Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Platforms Compared

Conclusion

Averaging all gaming and application benchmarks for each motherboard provides a better perspective on overall performance leadership.

MSI may have performance leadership, but performance fanatics in this motherboard class will try overclocking for even larger performance gains. Gigabyte had the highest stable CPU speed, while DFI had the best overall (three and six DIMM) memory overclock. That certainly makes it difficult to pick a winner, especially when we consider that MSI and Asus got their first-place and second-place overall performance positions by setting the “standard” base clock at nonstandard speeds of 133.7 and 133.6 MHz. The overclock is tiny, but so is the lead.

But when motherboards are this close in performance and overclocking, should we even bother to pick a winner based on such simple factors? The most important consideration for most buyers will be how well each motherboard supports the hardware. If we were to rebuild our most recent System Builder Marathon Extreme PC, we’d choose the MSI Eclipse for its ability to hold our Quad-SLI configuration of two dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 graphics cards, add a PCIe x8 RAID card to its four-lane PCIe x16 slot, and still have two slots left for high-end audio and multimedia cards. If, on the other hand, we were to rebuild our earlier 3-way SLI SBM system, we’d choose the DFI LANParty UT X58-T3eH8 for its ability to hold those cards within the confines of a standard ATX case.

But while DFI and MSI might lead our above-ambient-cooling three-way and two-unit graphics scenarios, Gigabyte, Asus, and Foxconn are battling for supremacy in liquid nitrogen-cooled overclocking competitions.

We know from experience that our favorite components don’t always stand up to the stress of voltage and cooling extremes, and these three are the likely choices for enthusiasts who spend $300+ fully expecting to punish the hardware. This is where we can appreciate niche extras like the water block built into Gigabyte's board, the easily-found voltage contacts on the surface of Asus' offering, and the inclusion of just three memory slots on Foxconn's Blood Rage product.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
36 comments
    Your comment
  • Some times it really hard to stay objective, but you did it, grate article.
    I would consider few other aspects as well, like service and RMA statistics.
    In some countries you wont have official representation of a vendor, and in case of RMA you can end up with different MB model, usually not for the best.
    From my experience i recommend for most of you to get more common boards.
    0
  • "Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Platforms Compared " this title will lead
    some less informed readers that they can get the cpu memory and MB for 300.00.
    It should read "Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Motherboards Compared"
    the title is misleading
    8
  • I can't afford an i7 system, but when I see beautiful motherboards like that dfi and the foxconn board, I wish I could! That foxconn board almost makes me feel like looking at a beautifully built soltek board with uniform colors and good looks. Looks ain't everything, but looks do matter. I love my gigabyte board because it works great, but I would love it even more if it came 'styled' like the dfi green or the foxconn red board ....
    0
  • When you review the less-expensive X58 boards, I'd appreciate it if you would evaluate them in terms of which is the likely to be the most stable, most reliable, and most problem-free non-overclocked board. Thanks.
    6
  • Lol nice article, lol i love the soldering job on the port-80 diagnostics digits for the DFI lan party board.
    0
  • It seems odd to have skipped mentioning the Gigabyte EX58's driver-less RAID capability. I was able to get Windows XP to boot off of a mirrored RAID without needing the floppy and the initial setup went very quickly. One unfortunate aspect of this mobo, however is that it cannot output digital audio and analog audio at the same time. So no switching between surround sound and headphones without changing settings in the audio control software.
    4
  • Though the core i7 is a crazy fast processor, it doesn't offer ECC support. That is why I just bought an amd phenom II 940. Perhaps 'gamers' don't care about ECC but only how many graphics cards they can stuff in the mb. On the other hand, IBM estimated 1 error per gig per week. So at 4gb, that is less than 2 days between errors. Perhaps that isn't noticeable with microsoft operation systems, but I keep my machines up for weeks or months at a time...

    My cheap asus mb not only supports ECC, but ECC scrubbing, chipkill, and more. Who cares how fast a computer is, when it crashes often?
    1
  • Though the core i7 is a crazy fast processor, it doesn't offer ECC support. That is why I just bought an amd phenom II 940. Perhaps 'gamers' don't care about ECC but only how many graphics cards they can stuff in the mb. On the other hand, IBM estimated 1 error per gig per week. So at 4gb, that is less than 2 days between errors. Perhaps that isn't noticeable with microsoft operation systems, but I keep my machines up for weeks or months at a time...

