Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0

Another Look at the Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0

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The Gigabyte X58A-UD7 motherboards have been out for a while now. Chances are that if you’ve been interested in this board at all, you have had no problem finding information on it. There are reviews galore and forum threads dedicated to this board that are hundreds of pages long. This board is that popular. It’s safe to say that the X58A-UD7 is aimed at overclockers, gamers or anyone else that may be looking for a feature-packed X58-based motherboard and is willing to spend some extra cash for the finer details, like increased power circuitry phases, on-board switches and on-board monitoring LEDs.

Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Retail Box

Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Retail Box

Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0

Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0

So why write yet another article about it? For starters: it’s a terrific board, worthy of some more space on the Web and this particular article includes some benchmark results against a rival board that some might find interesting. Before we get to those, however, a recap on the Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0 is in order.

The X58A-UD7 is part of Gigabyte’s “Ultra Durable 3” line, which means it has 2 ounces of copper in the PCB, 50,000 hour solid Japanese capacitors, lower RDS(ON) MOSFETs and Ferrite core chokes. This means that Gigabyte doesn’t skimp by using less costly, lower quality components and also means that “Ultra Durable 3” motherboards can be more efficient, more stable, run cooler and last longer than boards from manufacturers that cut costs on components or who use less copper on their power and ground layers.

The X58A-UD7 also features Gigabyte’s “333 Onboard Acceleration”. This combination is comprised of USB 3.0, SATA3 and 3x USB Power. USB3.0 provides a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 4.8GB/s (10x more than USB2.0) and SATA3 yields 6GB/s (2x more than SATA2).

It’s easy to see the benefits of USB3.0 and SATA3, but maybe not as much with the 3x USB Power. With power requirements being raised by mobile devices, extra USB power comes in handy. A standard USB port provides 500mA maximum. A USB port on a Gigabyte “333 Onboard Acceleration” motherboard provides 3x that, or 1500mA (1.5A).

How is that beneficial? Say your new, recently released device requires 1200mA (1.20A) to charge while it is on. With a motherboard that only has standard 500mA USB ports, it simply wouldn’t be possible unless multiple ports could be used simultaneously for the one device. Short of that, the device would either need to charged out of the wall or charged via the standard USB port with the device turned off, which may take a while. With 1.5 A available on the USB ports of a Gigabyte “333 Onboard Acceleration”-equipped motherboard, that same device can be charged in a single port while using it and still have power to spare. This is not some far fetched what-if scenario. In fact, it has already happened with an extremely popular mobile device, and if one well-known manufacturer pushed the power limits for standard USB, others are likely to follow. So, Gigabyte’s “333 Onboard Acceleration” is about as future-proof as a board can get right now.

Now we can take a closer look at the particular board used for this article.

X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0

X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0

24 phase VRM

24 phase VRM

As the PCB says, this X58A-UD7 is a Rev. 1.0 and, as the box says and pictures show, it has 24 phase power circuitry for the CPU. In a nutshell, the electrical load is spread across all of the phases in the power circuit, so configurations with more phases should run cooler, last longer and generally be more stable than those with fewer phases. The X58A-UD7 also features three phase power for memory and three phase for the I/O Hub (IOH or “Northbridge”), which is as many as can be seen on current X58 boards. Cheaper motherboards have only one or two phase power for these sections.

It needs to be mentioned that the newer Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Rev. 2.0 has a “16 phase Unlocked Power design” (from the Gigabyte website). A unique feature of the setup is that when the Dual Power Switching feature is enabled, only half the phases operate at a time when full power is not needed. The other half of the phases are powered down to rest and then each set of phases alternately handling the load. All 16 phases are “unlocked” and become operational during maximum load. This feature reduces wear and so could potentially double the lifespan of the components. The X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0 does not incorporate the Dual Power Switching feature, so be aware that the board in this article is a Rev. 1.0.

The question has been posed as to why the Rev. 1.0 had 24 phase power and the Rev. 2.0 has 16 phase, but at the time of publication an answer has not been received. If an answer  arrives, this article will be updated. While more phases are generally deemed better, this is not to suggest that 16 phase is too few by any stretch of the imagination. 24 phases represent the extreme end of the spectrum and the 16 phase setup on the Rev. 2.0 is still a step up from many boards.

