Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Platforms Compared

X58 3X SLI BIOS, Software, And Accessories

EVGA opened up a wider range of values for several of its BIOS settings, particularly in the area of memory ratios. Yet, the processors it supports are still limited to base clocks of around 215 MHz and memory data rates of around 2,100 MHz, so excessive settings are of little use.

BIOS Frequency and Voltage Settings
CPU Reference Clock

133 to 500 MHz (1 MHz)

Clock Multiplier Adjustment

Yes

DRAM Ratios

DDR3-800 to DDR3-4000 (266 MHz)

PCIe Clock

100 to 140 MHz (1 MHz)

CPU Vcore

1.00 to 2.30 volts (0.00625 volts),

CPU VTT (Uncore) Voltage

Stock to +0.775 volts (0.025 volts)

IOH (Northbridge) Vcore

1.10 to 1.875 volts (0.025 volts)

IOH (Southbridge) Vcore

1.05 to 1.825 volts (0.025 volts)

DRAM Voltage

0.70 to 3.075 volts (0.025 volts)

CAS Latency Range

tCAS: 1-18; tRCD: 1-15; tRP: 1-15; tRAS: 1-31


EVGA's BIOS provides access to all the important voltage levels and clock speed controls, but without any reference to clock skew or VREF.

EVGA also provides eight different registers for storing BIOS values, allowing builders to experiment excessively without losing previous configurations.

Based on the familiar CPU-Z interface, EVGA E-LEET Tuning Utility adds controls for on-the-fly adjustment of base clock, PCIe clock, CPU multiplier, and voltage levels. We found the program to be completely adequate for fine tuning, but a return to BIOS for memory adjustment is still required for any large increases in CPU base clock.

Accessories

Accessories
Documentation and Software

Motherboard Manual

Quick Installation guide

Motherboard Driver DVD

Hardware

1 x I/O Panel Shield

1 x 80-conductor Ultra-ATA Cable (Round)

3 x 4-pin to 2-drive SATA Power Adapter

6 x SATA Cable

1 x Nvidia SLI Bridge

1 x 3-way SLI Bridge

1 x Serial Port Breakout Adapter

1 x IEEE-1394 Port Breakout Adapter

1 x 4-port USB 2.0 Breakout Adapter


EVGA is deeply entrenched in the SLI camp. The lack of any CrossFire bridges isn’t surprising, but inclusion of a legacy nine-pin serial port breakout plate is. EVGA spaces its PCIe 2.0 slots in a 1-3-2 order to allow extra airflow when two extra-hot graphics units, such as a pair of its dual-card GTX 295s, are installed.

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  • 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