In late 2008, Intel released the LGA 1366 Core i7 900 Series Bloomfield processors and the X58 Express chipset to accommodate them. Just over a year ago I reviewed the Intel Core i7 920 processor and a few X58 motherboards. I was and still am impressed with the awesome power and new features of LGA 1366, especially the incredible bandwidth attained by triple channel memory.
But to be honest, I had pretty much written LGA 1366 as the right technology released at the wrong time. Intel and partners released this excellent processor/chipset combination right in the middle of a global economic meltdown. It is now a year later, and though things appear to have stabilized, the future is still pretty uncertain.
And in the meantime, Intel released the LGA 1156 family of processors and chipsets. This took the best of the LGA 1366 technology a few steps farther, among other advancements completely eliminating the Northbridge. The latest LGA 1156 processors have been built with the brand new 32nm manufacturing process and advanced the technology even further with on-die graphics processing.
So in the back of my mind I had decided we had probably seen the last of the LGA 1366. A shame too, as there are other new technologies coming online, SuperSpeed USB 3, and SATA 6GB/s, and I figured the only way a Bloomfield user would get to use them would be by expansion cards.
Then just last weekend I was chatting with a friend that had attended CES, who told me that Intel was working on a new LGA 1366 processor line, a six-core monster using 32nm…yeah, I know, I’m behind the times, the gossip about the new processors started back in Nov-Dec, but I was busy “fixing up” a “fixer-upper” house and moving during that time.
Anyway, I got a little excited, hoping that maybe LGA 1366 wasn’t dead, just in hibernation. The very next day, lo and behold, our friends at Gigabyte placed a cool little gem into my hands…a brand new LGA 1366 motherboard, complete with onboard SATA 6GB/s and USB 3. Today I will be looking at the Gigabyte X58A-UD3R, the entry-level model of their three new X58 motherboards, which appear to be designated differently from the older models by an “A” after the X58 in their name, and ending with an “R” rather than the usual “P”. Will this be the board of the future? Read on to see!
The X58A-UD3R is in a colorful box nearly completely covered with specs and features.
Inside, the board is inside a static proof bag and protected from the bundle by a cardboard divider.