X58A-UD7 Internal SATA Ports

X58A-UD7 Internal SATA Ports

The X58A-UD7 provides 10 internal SATA connectors. Eight are SATA2 3GB/s ports and two are SATA3 6GB/s ports. Since SATA3 support will not be included on the Intel chipsets until Sandy Bridge is released in the coming months, Gigabyte has been utilizing a separate Marvell controller to bring us the SATA3 6GB/s ports and added a third controller to provide two more SATA2 ports and handle the IDE channel. The remaining six internal SATA2 ports are run off of the Intel ICH10R controller. Various RAID options are available depending which ports/controllers are used, but a minimum of RAID 0 and RAID 1 are available on all of them. Rounding out internal storage connections are a single IDE channel (which supports two devices) and an FDD channel. Yeah, that’s right, a Floppy Disk Drive channel.

X58A-UD7 Rear I/O Panel

X58A-UD7 Rear I/O Panel

The rear I/O panel provides four dedicated USB 2.0 ports, two “combo” ports that can be used for either USB 2.0 or eSATA (yellow, bottom), and two USB 3.0 ports (blue). If you are keeping count: that is eight external USB ports, including the combos. Another four USB 2.0 ports can be added by connecting the internal USB headers. The remaining rear I/O panel is comprised of the on-board Clear CMOS button, PS/2 keyboard and mouse, S/PDIF, 1394/1394a Firewire, analog audio input/output and dual Gigabit LAN ports that feature Gigabyte’s “Smart Dual LAN”, which allows teaming and switching.

X58A-UD7 On-board Switches

X58A-UD7 On-board Buttons

In addition to the internal front I/O header for installing the motherboard in a case, the X58A-UD7 also has on-board buttons for power, reset and CMOS reset. The power button should be obvious in the above photo. The reset button is the blue button right next to the power button and as mentioned earlier, the Clear CMOS button is located on the rear I/O panel, which is handy whether the board is installed in a case or not. As an “extreme cooling” bencher that rarely uses a case, the on-board buttons are one of my favorite features and have been for years. Another feature that adds to the coolness factor of this board is that it has a ton of on-board LEDs that indicate amount of overclock, voltage and temperature status at a glance.

X58A-UD7 Status LEDs

Just some of the X58A-UD7 Status LEDs

X58A-UD7 Debug LEDs

X58A-UD7 Debug LEDs

The LEDs show the overclock (BCLK), voltages on the CPU, IOH, Southbridge and memory, as well as temperatures on the CPU and IOH. Rounding out the on-board monitoring features are the Debug LEDs that give POST code information, which can be quite helpful when pushing the overclock limits as not every boot is a successful one. With the number of on-board indicators that Gigabyte incorporates on the X58A-UD7, an on-board hard drive activity LED seems to be the only thing missing.

X58A-UD7 PCIe Slots

X58A-UD7 PCIe Slots

The X58A-UD7 officially supports 3-way Crossfire and SLI graphics card configurations, which can be a key feature for benchers and gamers. The 3-way slots are spaced to allow room for the dual-slot cooling solutions found on a vast majority of graphics cards today. The board does have four PCIe x16 slots in total, however, and you can “unofficially” do whatever you want with them. In addition to the four PCIe x16 slots, the X58A-UD7 has two PCIe x1 slots and a single PCI slot.

X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0 IOH Sink

X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0 IOH Sink

Hybrid Silent Pipe 2 Add-On

Hybrid Silent Pipe 2 Add-On

Hybrid Silent Pipe 2 Spacing

Hybrid Silent Pipe 2 Spacing

Hybrid Silent Pipe 2 Mounted

Hybrid Silent Pipe 2 Mounted

The X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0 comes with a water block pre-installed on the IOH heat sink. The Rev. 2.0 comes with a heat sink extension pre-installed on top of the IOH sink and the water block is included separately. Both X58A-UD7 revisions come with the Hybrid Silent Pipe 2, which is a large passive heat pipe sink that can be added to the IOH sink in conjunction with the other included IOH coolers. Importantly, there is plenty of room for a graphics card in the primary PCIe x16 slot with the Hybrid Silent Pipe 2 installed.

