Gigabyte X58A-UD9 review

One of the most expensive motherboards we've ever seen, but is it one of the best?

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If you've forked out £800 for Intel's mighty Core i7 980X six-core processor, why not unload another £400 for seven slots' worth of PCI Express action? It's big numbers all round, and the Gigabyte X58A-UD9 is quite literally large.

Measuring 345 x 263.5mm, the UD9's form factor is officially known as XL-ATX. There's something else that's official: it won't fit in most PC cases. Fortunately, Gigabyte has provided a list of compatible cases. Anyway, odds are you'll need a new housing for it.

To get the most out of the UD9, you'll probably also need a new PSU.

The biggest potential power draw, of course, are the seven (count 'em!) full length PCI Express slots. Four are the real 16-lane deal, a configuration enabled courtesy of a pair of Nvidia NF200 bridge chips. The remaining three are full length, but only eight-lane in electrical terms.

Gigabyte has sensibly arranged the slots alternately. Slots one, three, five and seven are 16-lane, allowing for four dual-slot graphics cards to be daisy chained.

For the record, both AMD's Crossfire and Nvidia's SLI multi-GPU platforms are fully supported. Indeed, the UD9 comes with the graphics card connectors required for both technologies.

Another UD9 highlight is chipset cooling.

The X58 I/O controller chip gets the most attention in this area. For starters, Gigabyte has bolted on a block with connectors and pass-throughs for water cooling.

It's also provided a novel air-cooling solution composed of a screw-on heat pipe cooler that sits vertically in the first PCI slot. It's possible to run both cooling solutions in parallel.

Elsewhere, the UD9 scores points for it's uber-spec 24-phase power regulation kit. The fact that the PCB itself also has a thin layer of copper to help prevent hot spots and generally improve cooling just goes to show how much detail Gigabyte has paid to the overall design.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelX58 Express
Multi GPU SupportedCrossFireX, SLI
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots7
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket B LGA-1366
Brand NameGigabyte
Processor SupportedCore i7, Xeon Quad-core
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory24 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE, RoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots6
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of IDE Interfaces1
Number of SATA Interfaces12
QuickPath Interconnect6.40 GT/s
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots7
Network (RJ-45)Yes
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Total Number of USB Ports6
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
Total Number of FireWire/i.LINK Ports2
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports2
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports3
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
Total Number of PCI Express Slots7
Width345 mm
Depth262 mm
ManufacturerGIGABYTE Technology, Inc
Product ModelGA-X58A-UD9
Product NameUltra Durable 3 GA-X58A-UD9 Desktop Motherboard
Product LineUltra Durable 3
Controller TypeFloppy Controller, Serial ATA/600, Ultra ATA/133 (ATA-7), Serial ATA/300
Manufacturer Part NumberGA-X58A-UD9
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.giga-byte.com
Marketing Information

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 3 design, featuring 2 ounces of copper for both the Power and Ground layers which dramatically lowers system temperature by delivering a more efficient spreading of heat from critical areas of the motherboard such as the CPU power zone throughout the entire PCB. GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable 3 also lowers the PCB impedance by 50%, which helps to reduce electrical waste and further lowers component temperatures. A 2oz Copper layer design also provides improved signal quality and lower EMI (Electromagnetic Interference), providing better system stability and allowing for greater margins for overclocking.

Package Contents
  • Ultra Durable 3 GA-X58A-UD9 Desktop Motherboard
  • Driver Disk
  • User Manual
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • 1 x IDE Cable
  • 4 x SATA 3Gb/s Cables
  • 1 x SATA Bracket
  • I/O Shield
  • 1 x Hybrid Silent-Pipe Module Kit
  • 1 x 2-Way SLI Bridge Connector
  • 1 x 3-Way SLI Bridge Connector
  • 1 x 4-Way SLI Bridge Connector
  • 2 x 2-Way CrossFireX Bridge Connectors
  • 1 x SLI Bracket