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Return of the X58 - The Best from ASUS and Gigabyte

Return of the X58 - The Best from ASUS and Gigabyte


Return of the King

Return of the King

The arrival of Intel's first 6-core processor, the Core i7-980X, has renewed interest in a chipset that is largely forgotten with the wave of more affordable P55 motherboards. Despite being Intel's premier chipset for the Core i7, the X58 Express chipset was always going to be a niche product due to the cost, especially once you factor in the processor and the relatively high price of triple-channel DDR3 memory then.

As the only Socket LGA1366 chipset from Intel however, those looking to upgrade to the first 32nm Gulftown 6-core processor are restricted to an Intel X58 motherboard. Fortunately, these motherboards, most of which have been available for more than a year, will support the Core i7-980X with just a BIOS update. And some vendors have also upgraded their high-end models with the latest features, like SATA 6Gbit/s and USB 3.0, making them competitive with market alternatives.

Today, we examine two of these updated Intel X58 motherboards from major vendors, ASUS and Gigabyte. Each of them represents the highest end product from these companies and they have spared no expense in outfitting them with some of their top features and technologies. We have hence equipped them with appropriately enthusiast level components during our testing, including the 6-core Core i7-980X and a Radeon HD 5870 graphics card, the better to showcase the performance you'll find on these boards.

 

 

The ASUS P6X58D Premium and Gigabyte X58A-UD7 Compared
  ASUS P6X58D Premium Gigabyte X58A-UD7
CPU Support Support for Socket LGA1366 Core i7 processors
Chipset Intel X58 and ICH10R
Graphics Supports NVIDIA 3-way SLI and ATI Quad-GPU CrossFireX Support for 3-way ATI CrossFire and 3-way NVIDIA SLI
Memory
  • Supports 6 unbuffered DIMM of DDR3-2000 (O.C) / 1866 (O.C) / 1600 (O.C) / 1333/1066MHz SDRAM
  • Triple-channel memory architecture
  • Supports up to 24GB memory size
  • Supports 6 unbuffered DIMM of DDR3-2200/1333/1066/800MHz SDRAM
  • Triple-channel memory architecture
  • Supports up to 24GB memory size
Storage
  • Southbridge
    • 6 x SATA 3.0Gbit/s ports
    • Support AHCI controller with SATA RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 configurations
  • Marvell 88SE9123 SATA 6.0Gbit/s controller
    • 2 x SATA 6.0Gbit/s ports
  • Southbridge
    • 6 x SATA 3.0Gbps ports
    • Support AHCI controller with SATA RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 configurations
  • Marvell 9128 controller
    • 2 x SATA 6Gbit/s ports
    • Support for SATA RAID 0 and 1
  • Gigabyte SATA2 chip
    • 1 x IDE connector supporting up to 2 devices
    • 2 x SATA 3.0Gbps ports that support SATA RAID 0, 1 and JBOD
  • JMicron JMB362 chip
    • 2 x eSATA 3.0Gbps ports (eSATA/USB combo) at rear panel
    • Support for SATA RAID 0, 1 and JBOD
  • iTE IT8720 chip
    • 1 x floppy disk drive connector
Audio Realtek ALC889 HD CODEC Realtek ALC889 HD CODEC
Networking 2 x Marvell 88E8056 PCIe Gigabit LAN controllers 2 x Realtek RTL8111D Gigabit LAN controllers
IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
  • VIA VT6308 controller
  • Up to 2 x IEEE 1394a ports (1 rear, 1 header)
  • T.I TSB43AB23 controller
  • Up to 3 x IEEE 1394a ports (2 rear, 1 header)
I/O Interface
  • 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 2 x RJ45 LAN ports
  • 6 x audio jacks
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF output
  • 1 x coaxial S/PDIF output
  • 1 x IEEE 1394a port
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  • 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  • 1 x Clear CMOS button
  • 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  • 2 x eSATA/USB combo ports
  • 2 x RJ-45 ports
  • 6 x audio jacks
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF output
  • 1 x coaxial S/PDIF output
  • 2 x IEEE 1394a ports
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  • 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  • 1 x Clear CMOS button
Internal Connectors
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 2 x SATA 6.0Gbit/s connectors (gray)
  • 6 x SATA 3.0Gbps connectors (blue)
  • 5 fan connectors
  • 1 x S/PDIF output header
  • 1 x IEEE 1394a header
  • 24-pin ATX power connector
  • 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x MemOK! button
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x floppy disk drive connector
  • 1 x IDE connector
  • 8 x SATA 3.0Gbps connectors
  • 2 x SATA 6.0Gbit/s connectors
  • 6 fan connectors
  • 1 x S/PDIF input header
  • 1 x S/PDIF output header
  • 1 x IEEE 1394a header
  • 1 x 24-pin ATX power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
Expansion Slots
  • 3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (x16/x8/x8 or x16/x16/x1 mode)
  • 1 x PCIe x1 slot
  • 2 x PCI slots
  • 2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slots
     (x16/x16 mode)
  • 2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 mode)
  • 2 x PCIe x1 slot
  • 1 x PCI slot
Special Features
  • ASUS Xtreme Design
  • ASUS TurboV
  • ASUS EZ DIY
  • ASUS Crystal Sound
  • ASUS Quiet Thermal Solutions
  • MemOK!
  • ASUS EPU
  • Express Gate SSD
  • @BIOS
  • Q-Flash
  • Xpress BIOS Rescue
  • Xpress Recovery2
  • EasyTune
  • Dynamic Energy Saver 2
  • Smart 6
  • Auto Green
  • eXtreme Hard Drive
  • Q-Share
PCB ATX Form Factor (30.5 x 24.4cm)
ATX Form Factor (30.5 x 24.4cm)