Articles: Mainboards

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I must confess that when I received the components I am going to talk about in this review I was somewhat perplexed as to who might afford a $700 mainboard, four graphics cards for a total of $1600 (or three for $1500), a $1000 processor, and a lot of select peripherals. And the main question, why would he/she need all that? And only when I read in the news about some problems with Roman Abramovich’s new half-a-billion-dollar 9-deck yacht called Eclipse that could not make it to the shores of South Africa by the World Cup final that I realized who could afford such luxurious components, perhaps encrusted with black diamonds and equipped with golden coolers and heat pipes. He might even send them to the international space station and back just for the fun of it! Indeed, a rich person doesn’t care about performance measured in unintelligible 3DMark scores or frames per second or the efficiency of such unglamorous technologies as CrossFireX and SLI but he wants a unique and one-of-a-kind product that costs a lot and can impress everybody around.

As opposed to the rich, most of us can only dream of such configurations, but I guess many of you may be interested in such tests even from a purely theoretical point of view. Besides, by assembling and benchmarking such components we can get a glimpse of what to expect from future platforms and graphics solutions. Of course, future products like Radeon HD 6850 X2 or GeForce GTX 595 will have to run heavier games but it turns out that even today’s games can squeeze everything out of the most ambitious hardware configurations. So, here are the components I’ve got for my tests: one Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD9 mainboard, four Radeon HD 5870 graphics cards, three GeForce GTX 480 graphics cards, a six-core CPU and two high-wattage power supply units!

Gigabyte X58A-UD9 Mainboard (Intel X58 Express)

I will begin my description of the Gigabyte X58A-UD9 mainboard by mentioning its recommended price. It’s $699. Yes, this mainboard is indeed as expensive as some modest computers. Despite this fact, the mainboard’s box is made from ordinary cardboard rather than titan or something. It has an ordinary plastic handle, too.

There is information about the mainboard and its technologies on the face and back sides of the box.

A sticker on the box tells you the key specs of the mainboard.

Inside the colorful wrapper there is a cardboard box consisting of two compartments. The top one contains the mainboard. The bottom compartment is for accessories which include everything you need to run the mainboard and graphics cards you may want to install on it.

The Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD9 has a blue PCB and differs from the ATX form-factor with its dimensions: 34.5 x 26.2 centimeters. This form-factor is called XL-ATX.

Thus, this mainboard may not fit into some system cases. You should make sure your computer is compatible with it before purchasing.

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