    My cheap asus mb not only supports ECC, but ECC scrubbing, chipkill, and more. Who cares how fast a computer is, when it crashes often?
    -4
  • wdmso"Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Platforms Compared " this title will lead some less informed readers that they can get the cpu memory and MB for 300.00.It should read "Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Motherboards Compared"the title is misleading


    You're right: I belive the word "Platform" was substituted by another editor to make the title shorter, so it would fit better in the headline bar. I might have chosen "Mobos" myself when encountered with such an issue, but they don't like using slang in titles.

    temporary87654When you review the less-expensive X58 boards, I'd appreciate it if you would evaluate them in terms of which is the likely to be the most stable, most reliable, and most problem-free non-overclocked board. Thanks.


    Good suggestions, but the problem is that all these boards were stable and built for reliability when overclocked. Using lower speeds increases stability and reliability, and you just cannot exceed "100% Stability". All the boards also used high-quality electrical components, which means a reliability test would require years to reveal any differences.

    inversedIt seems odd to have skipped mentioning the Gigabyte EX58's driver-less RAID capability. I was able to get Windows XP to boot off of a mirrored RAID without needing the floppy and the initial setup went very quickly. One unfortunate aspect of this mobo, however is that it cannot output digital audio and analog audio at the same time. So no switching between surround sound and headphones without changing settings in the audio control software.


    We'll have to see what we can do about getting the author some digital speakers or a digital receiver headset to test for such issues in the future. That particular issue hadn't come up prior to testing.
    1
  • What about the Gigabyte UD5? I guess it doesn't fall in the 300+ category at $288 from Newegg, but stil...

    It has all the benefits of the EX-58-Extreme minus the gigantic NB cooler, but also allows use of an x8 RAID card in the open ended slot (I have one installed) and if you get straight risers/wearout protectors you can install a x1 sound card in the top slot! The best of all worlds!!!

    The only small complaint I have is that sometimes I have to try to boot twice since the AHCI bios doesn't always want to load after post.
    0
  • I got as far as reading that XP was an outdated operating system before I decided I didn't want to hear what this guy has to say.
    0
  • ram1009I got as far as reading that XP was an outdated operating system before I decided I didn't want to hear what this guy has to say.


    LOL, it's a bit of SARCASM the represents what the MANUFACTURERS think of the market. If it weren't sarcasm, floppy connector placement wouldn't have been examined on every...single...board...repetitiously.
    3
  • nice roundup

    if only i wasnt broke lol
    -1
  • jeffunitThough the core i7 is a crazy fast processor, it doesn't offer ECC support. That is why I just bought an amd phenom II 940. Perhaps 'gamers' don't care about ECC but only how many graphics cards they can stuff in the mb. On the other hand, IBM estimated 1 error per gig per week. So at 4gb, that is less than 2 days between errors. Perhaps that isn't noticeable with microsoft operation systems, but I keep my machines up for weeks or months at a time... My cheap asus mb not only supports ECC, but ECC scrubbing, chipkill, and more. Who cares how fast a computer is, when it crashes often?


    I dunno about most people, but I have kept my Intel Based non ECC computer running for over a month with no problems. The reason I reboot my computer though has nothing to do with errors from random photons and deepspace radiation, it is because there are still companies who do not code very well and have memory leaks. Either way, I still do not have to reboot all that often, and the only time I crash and burn is when I overclock too high and the house temperature goes up enough to set off a system crash. Not exactly things I can complain about, and certainly not something that is due to the lack of ECC ram.

    I am probably going to wait until Intel comes out with it's 6 or 8 core products though before I splurge for my next computer upgrade. My Q6600 is doing just fine at 3GHz at crunching the numbers for the games I am playing today, and likely for the rest of this year. Next year though, I might be in line for a nice upgrade.

    As for outdated XP, that is what my computer runs on today, I cannot stand Vista, and Windows 7 did not find any greater love from me either. Intel may win my money, but so far Microsoft keeps punting the ball when it comes to making something that is actually an upgrade from XP. We old men change hard!!!!
    2
  • ram1009I got as far as reading that XP was an outdated operating system before I decided I didn't want to hear what this guy has to say.


    But it is. :)

    Anyways, good article. This was exactly what I was looking for, as I'm about to build an i7 system.
    3
  • So you're saying none of the earlier driver problems are still present that have been mentioned in numereos consumer reviews, or other sites? If so great news, because it's why I've been holding off my purchase.
    0
  • AvikingSo you're saying none of the earlier driver problems are still present that have been mentioned in numereos consumer reviews, or other sites? If so great news, because it's why I've been holding off my purchase.


    No driver issues with the software that was tested.
    2
  • Great that puts my mind at ease, Thanks for the nice article.
    0
  • CrashmanLOL, it's a bit of SARCASM the represents what the MANUFACTURERS think of the market. If it weren't sarcasm, floppy connector placement wouldn't have been examined on every...single...board...repetitiously.

    Only reason I have a on floppy in all my machine I needed install XP on.
    -2
  • Great article. Thanks!
    0