GIGABYTE TOP X58A-UD9 with Intel Core i7 960/980X OC Performance Review

Dec 1, 2008
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November 2008, Intel launched their next generation platform, Core i7.
It’s been over 2.5 years after launching X58+ICH10R.
2009, all MB makers were busy to sell Intel P55/H55. Some users misunderstood the P55 is the latest platform.
I used to emphasize my view that P55 is for mid-high range and X58 is still the most hi-end product of Intel.
It’s approved by the market, however, X58 has been quiet for a long time.

2010, many MB makers start to push USB3 and SATA3. Also, Intel announced 32nm 6Cores CPU to support X58.
Most MB makers revised their X58 models and make it be more popular in the market.
GIGABYTE launched new X58A series which add USB3 and SATA3 spec.
Year beginning, they launched X58A-UD7 for higher spec and performance users.
I used to think UD7 is the most hi-end X58 product from GIGABYTE.
Last month, GIGABYTE announced a more hi-end model, X58A-UD9.

X58A-UD9 packing is much bigger than normal MB.

UD9 looks like a very powerful X58 MB. The components using is also the most luxury in the market.
It’s XL-ATX, 34.5cm x 26.2cm. I recommend to find the suitable chassis before purchasing.

All slots are X8/X16 PCI-E

SATA/eSATA cable, external USB Port
2~4WAY CrossFireX/SLI bridge

Product manual, software manual and driver CD

Lower-Left Corner
4 X PCI-E X16 support X16 for CrossFireX and 2~4WAY SLI.
3 X PCI-E X16 support X8.
Realtek 8111E dual LAN support Teaming and Smart Dual LAN.
Realtek ALC889 supports 7.1CH and High Definition Audio/Dolby Home Theater.
Design in Taipei

Lower-Right Corner
6 X blue SATAII, provide by ICH10R. It’s SATA2 and support RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10
2 X white SATAII, provide by GIGABYTE SATA2 chip. It’s SATA2 and support RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD
1 X IDE, provided by GIGABYTE SATA2 chip.
2 X white SATAIII, provide by Marvell 9128. It’s SATA3 and support RAID 0, RAID 1
Dual BIOS, dual protection, and built-in Debug LED

Upper-Right Corner
6 X DIMM DDR3 support 800/1066/1333/2200. The max capacity is 24GB.
The Cyan big button is Power switch. Blue small one is for reset.
DDR3 use 2-phase PWM, and next is 24-PIN power connector.

Upper-Left Corner
LGA 1366 CPU socket. The CPU metal cover is cladding for better look.
UD9 use 24-phase PWM which support dual 12-phase alternative mode. The maximum power is 1500W. It’s the most hi-end X58 PWM design.
Back side has 2 8PIN design to enhance the system stability in high loading mode.

4 X USB 2.0(Yellow)
2 X USB 3.0(Blue)
2 X RJ-45 LAN
2 X eSATA/USB 2.0 combo
1 X S/PDIF fiber/coaxial output
1 X 1394a
clr CMOS button


Dec 1, 2008
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LGA1366 socket brand is LOTES

NB heat pipe also support water block.

Under the SB heatsink is Marvell SE9128 chip which supports SATA3.
UD9 design is more beautiful and better look than UD7.

USB 3.0 chip is NEC D720200F1
It uses 3x USB power design. Every USB PORT has individual power chip which provide 3X power.
It can avoid read/write error as connecting the external devices.

Full look after installing Hybird SILENT-PIPE
This external thermal module also used in X58-EXTREME and UD7.

Boot screen

BIOS main page

Main BIOS tuning page, M.I.T.

CPU 200Mhz/DDR3 2000 setup page
Dec 1, 2008
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CPU related items
C1E is for power saving.
Intel Turbo Boost is opposite with C1E. It can speed up CPU in high loading mode.

DDR3 Multiplier page

Memory setup page

Advanced parameters setup

Voltage page
Load-Line Calibration Standard/Level1/Level2
CPU Vcore 0.50000~1.90000V
QPI/Vtt Voltage 1.075~2.015V
IOH Core 1.000~2.000V
CPU PLL 1.000~2.580V
DRAM Voltage 1.300~2.600V

Load-Line Calibration has 3 modes
Standard by Intel VDroop voltage standard
Level 1 Lightly adjust VDroop
Level 2 Moderately adjustVDroop


PC Health Status

X58A-UD9 is the GIGABYTE most top product. The BIOS voltage and items are very rich.
But the items are similar to the other X58A series. I cannot the difference from this top model.
Below is my setting for Core i7 980X. You can refer to it if you have similar hardware.
I hope itfs useful for UD9 users to overclock.

