X58 To The Max: Three New Flagship LGA 1366 Motherboards


All three boards in today’s competition offer voltage levels in excess of what most users actually need, but competitors who use liquid nitrogen cooling will be happy to see these ultra-high limits.

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
 Asus Rampage III ExtremeGigabyte X58A-UD9MSI Big Bang XPower
CPU Base Clock100-500 MHz (1 MHz)100-600 MHz (1MHz)100-600 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU MultiplierYesYesYes
DRAM Data RatesBCLK x6-x18 (x2)BCLK x6-x18 (x2)BCLK x6-x16 (x2)
PCIe Clock100-200 MHz (1 MHz)90-150 MHz (1 MHz)100-190 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.85-2.30 V (6.25 mV)0.50-1.90 V (6.25 mV)0.90-2.30 V (6.25 mV)
Uncore Voltage1.20-2.50 (6.25 mV)1.075-2.015 V (20 mV)1.20-1.83 V (6.25 mV)
IOH Voltage1.11-2.20 V (13.25 mV)1.00-2.00V (20 mV)0.80-1.70 V (10 mV)
ICH Voltage1.11-2.00 V (13.25 mV)0.92-2.38 V (20 mV)1.10-2.00 V (10 mV)
DRAM Voltage1.21-2.50 V (13.25 mV)1.30-2.60 V (20 mV)1.20-2.50 V (1 mV)
CAS Latency3-11 Cycles5-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRCD3-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRP3-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRAS3-31 Cycles1-31 Cycles9-31 Cycles

Our air-cooled configuration and first-generation Core i7 processor limit us to a far more practical 1.45 V, a configuration we’ve maintained through several product generations to make comparisons of overclocking capabilities possible between articles.

This is the closest we’ve seen any three boards come to overclocking parity, indicating the true limit of our CPU at our chosen voltage. The actual difference is less than the 21 MHz we’d get from increasing the base clock by 1 MHz, so all three boards are tied within the “margin of error” for each board’s clock generator.

Base-clock capability is also essentially tied for all three boards, with Gigabyte’s 220 MHz setting coming in at an actual 219.8 MHz.

Memory is where things get a little trickier. MSI appears to lead in the average of three- and six-module speeds, but it’s hard to know exactly where it would have ended up had its 7x memory multiplier actually worked. That’s right, MSI’s memory overclock started at the DDR3-1600 setting rather than the DDR3-1866 setting used by its competitors, requiring a higher base clock to reach its memory overclocking limit.

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  • one-shot
    No EVGA SR-2? :(

    Ok, Hold on. Three Flagship LGA 1366 Boards and no overclocked power consumption results? These boards are obviously made for overclocking and those results would be very interesting to see.
  • Tamz_msc
    A good 250$ X58 board is enough for most people.
  • Lmeow
    Anonymous said:
    No EVGA SR-2? :(

    The EVGA Classified SR-2 is based on the Intel 5520 chipset and uses Xeons, so it's not an X58 board technically speaking which is why it doesn't qualify. ;)

    If I could spend that much on a motherboard I'd have chosen the Rampage III Extreme, not only does it have good features it also has the best colour scheme. ^^

    Does anyone know why I try to submit a comment it doesn't show up, and I have to use the forums instead to post a comment instead?
  • lashabane
    I want more.
  • sudeshc
    I am totally impressed by ASUS they always come up with best solution in every category, but the price is a killer for me :(
  • rottingsheep
    IMO, the only interesting part about motherboard reviews is the overclocking and power consumption portion.
  • avatar_raq
    Nice article..I have only catch: Of all the mobos tested, Quad SLI is not possible on the ASUS R3E, courtesy of nVIDIA's drivers
  • dragonfang18
    Whats the point when Intel will come out with new processors with different sockets next year?
  • Crashman
    avatar_raqNice article..I have only catch: Of all the mobos tested, Quad SLI is not possible on the ASUS R3E, courtesy of nVIDIA's drivershttp://www.guru3d.com/news/quad-sl [...] -possible/

    Awesome, thanks. Manufacturers don't actually discuss this stuff.
    dragonfang18Whats the point when Intel will come out with new processors with different sockets next year?
    That's what people like you were saying months before LGA 1156 was released. We see which direction that went.
  • dragonfang18
    That's what people like you were saying months before LGA 1156 was released. We see which direction that went.

    Yeah... they are changing 1366 to some socket R... Well... At least I can look forward to these motherboards going down in price by next year when they go to Socket R's for performance than 1366's. I guess ill be happy with 1366's. Hopefully they go down by at least $100.
  • lenoxlv
    2 FPS difference in games. They should have shown what would be the difference if the boards would be OCed.
  • digitalrazoe
    What irritates me is the fact that you have a 6+ PCIe 16 board ( with the exception of the ASUS ) and you still cant get full 16 all the way through with out either a bunch of glue chips or "lopping it off" at the legs - 16x/8x ok .. but 16/8/4 ? c'mon .. can someone develop a chipset that will give the USER the option of lopping off legs reassigning resources where needed ? Granted for TRUE quad SLI 72 lanes is desirable (48 is ok in a 16/8/16/8 fashion .. ) but enough is enough .. Intel, nVida, AMD make a chipset that when we plug in .. we get what we want how we want it .. it would mean return customers and money in your pocket and a smile on a system builders face .. (96 lane board should do it ... )
  • falchard
    I think MSI won here not ASUS. More features on less power with cooler temperatures at a negligible performance hit of half a percent that can be attributed to the error with Vantage.

    I don't like any of the motherboards PCI-e layouts. Its a top range board but only assumes to run 2 cards well. Then confuses the user by placing a bunch of half/quarter speed PCI-e slots. X8 on x16 lane is fine, but x4 is not.
  • Emperus
    MSI is the winner in this clearly though i personally would end up getting the R3E.. I've always felt two video cards as the max needed in the real world (never mind the synthetics and folding@home) so on that account, both the MSI and the Asus boards scope a homerun whereas the Gigabyte model may just end up as the company's trojan horse to showcase their engineering strengths at overclock events.. I feel the EVGA 4X SLI classified should've been included in the showdown.. The absence of USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps should not be the criteria to leave out such a lovely board (oh! May be the price and absence of crossfire support disqualify it)..
  • mrhoshos96
    why get a x58a ud9 and you can get the evga sr2 for less
  • anamaniac
    mrhoshos96why get a x58a ud9 and you can get the evga sr2 for less

    While the SR2 is nice, I have no need for dual socket. As nice as it would be.

    The only thing the UD9 is missing is three more DIMMs (9 total). I know some server boards have 9 DIMMs per CPU, why not any enthusiast boards?

    I want the UD9, put 12GB RAM in it, two 5870's, a nice sound card and a nice NIC (when going extreme, may as well go the full way right?).
    Too bad I quit my job and can't afford it now. :/

    Can we ever expect 7/8 way SLI/CF drivers? I, for one, would love to use 7 single slot 5770's.
  • Hupiscratch
    I'd rather wait for PCI-E 3.0
  • voicu83
    what's the use of testing ultra expensive motherboards without the best processor it could fit on it and with a 4 or more array of the most powerfull video cards on earth? this review is like reading the features on the mb's box ... nothing exceptional
  • scook9
    An EVGA board should have been included (and they DO support crossfire)

    Also, no mention was made of the superior Intel Ethernet adapter in the R3E vs the crappy realtek ones in the other boards
  • squallypie
    gosh, why are there no amd chipset mobos :-(! i really want something that compares the chipsets atleast