This week has been busy for the people at Gigabyte, releasing three new products this week featuring three different technologies from three different companies.
Low-profile launch for the long-delayed low-profile card
The first addition to the GigaByte GPU lineup is the GT240 series graphics card from nVidia. This card features native HDMI as well as DVI and VGA.
Gigabyte is touting the fact that these cards are using non-reference coolers as well as non-reference designs whch feature their gold plated HDMI port as well as the implementation of their "Ultra Durable 2" technology with lower RDS MOSFETs and lower ESR solid capacitors in addition to having ferrite core chokes.
This card supports both DX 10.1 and shader model 4.1 and uses TSMC’s maligned 40nm process for further reduction of power consumption and heat exhaust. Given the shader count [96 cores], we would expect this card to be fairly cool and quiet. Having a native HDMI and low-TDP means that this card targets to end within your next HTPC and compliment either an AMD or Intel based computer. There are currently two models, one with 512MB of GDDR5 and another with 1GB of GDDR3. Why there isn’t a 1GB GDDR5 model, only remains to be seen.
X58 Relaunch for the 32nm generation
The second new product coming from GigaByte is the GA-X58A-UD7.
We have already written about this board and the GigaByte’s decision to rename the product from "X58 Extreme II" to X58A-UD7, one of first products to gain that "7" moniker.
As you might have guessed, this is yet another Intel X58 board but it differs from the others with the fact that it supports both USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0. These technologies both bring significant boosts over their current predecessors being USB 2.0 and SATA-II [3Gbps].
Gigabyte claims to potentially offer up to 10X the speed with USB 3.0 and 2X the speed with SATA 3.0. Currently, we have a few SATA 3.0 Hard drives that we look forward to testing on the SATA 3.0 interface and want to see if running those drives in RAID and what kind of speed improvement is expected. To power their USB 3.0 ports, GigaByte uses the NEC uPD720200 host controller which delivers upto 5Gbps [512MB/s] bandwidth. GigaByte used several tricks to get this amount of bandwidth on their P55-based motherboards but X58 chipset has no restrictions as far as PCI Express goes – there is no need to "steal" an x8 connection from the Core i5/i7-800 processor – X58 Northbridge gives you plenty of Gen2 lanes to put high-bandwidth controllers and give them full speed.
As for the SATA 3.0, Gigabyte uses the Marvell SE9128 chip to deliver the SATA 3.0 functionality. Another feature that the X58A-UD7 offers is "3 X USB Power" boosts which delivers a 3x USB power boost to devices that are powered by USB connectors. This may enable for one to hook up more devices via USB and possibly even have more devices plugged into a hub. But frankly, these boards have so many USB ports that I could not imagine anyone ever needing a USB hub. This trifecta of 3?s is known as GigaByte?s 333 Onboard Acceleration. For those that may wonder, the easiest way to identify one of the Gigabyte boards with the SATA 3.0 and USB 3.0 is by the A designation after the chipset name in the part number which is why this board is the X58A-UD7.
The beast is in
Last, but not least comes the Radeon HD 5970, which we reviewed yesterday. This card?s dual GPUs are based on the 40nm process and carries a total of 2GB of GDDR5. Because of the vast amounts of memory bandwidth [256 GB/s, currently the highest amount of bandwidth in the industry], you should have no issues cranking the level details to the max with both Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic filtering turned to the max while using AMD?s Eyefinity technology which enables the use of three monitors for panoramic widescreen gaming. In addition to this, this card also supports DX11 much like the rest of the 5XXX series of Radeon cards from AMD.
This card has a single DisplayPort connection as well as Dual DVI ports. HDMI is accessible through the DVI-to-HDMI adapter but keep in mind that this graphics card only supports up to three displays. If you?d like to learn more about the 5970 and how it stacks up against other cards, we recommend you head over to our review and take a look at the mind boggling performance that this card is capable of delivering in games. Given the manufacturing capabilities of the company, we would not be surprised to hear that GigaByte would even manufacture their own cards as soon as AMD starts releasing Hemlock chip combos to open market. In any case, it is good to see using a more discrete stickeron the card, complementing the red line that spans across the heatsink.