X58A-UD7 Main BIOS Screen

Main BIOS Screen

X58A-UD7 M.I.T BIOS Screen

Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker

M.I.T Current Status Screen

M.I.T Current Status Screen

Advanced Frequency Settings

Advanced Frequency Settings

Advanced Memory Settings

Advanced Memory Settings

With the nuts and bolts of the board covered, it’s time to take a quick look at the BIOS.  Here are just a few (somewhat fuzzy) shots of the main overclocking sections of the BIOS. The BIOS is divided up well and is very easy to navigate. There are so many options and sub-options in the BIOS, I’d have to buy a larger memory stick to show them all, but suffice it to say that this BIOS can keep a tweaker very busy if they so desire. Unlike some other companies, the titles of the options are clear and straightforward. Gigabyte motherboards are known to be overclocker friendly and the X58A-UD7 BIOS offers some very high maximum voltage options in combination with fine resolution intervals.

X58A-UD7 OC Auto Voltage

X58A-UD7 OC, Auto Voltages

X58A-UD7 230 BCLK Auto Voltages

X58A-UD7 230 BCLK, Auto Voltages

Overclocking is consistently very easy on Gigabyte boards and the X58A-UD7 is no exception. The AUTO settings in BIOS can get anyone going with a decent overclock fairly quickly. Even on a processor that is most definitely not the best overclocker, it is able to boot to the desktop at 218 BCLK on air (Thermaltake Frio) with all cores and Hyperthreading enabled. All that was manually set in BIOS was the memory ratio, primary memory timings and the memory voltage.

At higher BCLK (200+), some of the AUTO voltage settings may be a little more than some people will be comfortable with for 24/7 use, especially Vtt and DRAM voltage. The AUTO voltages can generally be used as a starting point though. Depending on the overclock you are trying to achieve, the processor, memory and cooling being used, some or all of the AUTO voltages can be reduced (sometimes by a lot) once a tentative overclock is found. You will need to test your individual setup to see what will be possible and in your comfort zone.

As seen in the image above on the right, using Slow Mode on QPI (and running 106 PCIe frequency) allows the processor to boot to the desktop at 230 BCLK (on air, still on the AUTO voltages, all cores and Hyperthreading enabled). It’s doubtful that anyone except a bencher would want to run in Slow Mode, but the board is capable of high BCLK with the correct settings. Even with sub-zero cooling and “safe” voltages set aside, this particular processor has only ever reached a maximum of 239 BCLK in any board, including this X58A-UD7. So, 230 BCLK on air is a very good result given the weak IMC on this particular processor.

Gigabyte HotKey OCWhile we’re looking at screen shots of the Gigabyte’s desktop overclocking utility, EasyTune, it’s time to point out a very cool new feature that has been added to that application. It’s called HotKey OC. In a nutshell, this allows on-the-fly changes in overclocks with a few key strokes. All that’s needed is to make the settings that you want in EasyTune, save each overclock setting as a profile, assign each of those profiles to a function key and then you can select each profile directly from the keyboard as needed. This is a very useful tool, a free download and it works with any Gigabyte motherboard that works with the EasyTune software.

Gigabyte Cloud OC

Gigabyte has also released Cloud OC. While I have not had occasion to try it yet, it may be even cooler than HotKey OC in that you can monitor and control the motherboard in from any internet connected device: iPhone, laptop, Netbook, etc. It’s another application that can be useful for adjusting overclocks in real-time during benches or even monitor, change settings, reboot or turn off your computer from anywhere in the world where you have a internet connection! There is a video of CloudOC in action (click the link).

The Benchmark Showdown
Gigabyte X58-UD7 set up

Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Setup

So let’s make this article a little more interesting. In addition to the X58A-UD7, I also happen to have a board that might very well be considered its most direct competitor: the Asus Rampage III Extreme (“R3E”). I am sure that if you have considered either of these boards yourself, you’ve at least looked at the other. They are similarly equipped: socket 1366, X58 boards with SATA3, USB3.0, dual LAN, 4x PCIe slots, on-board switches. It is probably safe to say they are mostly targeted at overclockers and gamers. The R3E is a bit more expensive than the X58A-UD7 at the popular online retailers, but has two fewer SATA ports and no IDE or FDD channels, so Gigabyte scores some points before either motherboard even comes out of the box.

