Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R Review
It took a few months, but finally we’re beginning to see X58 motherboards hit the $200 and sub-$200 price point at online retailers like Newegg. At this price point, X58 motherboards are finally beginning to hit price parity with many Core 2-based X48 motherboards which have been on the market for nearly a year now.
With the price of X58 motherboards coming down to $200 or less, 3GB DDR3-1066MHz memory kits priced as low as $53
, and the Core i7-920 already priced at a reasonable $284
, you can build the guts of a basic Core i7 system now for just under $550. That’s a hundred or so less than what you would have paid at the very beginning of the year.
But how do the budget X58 motherboards compare to their more expensive X58 counterparts? That’s what we’re here today to find out. Under the microscope is Gigabyte’s cheapest X58 offering, the GA-EX58-UD3R. Priced at $194.99 after a $15 mail-in rebate on Newegg right now
, the GA-EX58-UD3R is built for the enthusiast who wants to upgrade to Core i7, but doesn’t need all the bells and whistles found on Gigabyte’s more expensive X58 motherboards like the GA-EX58-EXTREME, which boasts more exotic chipset cooling, dual Gigabit LAN, 3-Way SLI support, 6 DIMM slots, and more robust 12+2+2 power circuitry among its list of many features. The GA-EX58-UD3R may not sport all the bells and whistles of Gigabyte’s EXTREME motherboard, but the board’s a terrific performer, and that’s what counts when it comes to gamers. Besides, it’s got all of the features most users are likely to need.
The first feature we’ll focus on is the board’s memory subsystem.
The GA-EX58-UD3R supports DDR3 memory speeds up to 2.4GHz! This puts it right up there with the latest high-end X58 motherboards, if not better. The board is then outfitted with four DDR3 DIMM slots, offering support for up to 16GB of RAM once 4GB memory modules become available later this year.
With the board sporting just four DIMM sockets, enthusiasts will probably want to pay a little extra and opt for DDR3 memory modules with higher density than 1GB, while you’re spending the money you may also want to spend a few extra dollars on higher speed RAM in order to give you a little more flexibility when overclocking. Many 6GB triple-channel DDR3-1333 kits can be found for just under $100 online.
The GA-EX58-UD3R also ships with two PCI Express graphics slots, with full support for ATI’s CrossFire multi-GPU technology. (In a CrossFire configuration both graphics cards would run at full x16 speeds.) In order to get official SLI support, you’d have to opt for Gigabyte’s GA-EX58-UD3R-SLI which currently sells for the same $209.99 price tag as the UD3R on Newegg, only there isn’t a $15 mail-in rebate being offered at the moment.
If you’re comfortable with BIOS flashing, you could theoretically flash the UD3R to support SLI by using the GA-EX58-UD3R-SLI BIOS, but you’d still need to go out and purchase an SLI bridge connector if you don’t already own one (or the connector you have won’t fit with the GA-EX58-UD3R). These typically sell for $7-$12.
Of course, the GA-EX58-UD3R-SLI comes with the bridge connector in-the-box, so purchasing this board would be the easier solution if SLI is important to you.
Gigabyte let us know that while they'd like to add SLI support to the UD3R via BIOS update in the future, right now this feature isn't supported.