With all the P55 motherboards starting to arrive on market featuring USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0 controllers, we received several questions what will happen to the X58 line-up. Unlike in the past, where the introduction of one Socket meant the death of another, LGA-1366 and the X58 chipset represent a whole new era. Given that upcoming sexa-core Core i9 processors will rely on LGA-1366 processor socket, the X58 will last for at least 18 months.
In order to adequately follow the technology trends, motherboard makers are rushing their revamped X58 lines to market, and GigaByte is first out the door with the updated X58 motherboard. Under the name X58A-UD7, GigaByte pitched a refresh of their old X58 Extreme motherboard, but the moniker Extreme is no longer used. We have our doubts what will be the new "Extreme 2" motherboard, but there is little doubt that we’ll need to wait any much longer for GigaByte’s take on "All-PCIe x16 slot" motherboards such as the ASUS P6T6 Revolution, P6T7 SuperComputer or EVGA’s X58 Classified 4-Way SLI.
Getting back on the X58A-UD7, this motherboard features current and future Core i7 and i9 processors, X58 Northbridge, ICH10R Southbridge and two newcomers for the X58 platform: NEC USB 3.0 and Marvell’s SE9128 SATA 3.0 controllers. NEC chip is even taking care of powered USB, thus this motherboard is capable of powering three USB ports, located on the upper backplate. There are 10 SATA connectors, six connect to Intel’s ICH10R and four connect to Marvell’s SATA 3.0 chip.
The biggest problem of the original EX58-Extreme unfortunately remained on the X58A-UD7 motherboard – even though the board comes with a nice waterblock for cooling down Intel’s X58 chipset and the new USB 3.0 and SATA 6G controllers, the first two PCIe x1 slots are barely usable – the distance between the end of the x1 connector and the waterblock is just too short. Even Broadcom’s GbE x1 card was too long.
However, given that the overall multi-GPU share is around 3% world-wide, you should have no issues using one of PCIe x16 slots for additional expansion, should you need one.