First and foremost I am a bencher, so I wasted no time putting the X58A-UD7 to work in that capacity. It didn’t take long to notice that the X58A-UD7 just wipes the floor with the R3E in certain 2D benchmarks, particularly SuperPi 32M. From benching and comparing, it seems clear that the X58A-UD7’s advantage in some benchmarks comes from internal settings that are attributed to either memory handling or more broadly, the overall latency of “the board” itself. Either way, this built-in advantage is there no matter what you may be using the X58A-UD7 for, though the net benefit will vary depending just how reliant the activity is on memory/latency. The R3E doesn’t stand a chance in SuperPi 32M , but let’s see how the two boards stack up against each other in other benchmarks.

Test setup
Motherboard: Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Rev. 1.0 Asus Rampage III Extreme
BIOS: F7x* 1002*
Processor: Intel Core i7 950
CPU Cooler: Thermaltake Frio (2x 120mm fans on high)
Memory: 3x2GB Corsair Dominator GT 2000C7
Graphics Card: Gigabyte GTX 460 768MB
Solid State Drive: Kingston V Series 64GB
Power Supply: Gigabyte Odin 1200W
Test Configuration
BCLK: 200**
CPU Clock: 4200 MHz
Uncore: AUTO (4000 MHz)
QPI: AUTO (3600 MHz)
Memory: 2000MHz 7-7-6-20-74(72)-1T (1.64V)
Graphics Card: Modded BIOS defaults: 800/1600/2000 MHz, stock cooler
Operating Systems: Windows XP SP3 (stripped) / Windows 7 32-bit (stripped)
Settings:
  • Memory primary timings and command rate were set manually to 7-7-6-20-1T in the BIOS’s
  • All other timings remained at boot defaults
  • Operating systems were installed clean for each board, followed by the video card driver and benchmarks
  • Ambient temperatures were monitored throughout all testing on both boards and ranged from 70.3-72.8F

* The BIOS used in each board is simply the last versions they were previously updated with.
** Both boards were booted at 200 BCLK set in BIOS, however, the R3E overclocks that to 200.5 BCLK in reality. In order to run comparatively, the X58A-UD7 was booted at 200 BCLK and raised to a matching 200.5 BCLK with SetFSB from the desktop.

Right off the bat is the comparison between the Gigabyte X58A-UD7 and R3E in SuperPi 32M, because it is the most striking display of the difference in performance between these boards. It should not go unnoticed that the R3E has tighter default secondary memory timings, which should actually give it an advantage in the SuperPi benchmark. Despite this fact, it loses, and loses big.

Secondary AUTO timing comparison

Secondary AUTO timing comparison

SuperPi 32M Screens
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E

X58A-UD7 SPi 32M 8m 25.047s

X58A-UD7 SPi 32M 8m 25.047s

R3E SPi 32M 8m 28.687s

R3E SPi 32M 8m 28.687s

X58A-UD7 SPi 32M 8m 25.078s

X58A-UD7 SPi 32M 8m 25.078s

R3E SPi 32M 8m 28.765s

R3E SPi 32M 8m 28.765s

X58A-UD7 SPi 32M 8m 25.079s

X58A-UD7 SPi 32M 8m 25.079s

R3E SPi 32M 8m 28.875s

R3E SPi 32M 8m 28.875s

SuperPI 32M Results
(lower is better)
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Asus Rampage III Extreme
3 Run Average 3 Run Average
8m 25.047s 8m 25.068s 8m 28.776s 8m 28.687s
8m 25.078s 8m 28.765s
8m 25.079s 8m 28.875s
Difference: 3.708s

There is nearly a four second difference in the SuperPi 32M benchmark! To the non-benchers out there, is a positively HUGE difference. Some people would give their right arm to take even one second off in this bench, let alone 3 or more.

To help the R3E’s lackluster performance in some 2D benchmarks, the so called “2D Boosted” BIOS was released. The catch is, the “2D BIOS” only works on hex core processors and since a quad core processor was used in these tests, the hacked BIOS doesn’t apply. The “hack” simply alters the CPUID string, which turns off some flags on the hex cores that might increase performance on some 2D benchmarks (while generally decreasing performance for 3D benchmarks).

