Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard Review

X58A-OC Overview
The first thing that really caught my attention when I took the X58A-OC out of the packaging was the color scheme.  This color scheme is not like any other Gigabyte motherboard.  They have gone with a black PCB with bright orange and black accents.  This color-scheme looks simply awesome.  Gigabyte plans to use the black PCB on all of their high-end boards.

Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard

Starting up at the CPU socket you can see it is extremely clean and open.  It is this way to fit in larger coolers for liquid cooling and for easy insulation of the board.  The clean design is made possible by the POScap tantalum electrolytic capacitors, which have a low profile.  You will see these all over the board, this is the first X58 board that does away with the normal solid capacitors that we used to seeing on other boards.

Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard

The X58A-OC features a new VRM design called OC-VRM, which includes a combination of highly conductive POScaps, 50A rated MPFC (Max Power Ferrite Core) Chokes, and Driver-MOSFETs, which combined, are able to deliver higher current to the CPU, with better efficiency and lower temperature. OC-VRM also allows users to overclock the PWM frequency via an onboard switch, for real-time adjustment. When the CPU needs maximum power, users can raise the PWM frequency in order to deliver more current through this unique POScap and MPFC Choke design.

Moving over to the DIMM slots there is a lot to look at.  The slots are color-coded and support up to 24GB of DDR3 up to 2200MHz.  Moving over to the end up the board you have the OC-Touch buttons.  See the diagram below to see what each button does, the OC-Touch allows users to quickly and easily overclock their system.  Beside the OC-Touch buttons are the onboard voltage measurement headers.  You can connect the included cables to these for easy voltage monitoring.  There is a small blue reset button, debug LED screen, ATX power connection and a 4pin fan connector.

Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard

As far as SATA connectors go you have 8 SATA ports.  6 of them are SATA 3GB/s ports and are connected to the ICH10R southbridge and will support RAID 0/1/5/10.  The 2 grey ports are SATA 6GB/s ports and are connected to the Marvel SE9182 controller.  You will also notice 2 SATA power connectors on the end of the board.  This is to power a power-hungry GPU setup.  This is the first board that I have seen that has used SATA power connectors, rather than Molex connections.  You will also notice a large heatsink on the southbridge.

Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard

Along the bottom of the board you have your front panel conenctions, internal USB connector, which is the on / off charge connector,  two 4pin system fan connectors and the front panel audio.

Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard

Taking a look at the PCI area there are a total of 5 slots.  From top to bottom they are PCI-E x 16, PCI-E x8, PCI-E x16, a standard PCI slot and a final PCI-E x8 slot.  So if you are running CrossFire or SLI setups you want to use slots 1 and 3 make use of all 32 lanes.  Looking at the connections on the back of the board Gigabyte has gone with the bare minimum here.  Keep in mind this is an overclocking board so you really shouldn’t need a ton of connections.  From left to right you have PS/2 ports for both mouse and keyboard, Gigabit LAN, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 3 audio jacks and finally 2 USB 3.0 ports.

Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard

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