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Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 X58 Motherboard Review

Author: Steve Grever
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte
Tagged:

Features and Layout


Gigabyte uses a pretty standardized layout for this motherboard. Users will notice a maze of aluminum heatsinks and heat pipes spread out over several components on the GA-EX58-UD5, including the X58/ICH10R chipset and around the CPU.

 

The back panel features a very small aluminum backplate under the location of the CPU. One notable comment to make about this motherboard is it uses a 2oz copper PCB instead of a traditional 1oz copper PCB. The PCB feature is fairly common with all Gigabyte motherboards.

 

The back I/O panel consists of legacy PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, two Gigabyte LAN jacks , one coaxial S/PDIF Out connector , one  optical S/PDIF Out connector , Firewire 400 port, and a clear CMOS button. It still amazes me that modern motherboards are still using Firewire 400 on board instead of the newer and faster Firewire 800.

 

One of the most talked about features with the X58 chipset is its support for both two-way and three-way CrossFireX and SLI  for high definition gaming and professional workstations. The first two PCI-E slots run at x16, while the last one only runs at x8. Users should keep this in mind if they are thinking about purchasing this board for a triple SLI or CrossfireX configuration.

 

Realtek is really making its mark in the high-definition audio and network industry and Gigabyte is featuring two of their  8111D chips (pictured above), which support two Gigabyte LANs,  as well as their ALC889A codec for high-definition audio on the GA-X58-UD5. The picture above shows all three Realtek chips in all their glory. (Note: You can identify the Realtek chips in the picture above by finding the chips with little crab pictures on them.)

 

Gigabyte provides six DDR3 DIMM sockets that support up to 24GB of system memory. Memory modules can be run at up to DDR3 2100 and they can be used in a dual or triple channel configuration.

 

The front panel headers on board are enclosed to help make installation a bit easier. I think including a separate connector to plug all our pins in, like ASUS or MSI uses, would have been more appreciated. Users will also notice an IDE header and two USB 2.0 headers in the photo.

 

Gigabyte provides one floppy drive header and two Firewire 400 headers for those who are still using these legacy components. Is it just me or are these devices pretty dated? I haven’t used a floppy in at least two years and most users have upgraded to Firewire 800. Not sure if these features are needed, especially on an enthusiast board like this one.

 

The ICH10R Southbridge supports six SATA 3GB devices (colored blue) while Gigabyte SATA2 chip manages the other four SATA 3GB headers (colored white).The ICH10R controller supports RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10. Gigabyte’s SATA2 chip can be used to run up to four SATA devices in RAID 0, 1, and JBOD. Users will also notice a nifty post code display, which is incredibly handy for troubleshooting.

 

This motherboard also features an on-board power and reset button, which is quite useful for those frequently test new devices on their system.

 

Gigabyte prides itself in using high-quality components on their motherboards and the proof is right in plain sight.  Consumers will notice the use of Japanese solid capacitors, Ferrite cores, and Lower RDS(on) MOSFET. The heatpipe design also wraps around three sides of the CPU and all the surrounding components are low enough to install a decent third-party air cooler or water block.

Here’s the clear CMOS button lit up in the back I/O panel.

 

The on-board power button lights up with a blue LED and the strip of LEDS next to it is actually the “onboard CPU overclock LEDs”, which indicate the level the CPU is overclocked to. The higher the overclock, the more the number of lighted LEDs.

 

This is one of four “overvoltage LEDs” on the motherboard that indicate the overvoltage level of the CPU, memory, Northbridge, and Southbridge.

 

The POST code display lights up red to make it easier to read for troubleshooting.

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