MaxxMem Screens
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E

X58A-UD7 MaxxMem 1583.7

X58A-UD7 MaxxMem 1583.7

R3E MaxxMem 1555.2

R3E MaxxMem 1555.2

X58A-UD7 MaxxMem 1578.5

X58A-UD7 MaxxMem 1578.5

R3E MaxxMem 1554.6

R3E MaxxMem 1554.6

X58A-UD7 MaxxMem 1575.2

X58A-UD7 MaxxMem 1575.2

R3E MaxxMem 1554.6 (again)

R3E MaxxMem 1554.6 (again)

MaxxMem Results
(higher is better)
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E
3 Run Average 3 Run Average
Mem Copy 21857 MB/s 22063 MB/s Mem Copy
Mem Read 19679 MB/s 19775 MB/s Mem Read
Mem Write 17365 MB/s 17400 MB/s Mem Write
Mem Latency 37.3ns 38.1ns Mem Latency
MaxxMem Marks 1579.1 1554.8 MaxxMem Marks

Here we can see that the R3E scores slightly higher in memory bandwidth, but with higher memory latency. Bandwidth and latency can be a bit inversely related sometimes (some looser settings can yield higher bandwidth), so it’s not altogether surprising that the looser R3E board has somewhat higher bandwidth. The 0.8ns difference in latency, however, is a large part of why the X58A-UD7 is substantially faster in SuperPi 32M, where latency plays a large role in results. The slight edge on the R3E in bandwidth is not enough to make up for its slower overall latency and for the bottom line MaxxMem Marks score, the X58A-UD7 edges out the better average score.

wPrime Screens
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E

wPrime 1024 179.562s

X58A-UD7 wPrime 1024M 179.562s

wPrime 1024M 179.453s

R3E wPrime 1024M 179.453s

wPrime 1024M 179.609s

X58A-UD7 wPrime 1024M 179.609s

wPrime 1024M 179.578s

R3E wPrime 1024M 179.578s

wPrime 1024M 179.609s (again)

X58A-UD7 wPrime 1024M 179.609s (again)

wPrime 1024M 179.719s

R3E wPrime 1024M 179.719s

wPrime Results
(lower is better)
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E
3 Run Average 3 Run Average
wPrime 32M 5.656s 5.667s wPrime 32M
wPrime 1024M 179.593s 179.583s wPrime 1024M

The wPrime benchmark is hardly dependent on memory/latency at all. So much so, that in many cases, benchers run extremely low memory speeds with very loose timings or even only single or dual channel in order to take stress off of the processor’s integrated memory controller (IMC) in an attempt to gain CPU, Uncore or BCLK frequencies instead, which make much more of a difference in results for this benchmark. With the memory/latency pretty much ignored by this bench, we see that the boards trade punches and the averaged runs are nearly identical in both tests. The R3E had two quicker 1024M runs, possibly due to the slightly extra bandwidth, but then had a relatively slow run out of nowhere. The X58A-UD7 remained extremely consistent through all three runs and as seen, the averaged runs are within fractions of a second of each other.

3DMark Vantage Screens
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E

X58A-UD7 P15776

X58A-UD7 P15776

R3E P15637

R3E P15637

X58A-UD7 P15754

X58A-UD7 P15754

R3E P15628

R3E P15628

X58A-UD7 P15719

X58A-UD7 P15719

R3E P15595

R3E P15595

3DMark Vantage Results
(higher is better)
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E
3 Run Average 3 Run Average
P15719 P15750 P15620 P15595
P15754 P15628
P15776 P15637

3D benchmarks are fairly bandwidth dependent, so if the R3E has potentially more bandwidth with its looser settings, it should potentially have an edge in 3D benchmarks. Surprise! Overall, the X58A-UD7 wins on 3DMark Vantage final scores and that is what counts at the end of the day, but a peek at the screen shots is required to see how this breaks down. The R3E out-scores the X58A-UD7 on the CPU side, but the Gigabyte board out-scores the R3E on the GPU side enough to make for the final overall higher scores. Logical conclusion: while the CPU tests in this bench may benefit a bit from the slacked R3E, the GPU tests benefit from the latency on the X58A-UD7.

