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Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme LGA 1366 i7 Motherboard Review

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Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte
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Introduction and Specifications

Introduction



Gigabyte's flagship X58 board boasts triple CrossfireX, SLI support and massive 12+2+2 power phase design for extreme overclockers

With all the media attention focused around Intel's release of their new i5 and i7 processors and LGA 1156 socket, many consumers and tech editors like myself have had to put older LGA 1366 offerings on the back burner so we could properly cover the newest Intel CPUs and platform. Now that the champagne has been uncorked on the newest Intel offerings, we can continue to show some love to what originally brought Intel all the acclaim and accolades they received before the new LGA 1156 CPUs arrived -- the LGA 1366 i7 processors and X58 chipset.



Courtesy of Gigabyte

One of the most popular hardcore overclocking boards available for the LGA 1366 platform is Gigabyte's GA-EX58-Extreme motherboard. Not only can this mobo handle triple CrossfireX or SLI graphics cards running at x16 and x8 (third PCI-E slot only), but it also supports
triple-channel DDR3-2100 memory and includes a 12+2+2 power phase design with VRD 11.1 support.

 



Courtesy of Gigabyte

Gigabyte threw every feature imaginable into this motherboard including two Gigabit LAN jacks with teaming functionality and Blu-ray playback outputs supported by the SNR ALC889A HD audio chip on board. They also put a lot of emphasis on voltage control for extreme overclockers and installed onboard LEDs to let users gauge how high they are overclocking their PCs.

 



Courtesy of Gigabyte

The GA-EX58-Extreme also has a custom Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2 design that connects to the entire heat pipe system on the motherboard. This system is set up to pull heat from the components around the CPU and X58 Northbridge and exhaust it through the back of the case. There are also watercooling barbs over the X58 that can be used to further chill the chipset.

Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme Motherboard Specifications (Taken from Gigabyte's website)

CPU Support: Intel® Core™ i7 series processor in the LGA 1366 package (L3 cache varies with CPU)

 

QPI: 4.8GT/s / 6.4GT/s

 

Chipset North Bridge: Intel® X58 Express Chipset

South Bridge: Intel® ICH10R

 

Memory: 6 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 24 GB of system memory

- Dual/3 channel memory architecture

- Support for DDR3 2100+/1333/1066/800 MHz memory modules

Audio: Realtek ALC889A codec for High Definition Audio

- 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel

- Support for Dolby® Home Theater

- Support for S/PDIF In/Out

- Support for CD In

 

LAN: 2 x Realtek 8111D chips (10/100/1000 Mbit)

- Support for Teaming

 

Expansion Slots:

- 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1/PCIEX16_2)

- 1 x PCI Express x8 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1)

(The PCIEX16_1, PCIE16_2 and PCIEX8_1 slots support 2-Way/3-Way NVIDIA SLI/ATI CrossFireX™ technology and conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)

- 1 x PCI Express x4 slot

- 1 x PCI Express x1 slot

- 2 x PCI slots

 

Storage Interface South Bridge:

- 6 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2_0, SATA2_1, SATA2_2, SATA2_3, SATA2_4, SATA2_5) supporting up to 6 SATA 3Gb/s devices

- Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10

GIGABYTE SATA2 chip:

- 1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices

- 2 x JMB322 chips (Smart Backup):

- 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (GSATA2_0, GSATA2_1, GSATA2_2, GSATA2_3) supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices (Note 4)

- Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD

iTE IT8720 chip:

- 1 x floppy disk drive connector supporting up to 1 floppy disk drive

 

IEEE 1394 T.I. TSB43AB23 chip:

- Up to 3 IEEE 1394a ports (1 on the back panel, 2 via the IEEE 1394a brackets connected to the internal IEEE 1394a headers)

 

USB Integrated in the South Bridge:

- Up to 12 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 on the back panel, 4 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)

 

Internal I/O Connectors:

- 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector

- 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector

- 1 x floppy disk drive connector

- 1 x IDE connector

- 10 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors

- 1 x CPU fan header

- 3 x system fan headers

- 1 x power fan header

- 1 x North Bridge fan header

- 1 x front panel header

- 1 x front panel audio header

- 1 x CD In connector

- 1 x S/PDIF In header

- 1 x S/PDIF Out header

- 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers

- 2 x IEEE 1394a headers

- 1 x power LED header

- 1 x chassis intrusion header

- 1 x power switch

- 1 x reset switch

 

Back Panel Connectors:

- 1 x PS/2 keyboard port

- 1 x PS/2 mouse port

- 1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector

- 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector

- 1 x IEEE 1394a port

- 1 x clearing CMOS switch

- 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports

- 2 x RJ-45 ports

- 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)

 

I/O Controller iTE IT8720 chip:

- H/W Monitoring System voltage detection

- CPU/System/North Bridge temperature detection

- CPU/System/Power fan speed detection

- CPU overheating warning

- CPU/System/Power fan fail warning

- CPU/System fan speed control (Note 5)

 

BIOS 2 x 8 Mbit flash:

- Use of licensed AWARD BIOS

- Support for DualBIOS™

- PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b

 

Unique Features:

- Support for @BIOS

- Support for Q-Flash

- Support for Dual BIOS

- Support for Download Center

- Support for Xpress Install

- Support for Xpress Recovery2

- Support for EasyTune (Note 6)

- Support for Dynamic Energy Saver Advanced

- Support for Time Repair

- Support for Q-Share

 

Bundle Software:

- Norton Internet Security (OEM version)

 

Operating System:

- Support for Microsoft® Windows Vista/XP

 

Form Factor:

- ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

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