First Looks: Gigabyte GA-X58A-OC
This article first appeared on HardwareZone.com Philippine.
Pure Overclocking Pleasure
Looking at Intel's lineup of motherboard chipsets, the Intel Z68 Express is a mainstream offering. Hence, while we are anticipating the X79, codenamed Patsburg, to arrive during the latter part of the year, the X58 remains Intel's highest end chipset. That said, we are not surprised that boards, such as the unique Gigabyte GA-X58A-OC, will remain as hot articles of trade at the moment.
It seems like the folks at Gigabyte’s motherboard department have been too engaged in playing around with different color schemes for their products these days. After combining black and green for the G1-Killer series motherboards, Gigabyte is trying out black and orange for the GA-X58A-OC.
The GA-X58A-OC is equipped with six DIMM slots, which makes the board capable of accommodating up to 24GB of DDR3 at 2200MHz. The presence of four PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (two of which runs only at x8 speed) implies that the board can also support both 3-way SLI and 4-way CrossFireX multi-graphics configurations.
Efficiency and Cooling Emphasized
Aside from being dressed up in a black and orange color pattern, the GA-X58A-OC's layout looks neat and organized because of its use of POScaps, instead of the now-traditional solid electrolytic capacitors. Part of Gigabyte’s new OC-VRM design, POScaps, together with 50A-rated MPFC (Max Power Ferrite Core) chokes, and Driver-MOSFETs, are made onboard to deliver higher current to the CPU while lowering temperature. OC-VRM also allows users to overclock the PWM frequency through a built-in switch for on-the-fly adjustment.
On the cooling front, Gigabyte incorporates OC-Cool to the GA-X58A-OC. OC-Cool features a new LED-lit heatsink design and a total of seven fan connectors that are situated on the board’s strategic points. Gigabyte has molded the OC-Cool heatsink to point toward the I/O panel where it will expel generated heat.
Overclocking to the Next Level
Gigabyte's new X58-based board does not carry the "OC" designation for nothing. Apart from having an onboard debug LED, reset switch, and power button, which are already considered a standard among overclocking motherboards, the GA-X58A-OC also features an onboard voltage measurement module, OC Gear button, and OC-Touch switches for adjusting CPU ratio and BCLK all of which are intended to make the tweaking experience a lot easier and more straightforward.
The GA-X58A-OC comes with a set of eight onboard SATA connectors (two of which are SATA 6Gbps) that are flanked by onboard SATA power connectors. Dubbed as OC-PEG, these power connectors are intended to supply more stable PCI-Express power when the board is working with a multi-graphics setup.
While having a dual BIOS is no longer a new feature on Gigabyte motherboards, this feature takes a new form in the case of the GA-X58A-OC. Marketed as OC-DualBIOS, part of this new feature includes an onboard BIOS switcher and LED indicator that allow users to choose one BIOS for normal use, and another one for overclocking. With the presence of two BIOSes, users will be able to save up to 16 different overclocking profiles. The extra BIOS also serves as a backup in the case of failure during overclocking or a BIOS update.
We have no news about the release date or retail price of the GA-X58A-OC. Newegg’s price for the board is US$379, which is significantly less than the US$509 that the G1.Assassin is going for. It will cost around S$466 when converted to local currency. In this case, we feel that such a price point would be reasonable for a specialized motherboard like the GA-X58A-OC.