3DMark06 Screens
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E

X58A-UD7 3D06 24834

X58A-UD7 3DMark06 24834

R3E 3DMark06 24607

R3E 3DMark06 24607

X58A-UD7 3DMark06 24802

X58A-UD7 3DMark06 24802

R3E 3DMark06 24569

R3E 3DMark06 24569

X58A-UD7 3DMark06 24696

X58A-UD7 3DMark06 24696

R3E 3dMark06 24538

R3E 3dMark06 24538

3DMark06 Results
(higher is better)
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E
3 Run Average 3 Run Average
24696 24777 Marks 24571 Marks 24538
24802 24569
24834 24607

Unlike 3DMark Vantage, both boards run similar CPU scores in 3DMark06, however, the X58A-UD7 keeps its advantage on the GPU side of the benchmark and easily out-scores the R3E. Even with its one lower run (that still happens to be higher than the R3E’s best run), the X58A-UD7 out-scores by it more than 200 marks, which is quite a substantial difference for this benchmark.

3DMark05 Screens
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E

X58A-UD7 3DMark05 35357

X58A-UD7 3DMark05 35357

R3E 3DMark05 35369

R3E 3DMark05 35369

X58A-UD7 3DMark05 35340

X58A-UD7 3DMark05 35340

R3E 3DMark05 35279

R3E 3DMark05 35279

X58A-UD7 3DMark05 35279

X58A-UD7 3DMark05 35279

R3E 3DMark05 35212

R3E 3DMark05 35212

3DMark05 Results
(higher is better)
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E
3 Run Average 3 Run Average
35279 35325 Marks 35286 Marks 35212
35340 35279
35357 35369

In a fleeting light of hope for the R3E in this benchmark, it did produce the highest score out of all of the 3DMark05 runs, if by only 12 marks. Much like the one oddly slow wPrime 1024M that it produced, it might be a fluke good run. The benches are being run three times and averaged in the first place to remove the impact of any unusually good or bad variations in the benchmark results. In any case, the other two runs were lower and one decent run out of three just doesn’t get it done. Once again, the X58A-UD7 pulls out the higher average score by scoring well and doing that consistently.

LinX Screens
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E

X58A-UD7 LinX 1 Hour

X58A-UD7 LinX 1 Hour

R3E LinX 1 Hour

R3E LinX 1 Hour

LinX 1 Hour Results
Gigabyte X58A-UD7 R3E
Peak GFlops 50.2642 49.7598 Peak GFlops
Loops 198 196 Loops
Vcore 1.280-1.296V 1.316-1.323V Vcore
Max Temp 78°C (Core 0) 89°C (Core 0) Max Temp

The goal with LinX was to see how little Vcore was necessary on each board to maintain stability for one full hour at the same clocks. Load Line Calibration was left on AUTO for both boards, Vtt and DRAM voltages were set the same on both boards and Vcore was adjusted up and down as necessary to find the lowest setting that would complete the test. All other voltages were left on AUTO.

The X58A-UD7 undervolts what is set in BIOS (1.30V) by a minor amount at idle and raises closer to the set mark on load. The R3E, on the other hand, runs close to what is set in BIOS (1.31250V), but tends to overvolt a bit. While these differences may be due to how Load Line Calibration is handled by each board while on AUTO, the bottom line is that the R3E required more actual Vcore to complete the test.

The X58A-UD7 wins the LinX test hands down. Higher Peak GFlops, less time per loop, obviously more total work in the allotted time, the X58A-UD7 requires less Vcore and does it with substantially cooler CPU temperatures. Two things to note are that the ambient temperatures were on the coolest end of the measured range (70°F) during the R3E LinX testing and the CPU temperature difference is more than can be accounted for by only the Vcore difference.

Note: this processor historically runs hot for any type of cooling it has been under. In order to reduce heat while on air cooling for this long test, Uncore was lowered to 3800 MHz (3809 MHz as tested). On X58s, the Uncore multiplier must be a minimum of twice the memory ratio (except for Core i7 Extreme), which required lowering the memory ratio to 8x in order to lower the Uncore. In addition, the Uncore ratio on the R3E also had to be manually set to match the X58A-UD7 as with the 8x memory selected, the R3E AUTO Uncore dropped all the way down to 3400 MHz.

