We appreciate that this might be a niche market, but if you’re the sort of tech-head who has a stack of surplus graphics cards lying in wait on the shelf, then Gigabyte’s new GA-X58A-UD9 could give up to seven of them a home.
Gigabyte has cleared off all the usual slots on the UD9 to make way for seven full-size 16-lane PCI-E 2.0 slots. There are no standard 1x slots (although you could just use a 16x slot for 1x devices), and there aren’t any PCI slots either.
Whether you have seven graphics cards or not, the idea is that there will definitely be room for four high-end graphics cards, complete with dual-slot coolers. According to Gigabyte, the board can happily combine the power of four ATI cards in CrossFireX configuration, and it can also support Nvidia’s new four-way SLI technology via two Nvidia nF200 SLI bridges and the supplied PCB connector.
In addition to the pile of graphics slots, the board also comes with all the latest mod cons. This includes an NEC USB 3 controller, as well as a Marvell SE9128 chip for 6Gb/sec SATA connections. Gigabyte is also proud of the amount of power that its USB ports can supply, as they can recharge an iPad or iPhone properly.
Despite all its cutting edge features, though, there’s still a surprising amount of old tech found on the motherboard. For example, there’s a pair of PS/2 ports on the back, as well as both floppy drive and EIDE connectors.
As its name suggests, the LGA1366 motherboard comes equipped with Intel’s X58 chipset, and includes the necessary collection of six DDR3 DIMM slots to run two sets of triple-channel memory. Gigabyte says that the board will also support Intel’s latest hexacore Core i7 980X Extreme CPU.
Designed for the enthusiast and tweaker, it’s no surprise that the UD9 comes with a load of cooling features too. There are two BIOS chips, so that you always have a chip in reserve if a flash goes wrong, and there’s a handy 'Clear CMOS' switch on the back, too.
Perhaps more interesting, however, is the cooling system. Not only does the board have a heatpipe and heatsink system cooling the chipset and the VRMs (voltage regulator modules), but the Northbridge heatsink also doubles as a waterblock, so you can hook it up to a water-cooling loop if you have one.
Also worthy of note is the addition of optional extra cooling via Gigabyte’s Extreme X heatsink card. This slots into a spare backplate, and adds an additional stack of heatsink fins and heatpipes to the cooling system if you need it.
There’s no word on pricing or availability yet, but given that Gigabyte’s UD7 currently fetches £275.15 inc VAT, it’s safe to say that it’s going to cost a fair bit.