Just looking at the X58A-UD9 straight up, you can tell that this is a board to be reckoned with. Although it is part of the ATX family, it is much longer (and a little wider) than your typical ATX board. GIGABYTE lists it as an XL-ATX board and has a listing of cases that the X58A-UD9 can fit into.
Starting at our usual spot, we do not see much that is out of the ordinary. In fact, for the most part in this image things are looking a lot like the X58A-UD7. We see the LOTES CPU hold down clamp along with the usual assortment of power regulation hardware and of course, heat dissipation hardware.
Where we find firm evidence that things are indeed very different is the extra eight-pin 12V Aux power connector. We have seen these before and they're always indications that the manufacturer wants to ensure clean and stable power and high clock speeds. GIGABYTE obviously intends for you to push the X58A-UD9 very hard.
The cooling at the board level has also been beefed up. As you can see, the passive heatsink over the Southbridge is quite large. The Southbridge cooler ties in with the dual-function Northbridge cooler by direct contact. Here we the first indication that something is not quite right.
In the image below you can see that a four-pin Molex connector is poorly placed on the board. If you use this power connector there is almost no possible way to use the included passive SilentPipe II cooler.
Here we see one of the big selling points of the X58A-UD9; there are seven x16 slots on the board. Four of these are fully x16. The other three are linked x8 slots. This means that if you have something in an x16 slot and something in its matching x8 slot (for example, x16_1 and x8_1) then both slots will operate at x8. We get another angle on that unfortunately placed four-pin Molex connector as well as seeing the included floppy port on this product.
Here we see the second of the extra PCIe power connectors. This is another four-pin Molex connector at the bottom of the board. It is rotated 90 degrees which could present an issue in some cases where the X58A-UD9 is a snug fit.
Moving to the other side of the UD9, we find a healthy number of SATA ports and a PATA port for backwards compatibility. The confusing thing here is that for some reason GIGABYTE has chosen to make both the SATA 3.0 and their "G-SATA" ports white. This can make for misconnections if you are in a rush. There are also two diagnostic LEDs here. If you are running on a test bench (or even in a case), these quickly get covered up once you start using multiple GPUs.
The ports on the UD9 are what you would expect from a high-end product. There are two GBe LAN ports, multiple USB 2.0 (powered and unpowered), two USB 3.0 ports, a pair of powered eSATA ports and the usual audio suspects. Interestingly, GIGABYTE has chosen to maintain the older PS/2 ports on this for your keyboard and mouse. This is possibly to allow the disabling of the USB controllers completely for better stability at higher clock speeds.
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