Conclusion

The Gigabyte X58A-UD7 overclocks very well and very easily. Given that all manufactuers start with the same chipsets and basic variables to work with, it’s difficult to have a stand out performance from one board to the next when all external variables are set equal. In this set of benchmarks against the board that could be deemed its primary competitor, the X58A-UD7 holds its own very well. In most benchmarks tested here, the final averaged scores are similar or better for the X58A-UD7 and it has a runaway performance on SuperPi 32M thanks to Gigabyte dialing in a lower overall latency for the board. Some of the individual tests in the benchmarks don’t benefit from the latency or may even be slightly hindered by it while other individual tests gain from it. It’s a balancing act, but when all is said and done, all except one final averaged score are won by the X58A-UD7.

The Gigabyte X58A-UD7 is a solid board with all the bells, whistles and (most of the) lights that anyone could want, including USB3.0 and SATA3 and high-powered (1.5A) USB ports. Not satisfied with the status quo, Gigabyte has come up with a new VRM setup and features on the X58A-UD7 Rev. 2.0 that may very well double the life span of the already stout components. In addition, with the release of HotKeyOC and CloudOC, Gigabyte continues finding ways to add useful and innovative overclocking options and make available for free, so extra kudos for that.

In addition to its overclocking and performance, compared to the competing board tested against here, the X58A-UD7 offers more ports (that require extra controllers), more storage options and, after checking the usual favorite online retailers, it does all that at a lower cost. More for less is always a good thing in my book and the Gigabyte X58A-UD7 delivers.

As mentioned earlier, there are tons of reviews and information available for the X58A-UD7. If you have yet to get your fill of pictures of the board, are looking for more detailed images of BIOS options, extreme cooled results or just another perspective, take a look at another Overclockers.com review of the Gigabyte X58A-UD7 done by sno.lcn earlier in the year.

Some graphics courtesy Gigabyte.com.

