Gigabyte cannot be accused of skimping in any area when it comes to catering for the PC enthusiast. The Taiwanese company offers luxurious high-end motherboards to the people who believe that you get what you pay for. They also offer budget motherboards to the price savvy where compromises on features are outweighed by the flagship equalling performance.
The EX58-UD3R is one such motherboard, offering performance at the cost of some of the fancy frills that not everyone requires. Sure on-board switches are a godsend (especially to bench testers and reviewers) but in all honesty who uses them once they are installed in a case? Much the same as Motherboard diagnostic LED readouts, CMOS reset switches and the like. Sure they are a 'nice to have' but are they a necessity? If price is a major concern and the one compromise you simply cannot afford to make is performance, then the UD3R is definitely worth considering.
Performing very well throughout our suite of benchmarks, the UD3R has shown it is a very capable motherboard and despite it's lack of on-board switches, the areas which matter, such as on-board connectivity and the I/O area, are awash with ports that should support even the most ardent up-grader for years to come. The aesthetics of the board are no different from that of the flagship motherboard, the UD5 Extreme, itself costing £100 more and the packaging while poor in our sample should see that the motherboard reaches you in good condition.
If there's one fault I can aim at the UD3R it's that the memory support is a little lacking. I have already stated that 6GB is the sweet spot but that is with today's applications. Who knows what the future holds but you can bet your bottom dollar that memory usage will increase and until 4GB memory modules become the norm, a memory upgrade could prove expensive, negating the money saved on initially buying this budget motherboard.
That said, for anyone looking to break into the X58 genre, the EX58-UD3R is an excellent example of bang per buck and Gigabyte will no doubt sell many units to those looking for a performance motherboard on the cheap and rightly so as this motherboard is perhaps the best budget motherboard in the X58 range to date.
: SLI compatability is now standard on the UD3R with the latest official BIOS from Gigabyte available for download HERE
. Performance score ammended to reflect this change.
- 3D performance.
- Encoding performance.
- The Price.
- Four memory slots may not be enough to future proof the motherboard.
- Sparse accessories.
- Packaging. This is an area in which Gigabyte need to seriously improve.