While there are many X58 motherboards on the market, very few are actually designed for extreme use. So before we wrap up, let’s address what many of you are probably wondering off the bat: "Is the UD9 worth the extra cash?" Right, let’s tackle that straight up now. I’ve now had the pleasure of working with most top X58 motherboards on the market, and let me first say that the UD9 is very impressive in terms of overclocking ability and stability; it truly lives up to Gigabyte’s reputation, no question. The UD9 also brings a boatload of features to the table for the diehard enthusiasts in the crowd, no question. But is it worth the price tag? No.
The reality is that there are a few other boards on the market from ASUS, MSI, and EVGA that provide top overclocking ability, several PCI-E slots, and other premium features that cost about half the price of the UD9 at hundreds of dollars less. Sadly, the UD9 doesn’t bring any paradigm-shifting innovations that could justify the cost. At that price, we’d expect some magic ingredient that’ll let you hit 7GHz on a 980X. But that’s not the case. We’d even settle for a full coverage waterblock, but sadly the solution that Gigabyte offers is lacking, and looks almost like an afterthought. In fact, the UD9 is missing one feature that all those other premium overclocking boards have: voltage reading point. If you’re looking to break speed records, and the UD9 is certainly designed for that, this should be a stock inclusion on the board.
In terms of performance features, the On/Off charge support is a welcome and unique addition for those of you with iPhone or iPad devices, for example. Easy Tune 6 is handy when fine tuning your overclock. The SATA 6G and USB 3.0 can clearly harness the power of a fast SSD. The seven PCI-Express slots are outstanding, so if you want to build a monster Folding@Home rig then you’ll be set for life here on the UD9. The build quality here is also very well done; Gigabyte has been consistent over the last several years in establishing themselves as one of the top players in the marketplace. The Ultra Durable 3 designation isn’t just marketing hype; this board is build solidly, and can withstand the punishment from extreme cooling.
There are a few niggles, such as the small reset button, lack of voltage reading points, and lack of a legacy PCI slot (which admittedly could be argued is unnecessary by some). The BIOS is also not quite as robust as what we’ve seen from a couple other manufacturers, and for the price we were expecting something extra special. These are minor design issues, and are by no means any sort of deal breaker for the UD9; in fact, this board is very capable and impressive. What is a deal breaker is the price. We’d expect a stiff price for the UD9, and that would be acceptable, but $700 is stratospheric and absurd. The board is excellent, no question, but so are other options on the market that cost about half the price.
After the dust settles, we’re left scratching our heads. The Gigabyte GA-X58-UD9 is an impressive motherboard, but the price tag isn’t, and we have no clue why it’s been set so high. If Gigabyte could somehow drop the cost a couple hundred dollars then we’d enthusiastically recommend the UD9, but as it stands, the UD9 is relegated to only the most diehard and well-heeled enthusiasts around.