A Closer Look
Looking at an X58 motherboard is a little strange after looking at P55/H55 boards for a while, with the Northbridge and an extra pair of DIMM slots. Things are much more crowded, especially this board with its four PCI-E x16 slots and fifth pair of SATA slots. But seriously, layout of the board is excellent, everything is where it should be, with connectors around the perimeter of the board to help with cable management.
The board has four onboard fan connectors besides the CPU_fan, giving the builder plenty of case fan support. One of the connectors is a 4-pin PWM.
The CPU retainer is plated in black nickel, as is the heatpipe between the Northbridge and power supply coolers. All three coolers located around the CPU socket are heavy cast aluminum. I have no idea what chip the small heatsink that is next to the NB cooler cools, but I don’t recall ever seeing a motherboard with one.
I suppose that the X58A-UD3R supports every SLI and CrossfireX configuration known to man. The top two slots run at x16, and the lower two run at x8. Before anyone starts complaining, most configurations I have seen have all three extra slots running at x8. You must use cards with single-slot cooling to get some dual x16 goodness, which rules out most really nice cards, and every gaming card I own.
Of course, any of the x16 slots will double as x1 slots, which is nice, considering the x1 slots may not work with all cards, some may be affected by their being located so close to the NB cooler.
Oh how nice it is to see some triple channel memory again. If you haven’t experienced it, you just don’t know. The X58A-UD3R supports up to 24 gigs of up to DDR3-2100 memory.
There’s a lot of SATA support here, and could get a little confusing. The six blue slots are SATA2 slots controlled by the chipset, and support RAID 0/1/5/10 and JBOD. The inner pair of white SATA connectors are the brand new SATA 6GB/s and support RAID 0/1. The outer pair are SATA2 controlled by the Gigabyte storage chip and support RAID 0/1 and JBOD.
Quite a full I/O panel, but at first glance there aren’t many USB ports. Actually there are six, the center yellow ports are USB Power, and the blue ports are USB 3, both double as regular ol’ USB 2 ports. We have PS/2 mouse and keyboard, optical and coaxial S/PDIF, a CCMOS button, both configurations of IEEE 1394a (Firewire 400), a pair of eSATA, a pair of USB Power, a pair of USB 2, a LAN port, a pair of USB 3 ports, and HD Audio.
Gigabyte hasn’t provided a lot of accessories, but keep in mind that this is the bottom of the line board. Besides 4 SATA and a ribbon IDE cable, they threw in a 3-way SLI bridge and a flexible SLI bridge.