to the point that it's now approximately tied with Asus in terms of volume shipments. Part of the reason for the company's good fortune is its decision to aggressively align its higher-end motherboards, both in terms of price and available features. Gigabyte has put a major push behind USB 3.0, and claims to have purchased one million of the three million USB 3.0 controllers NEC has shipped thus far.

The X58A-UD3R we're reviewing today is a good example of Gigabyte's competitive product positioning. The board's feature loadout is excellent given its ~$200 price point—the question we'll be looking to answer is whether or not the company cut any corners to hit its target...

Gigabyte X58A-UD3R: USB 3.0, SATA 6G

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Looks Cheap. It cost 209.99 at newegg.com; however, it doesn't support 1600 Mhz Memory Module.

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I have got this. I have 1600Mhz module running in it. It works great. I originally had 2000Mhz modules in but 1 of the modules died and the shop I got it from had no replacement, so I decided to downgrade.

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I will say this I have owned or installed for close friends and family 4 Giga boards. I have found them to be no matter there cost solid motherboards. A Motherboard that is solid and updated regularly with good components is the most important thing in a system, and that is followed by the PSU as well as the environment (Case/Ventilation/airflow) it is in! My board in the system I am currently on is a Gigabyte X58A-UD5, on which i have not had a single issue since receiving it. The components, cooling, capacitors, ports etc on the board are solid high quality all the way around. I also like the fact Giga is a primary Intel research design and implementation partner as well as the way they are structured and run down to their employee relations (Which I have researched), they are a very solid company of whose components I am proud to own.

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Joel,

Kudos for doing a thorough comparative performance analysis of the Intel,  Marvell, and JMicron controllers.

One constructive criticism is that I very much liked your focus at the outset: "given its ~$200 price point—the question we'll be looking to answer is whether or not the company cut any corners to hit its target".  However, I think the review strayed from this perspective by benchmarking it against an EVGA classified and not a similarly priced ~$200 board.  And though you return to addressing the price-point comparison in the summary, it wasn't the focus of the review.

Regards, jturnbull65

 

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ASUS Rampage III x58 is an excellent motherboard.

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Id say what has been kind to Gigabyte has been their ability to provide reliable boards. Many people love them since they rarely have RMA issues.

The quality is there, and the price is always right.

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This is the equivalent (with upgraded port speed and the Nehalem CPU) of the Gigabyte board I have, the P55-UD3R. I've been quite satisfied with it after having problems with an Asus motherboard; it's been a while since I did the research on it, but I remember a good explanation of why you don't need memory that runs over 1333 MHz (1600 for overclockers). Perhaps someone can find that article.

I liked the heavier-weight copper substrate, since that's one of the things that leads to power stability and signal integrity. However, the "Smart 6" suite of utilities was more or less useless; it includes such things as parental time control and a backup that only backs up to the same HD as the source. I suppose the dual BIOS would be good in case of emergencies, but I've never had occasion to use it.

What I'd hope for, though, would be (a) more SATA 6G ports and (2) a way to differentiate them. It appears that most manufacturers that offer 6G give two ports to that interface; now, admittedly I'm wollgathering (all my drives are 3G) but I can easily imagine a build that uses three or more 6G devices. I hope that the future will bring more of the faster ports to these midrange boards.

 

@Joel (below):

Even so; however, in the days when SATA v1 (which I suppose we should call "SATA 1.5G") was new, two ports were thought to be enough. Now, people complain about needing more than the eight that seems to be the X58/P55 standard. I have no doubts that SSDs will continue to decrease in price, until even the people here who've been making excuses give in, and that the speed will continue to push and exceed the 3G interface speed.

So, all in all, while I wouldn't mind having the controllers (perhaps I forgot to state that I have nothing in the way of either 6G or USB 3.0 hardware... yet), I can imagine that two 6G ports will seem very limiting, and sooner rather than later. How (and how well) the board designers deal with it, well... that's up to the benchmarkers to tell us.

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ClemSnide:

There are only two SATA 6G ports because the Marvell controller only supports two ports (see the page I wrote detailing the controller). You wouldn't *actually* want four ports off that one controller. Since it's hanging off a single PCIe x1 link, it only offers 400MB/s of bandwidth. That's plenty for two devices, although two high-end SSD's could still theoretically hit the limit.

Four hard drives could easily hit the wall at 100MB/s. Two ports is fine, given that:

1) The ICH10 is still a bit faster than the Marvell

2) Two high-end (and extremely expensive) SSDs will saturate a PCIe Gen 2 x1 link.

3) Four high-end HDDs (and quite expensive) HDDs will saturate a PCIe Gen 2 x1 link.

4) Since no HDD can actually sustain transfer rates high enough to benefit from SATA 6G, you're better off just plugging these into the Intel controller.

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Clemsnide:

Forgot one bit. Double the ports means double the controller chips, which increases board complexity and 'business' in that area by quite a lot. In order to create a RAID link between devices, the two chips would have to communicate by some sort of bridge (or else all RAID communication would have to be handled in software.)

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This board is an improvement over the first gen X58-UD3R which only had 4 memory slots.

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Looks like a winner considering its a LGA1366 and they are usually not cheap so $200 bones is great.

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The only cheaper 1366 board I can find is a BNIB DX58SO for $150 or less on average in ebay and trading forums because nobody seems to want to buy them even though it went through several revisions already. lol

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I would buy ECS over Intel made boards any day lol

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Bad experience?

I like that they still support the really old motherboards on their site though.

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Intel makes good boards and good chipsets...

Dunno why you wouldn't buy one...

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I don't mind boards based on an Intel chipset, its the boards that are made by Intel like these that I don't like because they seem to basic to me. I should have been more clear, sorry.

 

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I find it very strange that Intel is taking so long to implement USB 3.0 on it's own line of motherboards. Unless they know something we don't.

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werty316:

I don't mind boards based on an Intel chipset, its the boards that are made by Intel like these that I don't like because they seem to basic to me. I should have been more clear, sorry.

I think its because of their approach to overclocking in general since they are the processor manufacturer compared to Asus or Gigabyte or EVGA boards which have enthusiast friendly features and marketed as promoting OC'ing.

slugbug:

I find it very strange that Intel is taking so long to implement USB 3.0 on it's own line of motherboards. Unless they know something we don't.

It might be because of Intel Lightpeak.  IMO They are trying to delay and  and hamper USB 3.0 so it doesn't get as big of an adoption and when light peak comes out it will overtake the spot USB is in as the universal transfer port.

 

 

 

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Generally speaking Intel motherboards are not made for enthusiasts. Recent ones do have overclocking features in the bios though. Nowhere as good as Asus or Gigabyte though.

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Speaking of which, I wish Gigabyte would make an mATX motherboard to compete with the Rampage II/III Gene.   They don't even make any mATX 58!!  I'm going to buy a Rampge III Gene but its only because its the only good mATX x58 board (thankfully the reviews have started to come out now). I wish there was a UD3R equivalent in mATX form (lots of useful features and great price)

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lol... yea Intel does make some pretty boring look MB. And they don't always have the same features as 3rd parties... but they do make a quality product. :-)

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