I'm thinking the Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6 is my new motherboard of choice for my i7 860.
A reviewer of this motherboard over at Newegg posited that a single GPU (in this case a Zotac GTX 275 Amp!) suffers a HUGE decrease in performance when limited to an 8x PCI-e channel instead of the usual 16x channel; and that Toms has the evidence to back it up. Where is this review as I can't seem to find it? (and anything at anandtech.com or anywhere else would be useful, too).
[n.b. on the UD6 the main PCI-e is limited to 8x on the 16x slot when USB 3.0 & Sata 6Gb/s is enabled]
USB 3.0 and Sata 6Gb/s aren't worth the tradeoff regardless. Most reviews show they only provide a minimal performance increase unless you need the extra speed for something very intensive and specific, like workstations I suppose. Is there a special reason you need to have those features at the expense of the full PCI-e slot?
Well, correct me where I'm wrong, but I always understood that the bandwidth in the PCI-e 2.0 lanes vastly outpaced the throughput of the GPUs (except maybe the top-ended GPUs). If this is true, then I can have my cake & eat it too by having Sata 6Gb/s, USB3.0, as well as enough PCI-e bandwidth for a single GPU when playing games. Of course, if 8x in the 16x 2.0 slot isn't enough then I'll have to pick my poisons (and USB 3.0 & Sata 6Gb/s can be disabled in the BIOS thus bringing the board back to full 16x and 8x in the two 16x 2.0 slots, respectively).
I'm ready to upgrade to a Core i7 and don't wish to wait any longer (but don't want to feel an urgency to upgrade once USB 3.0 & Sata 6Gb/s start to saturate the market).