Gigabyte EX58-UD4P ReviewRHKCommander959 - April 16, 2009
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With the latest Core i7 processors from Intel, people are seeking more variety in motherboards. Companies have begun to release new motherboards, while others still are hard to find in circulation. Inherently, the Tylersburg chipset can support both Nvidia’s SLI and ATI’s CrossFire, so for people looking to jump on the i7 bandwagon, the main things to look for are how well built and placed the components on the motherboard are, as well as how stable the board operates from user experience; also many people go with who offers the best warranty. Many of you are into overclocking, so you'll look for the board with good heatsinks, and find out from word of mouth if it can clock well.
Gigabyte is a company that primarily produces motherboards for Intel and AMD processors, but also makes video cards, notebooks, HTPCs, desktops, and other computer components. The company is based in Taiwan, and was founded in 1986 as a research team. Gigabyte has turned into a top-tier motherboard company, and employer of over 8,500 people. The company strives for the best, and has even won the Taiwan Excellence Award 11 years in a row; they also claim that at least one in ten computers contain a Gigabyte motherboard, a staggering number considering how many motherboard companies are out in the world. Now that we are familiarized with the company, let us take a peek at the third motherboard in a line of five - the Gigabyte EX58-UD4P.
The box is a little larger than some motherboard boxes, but the first thing people will notice are the reflections across the whole package; the effect is inescapable during photography, and thus the effect is captured – although not nearly as good a reproduction as in real life, where it sparkles like a crystal. Many of the key features of this board are pictured on the front, Core i7 support, the Dynamic Energy Saver suite, 2 oz. copper layers in the circuit board that aid electrical and heat conduction, DualBIOS in the event that one fails, Ultra TPM security device for protecting data, and QPI speeds of up to 6.4GT/s. The back of the box dissects the circuit board, going into detail about the layers, emphasizing their 2 oz. copper inner layers (other motherboards generally only have 1oz inner layers), and 50,000 hour lifespan Japanese solid capacitors. More Ultra TPM chip information is presented, listing a 2048 bit key, and the DualBIOS protection where if the primary fails, a secondary BIOS recovers it. Hosts of overclocking tools are implemented on the motherboard such as OC-ALERT LED, TMP-ALERT LED, OV-ALERT LED, all three of which light up to warn if the overclock, temperature, or voltage settings are possibly dangerous. Also included is the Precision OV IC, which allows for finer steppings of voltage control. Also a point of interest that is listed on the rear are the power saving capabilities of the motherboard. The 6-Gear power phase switching with 12 power phases supporting VRD11.1 design, combined with 2oz copper inner layer give the board its higher efficiency. In fine print near the bottom, it is stated that the motherboard does contain lead.
The top is merely a scaled down truncated version of the front, as is the bottom minus the barcode stickers with model information. The 2oz blue corner covers the lower corner of the box, and so is featured on three sides, the other three are without it. The rest is basically the same, and used to keep any side from being empty.
Here again, the sides all have similar images and wording, save the other side having a small pink box with over a dozen different languages on the basic features: 3-way SLI/Crossfire, energy saving design, Core i7, and SATA 3Gb/s with RAID. The Ultra Durable 3 badge is stamped on each side, as are the Core i7 badges.
Many packets of cables, manuals, and dongles clutter the top of the opened box. There should be no problem getting this motherboard running; the motherboard lies hidden underneath the clutter, which blocks the view. The board is protected by the antistatic bag, and lays on a thin piece of foam.
With everything unpacked, let's take a better look at all of those accessories!