Ross

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Discussion
  1. I really like Gigabyte boards, but with X58 I gave eVGA and Asus a shot. eVGA failed b/c you can't get into the BIOS with RAID enabled, the screen flashes too fast to hit "Del" even if you're rapidly pressing it during boot. The R3E is okay, but I miss using the EP45-UD3P and P55A-UD7...
    Great job on the article, I enjoyed the read :thup:
    I have a soft spot for giga boards, and thought the write-up was very nice.
    and let others rag on slow mode, if it gets you higher clocks with ht on for 2d tests I am all for it. thats how I got the 920 to 5270 for wprime.
    Thanks guys. I thought it was a good comparison to do. I actually wanted to do it months ago, but real life has a habit of getting in the way.
    I hear that dejo. Slow Mode is your best friend for certain benches on locked CPUs. That was a perfect CPU/board combo you had. Almost 5.3GHz on a 920 is no easy task, let alone benchable :thup:
    MattNo5ss, I loved the EP45-UD3P for memory clocking. I have a couple screen shots of it somewhere, but was able to do well over >1600 5-5-5 on Ballistix 8500s with it :eek:
    once gpi link speed is over 9ghz, all bets are off for stability. or even benching for many chips. give me a board with slow mode capability every time for 2d benches.
    Thanks. Yep, it's tough competition and the UD7 does really well :thup:
    dejo
    once gpi link speed is over 9ghz, all bets are off for stability. or even benching for many chips. give me a board with slow mode capability every time for 2d benches.
    Even over 8K is tough on some 1366 procs (like my particular 950), but look for over 11K QPI in my next article (S1156) :eek:
    Very nicely written.
    However, with the mean difference between the two often under 1%, it would be interesting to see the standard deviations.
    e.g.,:
    Board 1: mean1 +/- standard deviation1
    Board 2: mean2 +/- standard deviation2.
    It would be interesting to check if the following intervals intersect.
    .
    If these do intersect, (i.e., if mean1 < mean2, and yet mean2 - std2 < mean1 + std1), then it's not as likely that the two differ (statistically) significantly, and you'd have a good chance of beating a board1 time with board2 by running board2 many times. ()
    Thanks for the interesting write-up! -- Paul
    I agree Paul. It would be very cool to have more data points and a standard deviation done on all of them, but it's just too time consuming a project to run 10-20 or more of each bench on each board. Granted, the single best score is what counts for benchers at the end of the day, but waiting for something to pop up that's a couple deviations out (even if the deviations are small) isn't what I was after. I was just comparing the general performance between the boards since not everyone uses them only for benching. If there is any truth to random sampling though, these are a close representation and a good indicator for the purpose here :)
    Ross, thanks for the response.
    I completely agree there--I personally wouldn't have the patience! (Although even with n=3, you can get an estimate of the standard deviation. It's just really rough.)
    And agreed--this gives a good idea of the overall performance of each board. So it's interesting, too. It looks like from a non-benching perspective, these should perform nearly identically well.
    And once again, very nice job in doing these thorough tests, with a great presentation of the results. :thup: -- Paul
    PS: Using the following estimator of the "true" standard deviation: If µ is the sample mean, and xi are the n samples, then
    σ ≈ ( Σ( xi - µ ) / (n-1) )^½
    (I would kill to have raw HTML to let me make that prettier.)
    Test1: (using 5 significant figures, since your data have 6)
    Gigabyte: 505.07 ± 0.018193 (seconds)
    Asus: 508.78 ± 0.094453 (seconds)
    intervals:
    Gigabyte: seconds
    Asus: seconds
    Those don't intersect, so it's very convincing. You can see it in the raw data--very little variability.
    The 3DMark results are interesting to me in one respect--at a quick glance, the first run is always the lowest score. I'm guessing that's because more of the test data are in cached memory for the subsequent runs. I used to see the same thing in MATLAB's built-in "bench" benchmark.
    I don't have time to do the stats for the 3DMark results, but these appear to have bigger variances. It might be worth it to run those 4 times and toss the first result on each to get rid of caching effects. You'd probably see much smaller variability then.
    Nice Paul! If I ever do another comparison like this, it will be 4-5 runs each and I'll know who to contact for crunching the numbers :D
    BTW, those aren't the order of the results from the tests, they are simply the order of the screen captures in the folders (sort by name) ;) After I started putting them into tables though, it seemed to make sense to keep them sorted in ascending order so lowest->highest on each could be seen at a glance.
    I appreciate you sharing. It's definitely something to keep in mind for the next time :thup:
    Ross
    Nice Paul! If I ever do another comparison like this, it will be 4-5 runs each and I'll know who to contact for crunching the numbers :D
    ...
    I appreciate you sharing. It's definitely something to keep in mind for the next time :thup:
    And if you don't want to call up macklin every time... :beer:
    In excel, STDEV is the function you want (note not STDEVP).
    On statistical significance, you can look at TTEST (which has been unexplained...yet), probably with third and fourth arguments being 2 and 2. We say results are "statistically significant" if this value is below a somewhat arbitrary threshold.
    What this value actually means, given some set of assumptions, is the probability that the results we're seeing occur IF the two populations are the same. It is important to note that this value is NOT the probability that the two populations are the same. Somewhat more symbolically:
    Pr(observations | assuming no difference between the groups) != Pr(no difference between the groups)
    PS - I remember a very similar discussion on significance (both statistical and practical) on another front-page article about a year ago, but it did not get this in depth, IIRC.
    Omsion
    And if you don't want to call up macklin every time... :beer:
    In excel, STDEV is the function you want (note not STDEVP).
    On statistical significance, you can look at TTEST (which has been unexplained...yet), probably with third and fourth arguments being 2 and 2. We say results are "statistically significant" if this value is below a somewhat arbitrary threshold.
    What this value actually means, given some set of assumptions, is the probability that the results we're seeing occur IF the two populations are the same. It is important to note that this value is NOT the probability that the two populations are the same. Somewhat more symbolically:
    Pr(observations | assuming no difference between the groups) != Pr(no difference between the groups)
    PS - I remember a very similar discussion on significance (both statistical and practical) on another front-page article about a year ago, but it did not get this in depth, IIRC.

    Nicely done! :)
    Dang, I need to dust off my statistics books (and apparently, any Excel books I might have too). Thanks for the heads up Omsion, I'll definitely take a look at it for the next head-to-head article :thup:
    Nice write-up Ross. Wondering if write to read (DD & DR) being 1 click off on R3E would maybe explain some of its latency lag, everything else is tighter so it's not likely but might be worth testing. I need to dig this board out for some stuff, I'll check it out mid-jan. The way Sandy Bridge is looking we'll be playing X58 for some time to come.