System configuration
CPU: Intel Core i7-960/Core i7-980X Extreme Edition
POWER: Antec TPQ-1200
Cooler: Mega Shadow Deluxe Edition
OS: Windows7 Ultimate 64bit
Dec 1, 2008
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EasyTune6 default support few OC modes.
You also can fine tune the voltage and frequency to enhance system performance.

SMART QuickBoot, SMART QuickBoost, SMART Recovery, SMART DualBIOS, SMART Recoder, SMART TimeLock.

Dynamic Energy Saver 2
New GUI is more detail and easier to understand the power consumption status.

Auto Green
It’s feature combine with Bluetooth.
You can use this to save system power.

This review use Intel Core i7-960/Core i7-980X Extreme Edition

First half performance use 4Cores Core i7-960 for test
Clock is 3.2GHz, support Turbo Boost technology. The highest can reach 3.46GHz performance.
Physical 4 Cores and Hyper-Threading. It’s total 8 threads also known as 4C/8T
45nm, 8MB L3 Cache

OC Performace
CPU 200 X 21 => 4200MHz
DDR3 2000 CL8 8-8-24 1T

Hyper PI 32M X8=> 13m 23.838s
CPUMARK 99=> 660

CrystalMark 2004R3 => 309673

CPU => 7.19 pts
CPU(Single Core) => 1.46 pts

PCMark Vantage => 16087

Intel Core i7 960 is 45nm and OC range is very wide. 1.344~1.360V can reach 4.2GHz.
The system after OC, it can afford for most software and using. Of course, speed is never fast enough.
More and more fast PC performance is always the target to trace.
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System standby - 48~53

CPU full speed - 70~76
Intel Burn Test v2.4CStress Level Maximum

The room temperature is around 25 degree C, and I think itfs acceptable.
If Core i7 enable HT, you need higher voltage and the power and temperature will be higher.

For PSU, I recommend to use big watt product. The CPU and GPU power consumption is extreme huge.
I use Antec TPQ-1200 which pass 80Plus silver

TPQ-1200 packing and body are black and red. Itfs racing car style.

3DMark Vantage => P28391
CPU SCORE => 52156
GPU SCORE => 24647

StreetFighter IV Benchmark
1920 X 1200 => 206.39FPS

Biohazard5 Benchmark
1280 X 800 => 147.4 fps

1280 X 1024 => 278.86/230.45/326.68/190.17 fps

The Last Remnant
1280 X 720 => 189.31 fps

In this high spec PC, in common 3D benchmark software, you can see the result as below.
If the resolution is 1920 X 1200 above and enable all effects, the page will be as low as 50~100FPS.
The pity is GTX260 only can support 3WAY SLI. The 4th GTX260 use for PhysX, so it doesnft help much for 3D performance.

DRAM DDR3 2000 CL8 8-8-24 1T
Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 32800 MB/s
EVEREST Memory Read - 21000 MB/s

LAG1366 platform strength is 3-channel DDR3. It enhances DRAM performance a lot.
Even LGA 1156 also cannot reach it as P55 only support dual channel DDR3.
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Power consumption
Standby - 369W

CPU full speed - 514W

CPU standby and full speed, the power difference is 145W.
If GPU also run full speed, the consumption will be even much higher.

The 2nd half performance is using 6Cores Core i7-980X Extreme Edition.
Clock is 3.33GHz. Support Turbo Boost and can reach 3.6GHz.
Physical 6 Cores and Hyper-Threading. Itfs total 12 threads, known as 6C/12T.
Latest 32nm and 12MB L3 Cache.

OC Performance
CPU 200 X 21 => 4200MHz
DDR3 2000 CL8 8-8-24 1T

Hyper PI 32M X 12=> 14m 04.851s
CPUMARK 99=> 658

CrystalMark 2004R3 => 323954

CPU => 10.76 pts
CPU(Single Core) => 1.46 pts

PCMark Vantage => 21105

As single core performance, 960 and 980X are similar under Hyper PI and CPUMARK test.
However, in multi-tasking, you can see the strength of more cores 980X is better than 960.
If you have high demand for coding/decoding or video, 980X is your better choice.

