Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3 Reviewgotdamojo06 - January 30, 2011
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Taking a first glance at the Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3, you are first going to notice that the entire PCB is a nice bright blue color and is pretty open with a bunch of space available to installing different parts to the mainboard. The CPU area is pretty well open which is going to allow you to install a larger heatsink/fan setup to cool any processor that you may install in the board. The back of the board is pretty simple, you are going to see two back plates, the black one is the back plate for your CPU socket, keeping it in place and giving it some extra support for even a stock CPU cooler; the smaller gray one is for the stock North Bridge cooler that is installed on the board.
The first thing that I want to take a look at is the CPU socket; the GA-X58-USB3 uses the LGA1366 CPU socket. There are the four holes surrounding the CPU socket that are there to install a cooler to cool the processor, the stock CPU cooler that comes with the Core I7 processors uses the pushpin mounting system. The back panel for the motherboard is the next section that I want to take a look at. From left to right, you are going to get your PS2 Keyboard and Mouse ports, a Coaxial S/PDIF Out connector, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports (blue colored connectors), two more USB 2.0 ports, a RJ-45 LAN port , and finally the onboard Audio outputs. The audio outputs from top left going down then from the top right going down are: Center/Subwoofer, Rear Speaker, Side Speaker, Line In, Line Out, and MIC In.
The Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3 motherboard does have quite a large selection for PCI slots on the motherboard, in the image working your way from the top down, you are going to find two PCIe 1x, a PCIe 16x, a PCIe 1x, another PCIe 16x, a regular PCI slot,and a PCIe 16x slot. The chip sitting in front of your two PCIe 1x slots at the top is the Realtek RTL8111E controller which is going to control the RJ-45 LAN port on the motherboard. The iTE IT8720 chip sits in front of the PCI slot; this chip runs off of the South Bridge and controls your PS2 Keyboard and Mouse. There are six DDR3 DIMM slots installed on the X58-USB3 motherboard. They are color coordinated, the blues being your even numbered slots, at the top starting at DDR3_2. This is going to allow you to install up to a total of six DDR3 sticks and run them in triple channel mode, with a maximum of 24GBs installed in the system.
Along the bottom edge of the motherboard are three USB connectors to install more external USB slots, these are only limited to your USB 2.0 or 1.1 slots. The one that is a white color is the special slot that is going to allow you to use the On/Off charge feature offered by the X58-USB3 motherboard that we will cover later in the review. The front panel header pins are also located along this edge that will allow the user to connect the power and reset buttons, the power LED, HDD LED, message LED, speaker, and chassis intrusion cables. Along the next edge of the boardis the SATA 2 connectors; there are six of them on the motherboard. All six of the SATA ports do support the SATA 3Gb/s standard and are controlled by the southbridge of the motherboard. The onboard SATA controller found in the South Bridge is going to give you support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10.
Last but not least are the North Bridge and the South Bridge on the motherboard. The North Bridge is found closest to the CPU Socket and is covered with a large heatsink that says GIGABYTE on it - the North Bridge used on this motherboard is the Intel X58. There is a heat pipe coming out of the North Bridge's heatsink that goes directly into the heatsink installed over the voltage regulators, sitting below the back panel connectors. There is a smaller heatsink installed on top of the South Bridge that I have mentioned before, it is the Intel ICH10R.
Now that we have taken a look at the motherboard itself and highlighted the features, it's time to take a look at the software and drivers included with the GA-X58-USB3.