Our highest-priced X79 motherboard comparison was intended to highlight the feature sets of over-the-top products, with price being used only as a tiebreaker should any two products emerge as best-of-the-best. So, where are the flagship products?
It appears that everyone was caught off-guard by minor changes between the C0-stepping processors they received during the summer and C1-stepping products that Intel used for the launch. Of the participants, it appears Asus had the quickest firmware turnaround. Everyone knew that we'd use C1 silicon to test, and it makes complete sense that they might not want firmware teething issues to affect their highest-priced parts.
Though we had a reasonably broad selection of candidates, firmware issues left us considering only the two products that came closest to our expectations. Asus’ P9X79 WS had the best performance, best overclocking, lowest power consumption, and greatest number of expansion slots. Meanwhile its P9X79 Deluxe followed closely behind the WS version, but added a bunch of lifestyle-oriented features like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a greater number of USB 3.0 rear-panel ports (even though several ports share bandwidth). The added features are surely worth a little more than the miniscule differences in performance. And yet both boards are priced the same.
Torn between the best board and the board with the most to offer, we decided to give both products our “Approved” award and let each buyer independently determine which of these is more deserving of the ultimate honor: a purchase.
- Sandy Bridge-E And X79: The Best Intel Has To Offer
- ASRock X79 Extreme9
- X79 Extreme9 Firmware
- Asus P9X79 Deluxe
- Asus P9X79 WS
- Asus’ UEFI
- Gigabyte G1.Assassin2
- Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5
- Gigabyte’s UEFI
- Test Settings
- Benchmark Results: 3D Games
- Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- X79 Overclocking
- Which High-End X79 Motherboard Is Best?