Standby - 39~45

CPU full speed - 75~85
Intel Burn Test v2.4CStress Level Maximum

32nm makes 980X operating temperature is similar with 960 even it has 2 more cores.
980X temperature is very impressive. I think users is looking forward 32nm can be more popular.

3DMark Vantage => P29195
CPU SCORE => 65536
GPU SCORE => 24640


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StreetFighter IV Benchmark
1920 X 1200 => 207.50FPS

Biohazard5 Benchmark
1280 X 800 => 157.3fps

1280 X 1024 => 281.75/228.55/322.73/192.28 fps

The Last Remnant
1280 X 720 => 173.71 fps

3DMark Vantage and Biohazard5 performance increase a lot as using 980X.
The other 3D benchmark is similar with 960. The Last Remnant performance is even lower than 960.
I used to read some reviews and many 3D GAME only can support 2 Cores CPU mode.
So the test result shows 4~6 Cores doesnft help much for 3D performance.

DRAM DDR3 2000 CL8 8-8-24 1T
Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 30063 MB/s
EVEREST Memory Read - 18738 MB/s

980X DDR3 bandwidth, itfs lower 10% than 960 in the same condition.
2 CPU in NB Frequency are 3800 and 4000MHz. It also makes the difference of memory performance.

Power consumption
Standby - 354W

CPU full speed - 527W

980X has good performance of power and temperature because of 32nm technology.
I original expect 6C/12T 980X power and temperature is higher. After real test, itfs similar to 4C/8T i7 CPU.

Good at
1.X58A-UD9 uses UNLOCKED POWER design which support 1500W for CPU
2.Built-in NF200 to support both 4WAY ATI CFX and NVIDIA SLI
3.SATA3 uses more hi-end Marvell 9128 and USB is Japanese NEC
4.BIOS items are rich, higher voltage range and CPU/DDR3 OC ability is good
5.Built-in 6 SATAII, 2 USB/eSATA combo and 2 USB 3.0
6.Hybird SILENT-PIPE enhance the thermal solution and NB also support water block.

Bad at
1.UD9 price is 23000NTD, around 720USD. Itfs the most expensive X58 in the market.
2.Product accessories are not luxury enough.
3.LAN and Audio are Realtek. Should consider to change higher grade.

Performance šššššššššš
Components ššššššššš™
Specification ššššššššš™
Outlook šššššššššš
C/P Value šššššš™™™™

Entry X58 product price is around 7000~8500NTD, around 220~266USD.
High end X58 price is around 11000~16000NTD, 345~500USD.
UD9 price is 23000NTD, around 720USD. If it can be lower than 580USD, the C/P value will be higher.
For the accessories, if it has audio card, Intel LAN or more cables, it will be more attractive in components and spec.

GIGABYTE X58A-UD9 is the mark in the market. It has broken many OC world records.
So far there are also 2 brands have the similar product, and the form factor is bigger than ATX.
High price X58 design has hi-end components and OC. Also VGA support is another key factor.
4 PCI-E X16 and built-in NVIDIA NF200 can support both VGA 4WAY GPU technologies.
For high performance users, CPU can OC to higher standard and multi-GPU also can enhance the 3D perforamcne.

GIGABYTEX58A-UD9 shocks the X58 market. The price is record high.
Components and design are more focus on the body but not accessories and other spec.
But UD9 make GIGABYTE build a new mark in the market and better choice for extreme users.
As this kind of product, itfs used to build the leading position in branding. Itfs not much helpful for selling.
For the users who interested in X58, GIGABYTE X58A UD3R~UD7 are better C/P value choices.
This is my, windwithme, 14th X58 review in 2 years.
For the past Core i7 4C/8T and 6C/12T difference is the key subject for this review.
I do hope this review can provide you more info about i7 CPU and X58 products.Thanks :)



sugar 'n spikes
Mar 5, 2002
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Nice review windwithme :)

And for anybody tempted it's Here for a trifling £466.00

Finding a large enough case to house this board could present problems.

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