Gigabyte X58A-UD3R: USB 3.0, SATA 6G

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Introduction and Specifications

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 Motherboard
Specifications & Features
Processor and Chipset
Based on Intel X58/ICH10R chipset
Supports Intel Core i7 Processors

6 x DIMM, Max. 24 GB, DDR3 2000(O.C.)*/1866(O.C.)*/1800(O.C.)*/1600(O.C.)/1333/1066 ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Triple channel memory architecture
Support Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
Expansion Slot
4 x PCIe physical x16
1 x PCI
2 x PCIe x1

SLI / Video Card Configurations*:
Single Card: Slot 1 (x16)
SLI/Crossfire: Slots 1 & 3 (x16, x16)
Tri-SLI/TriFire: Slots 1, 3, & 4: (x16, x8, x8)
QuadFire:  Slots 1-4: (x8, x8, x8, x8)
Storage I/O
Intel ICH10R controller
6x SATA 3 Gb/s ports
Intel® Matrix Storage supporting SATA RAID 0, 1, 10, and 5

Marvell 9128 SATA 6G Controller
2x SATA 6Gb/s Ports (RAID 0 + RAID 1)

Gigabyte SATA2 (JMB362)
1x IDE (ATA133)
2x SATA 3Gb (RAID 0 / RAID 1)

JMicron JMB362
2x eSATA USB/eSATA external ports
Integrated Peripherals
1 x Realtek 8111D  Gigabit LAN
Realtek ALC889, 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
Front Panel Jack-Retasking
Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O
12 USB 2.0 ports
Multi I/O
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
2 x USB 2.0/eSATA
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
2 x USB 3.0/2.0
2 x IEEE1394 (FireWire 400)
1 x Clear CMOS
1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial)
1x S/PDIF In (Coaxial)
1 x LAN(RJ45) port
6 x Audio

Special Features
Xpress BIOS Rescue
Download Center
Xpress Install
Xpress Recovery 2
Dynamic Energy Saver 2
Smart 6
Auto Green
eXtreme Hard Drive

Internal IO
24-pin EATX Power connector
8-pin ATX +12V Power connector
1 x Floppy Drive
1 x IDE Drive
1 x CPU Fan Header
3 x System fan header
1 x fan header
1 x North bridge fan header
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio
1 x CD-In
1 x S/PDIF In
1 x S/PDIF Out
2 x USB 2.0 Headers
1 x IEEE1394 / Firewire 400

Anti-Virus Software (OEM version)
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Firefox 3.5

ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.5 cm )

  • Supports NVIDIA 2-Way and 3-Way SLI technology
  • Supports ATI CrossFire (2-way/3-way listed, quad support implied)

The X58A-UD3R packs all the standard features we'd expect from an LGA1366 motherboard, its six RAM slots, support for multiple video cards, and its plethora of USB 2.0 ports are all checked boxes on the usual list. Where the UD3R stands out is its storage capabilities, the board sports 10 SATA ports, an ATA port, and two combination USB 2.0/eSATA ports. Toss in the USB 3.0 ports and the X58A is capable of handling up to 16 hard drives at (or very near) native interface speeds. That's before we count external enclosures connected via USB 2.0, FireWire, or through the use of add-on cards.

Average Bundle, Excellent Documentation:
The included cables and various items are bog-standard (we dislike the lack of eSATA cables) but we want to take a moment to compliment Gigabyte's manual. When you've been building computers for a decade or more it's easy to overlook the importance of a well-written guide. Happily, Gigabyte didn't. The X58A-UD3R's manual weighs in at 125 pages, nearly all of them useful.

Gigabyte has diagrammed and documented the board's components, BIOS features, and bundled utilities and provided a step-by-step (and screenshot-by-screenshot) how-to on setting up a RAID array or installing an appropriate AHCI driver for Intel's ICH10, the JMicron controllers, or the onboard Marvell 9128 SATA 6G chip. The manual wraps up with a brief tutorial on configuring surround sound speakers; anyone who's curious can take a peek at the digital version

We can't say for certain if Gigabyte has provided this level of documentation for all its current motherboards, but this is precisely the sort of value-added feature that can make a practical difference to anyone whose nervous about building a system. Bravo.

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