Product on Review: GIGABYTE X58A-OC
Manufacturer and Sponsor: GIGABYTE
Street Price: £250 inc. VAT (At time of review)
Some people believe that the X58 chipset is dead and buried. While it is clear that many enthusiasts are heading towards Z68 and P67 based motherboards, like some mass exodus, there are those who still believe that X58 still has a lot to offer. GIGABYTE have been at the forefront with regard to X58 motherboards releasing some excellent examples such as the magnificent GA-X58 UD3R and UD5 along with the ultra gaming platform catering for multi GPUs, the UD9. They have continued this excellent repertoire more recently with some stunning quality motherboards of late, namely the G1 Guerrilla Sniper and Assassin boards. The motherboard we have for review today however is something even more special, even more niche, which has one unique selling point and one group in mind...overclockers.
The X58A-OC has been designed from the ground up by overclockers, for overclockers and is the first motherboard from GIGABYTE, indeed anyone really specifically designed for nothing else but overclocking. Many manufacturers have released high-end yet expensive motherboards that have the extrangance of 7.1 audio, more USB ports that you can shake a stick at and perhaps useless gimicks to separate their boards from the rest. While they essentially have the same engine, they are akin to having a sports car which is burdened with luxuries. The X58-OC however is a stripped out dragster with only the bare essentials needed for operation. Of course, a dragster is useless without an outrageous engine to power it and so GIGABYTE have dedicated all of the scientific know-how, with help from renown overclockers, to create a monster specifically designed yet stripped of all uneccessary components to cater for those who like to run the overclocking dragstrip.
With this in mind it would be relevent to couple a cherry picked xtreme CPU from Intels i7 range and some equally extreme cooling to run some SuperPI 1M benchmarks or perhaps suicide CPU-Z screenshots. I however was more intrigued to see if it could be utilised by the mainstream user, those perhaps on simple aircooling and an entry level CPU? How would it compare then? Could the motherboard still distinguish itself from the rest indeed could it, heaven forbid, be used as an everyday motherboard? Obviously it would be unfair to compare this motherboard to others for which it was not designed to compete. What I am particulary interested in though is can this motherboard overclock an average, everymans CPU with average cooling better than one they already have? Can it fulfill it's promise by being an overclocking board, not just for the 0.1% who use extreme cooling but for everyone.
In short is it a true overclockers motherboard or is it wasted on the average user?
I guess it's time we found out...