Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 review
The UD in this Gigabyte board’s name stands for “Ultra Durable”. In this case, that means the board’s made with extra-thick copper, which is claimed to improve heat dissipation and power efficiency. In practice, though, the EX58-UD5 still proved one of the most power-hungry boards on test, with an idle power drain of 117W.
That’s partly down to the sheer number of onboard controllers. Install the optional bracket alongside the standard backplate and the UD5 offers a huge amount of connectivity, with eight USB sockets, three FireWire, two eSATA and dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, which can be teamed to make a 2Gb connection to compatible devices.
Inside, it’s a similar picture. Two SATA controllers provide a total of eight drive ports, supporting five different RAID modes. For further expansion, you get no fewer than seven PCI slots of various types.
But the GA-EX58-UD5 isn’t just a well-connected motherboard; it’s eminently usable too. A plethora of onboard LEDs gives an at-a-glance picture of internal voltages and clock speeds, while a two-digit display shows POST results. With surface-mounted power and reset buttons, plus a rear-facing button for clearing the CMOS, it’s an enthusiast’s dream.
This user-empowering approach is backed up with extensive tweaking and overclocking features, which can be set in the BIOS or activated from within Windows. And if you get into trouble you can fall back on Gigabyte’s DualBIOS system, which restores the BIOS from a backup copy held in ROM.
If you’re looking for a catch, it’s worth noting that this board won’t let you overclock your RAM to ludicrous speeds, as is possible with the Asus and Biostar boards. And some boards on the market – such as the Asus P6T Deluxe (web ID: 228804) – support SAS hard drives in addition to IDE and SATA, a high-end feature that Gigabyte’s contender lacks.
Conversely, if you don’t demand every feature under the sun, the GA-EX58-UD5 is an expensive package. The Asus P6T (see below) could do all you need, and save you a few bob.
But if you’re willing to invest in a luxury board to accompany a high-end CPU, the GA-EX58-UD5 is a compelling choice that does more or less everything you could ask for.
|Motherboard form factor||ATX|
|Motherboard integrated graphics||no|
|Processor/platform brand (manufacturer)||Intel|
|Processor socket||LGA 1366|
|Motherboard form factor||ATX|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel X58|
|South bridge||Intel ICH10R|
|Number of Ethernet adapters||2|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Audio chipset||Realtek ALC889A|
|CPU power connector type||8-pin|
|Main power connector||ATX 24-pin|
|Memory sockets total||6|
|Internal SATA connectors||8|
|Internal PATA connectors||1|
|Internal floppy connectors||1|
|Conventional PCI slots total||2|
|PCI-E x16 slots total||3|
|PCI-E x8 slots total||0|
|PCI-E x4 slots total||1|
|PCI-E x1 slots total||1|
|USB ports (downstream)||8|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||1|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||1|
|3.5mm audio jacks||6|
Diagnostics and tweaking
|Motherboard onboard power switch?||yes|
|Motherboard onboard reset switch?||yes|
|SATA cables supplied||4|
|Molex to SATA adaters supplied||0|
|IDE cables supplied||1|
|Floppy cables supplied||1|