X58 Roundup: Seven $200-300 Core i7 Boards

ASRock X58 SuperComputer

Features and Layout

ASRock’s entry is likely the most distinct of today’s competitors, as it’s the only model to properly support four double-slot graphics cards. Support for the fourth card is, of course, dependent on the builder using a case with the appropriate additional space below the motherboard’s bottom edge.

Special features don’t end with the slot positions, as ASRock is also one of only two new products in today’s comparison to support pathway splitting among its PCI Express x16 slots. Electronic switches work via auto-detection to enable each secondary slot, borrowing eight pathways from the slot above it. Providing this feature on two sets of slots requires twice as many switches compared to the more expensive “3-way SLI” motherboards we’ve previously tested, and ASRock tops those by supporting 4-way in addition to 3-way configurations.

ASRock makes it easier for owners of top-panel-port cases to connect “front-panel” audio cables by placing the header forward of rear-panel jacks--a design we first saw on competing Gigabyte models. ASRock again goes a step farther by placing its front-panel USB, IEEE-1394, and LED/Switch headers above the center line of the X58 SuperComputer’s front edge. Conversely, the company also puts its floppy header in the dreaded bottom-rear corner, which should deter Windows XP users who might otherwise install AHCI or RAID drives the traditional way during OS installation.

Six SATA ports point forward from the X58 SuperComputer’s front edge, allowing the cables to fit easily under the leading edge of full-length expansion cards. Many newer ATX tower cases are designed to accommodate this feature, but buyers must still be aware of possible installation issue in order to select a proper enclosure.

Good power cable placement makes cable management almost ideal, but close proximity to the VRM heat sink makes grabbing and releasing the 8-pin EPS12V latch problematic when it comes time to take the system apart.

ASRock X58 SuperComputer (Revision 1.04)

Northbridge

Intel X58 Express

Southbridge

Intel ICH10R

Voltage Regulator

Eight Phases

BIOS

1.40 (02/04/2009)

133.3 MHz Base Clock

133.0 (-0.25%)

Clock Generator

ICS 9LPRS918JKLF

Connectors and Interfaces

Onboard

4 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (Pathways Shared in Pairs)

 

3 x PCI

 

2 x USB 2.0 2-port (9-pin) header

 

1 x USB 2.0 1-port (4-pin) header

 

1 x IEEE-1394 FireWire

 

1 x Serial Communications Port

 

1 x Floppy

 

1 x Ultra ATA (2 drives)

 

6 x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s

 

1 x Fan 4-pin (CPU)

 

4 x Fan 3-pins (Chassis, Power)

 

1 x Front Panel Audio connector

 

1 x CD-Audio In

 

1 x S/P-DIF Out

IO panel

2 x PS2 (keyboard and mouse)

 

2 x Digital Audio Out (Coaxial + Optical)

 

1 x External SATA (eSATA) connector

 

2 x RJ45 Ethernet

 

6 x USB 2.0

 

1 x IEEE-1394 FireWire

 

6 x Analog Audio Jacks (8-ch. out, 4-ch. in)

Mass Storage Controllers

Intel ICH10R

6 x SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)

VIA VT6330 PCIe

1 x Ultra ATA-133 (2-drives)

 

2 x FireWire 400 (1x Internal, 1x I/O Panel)

JMicron JMB362 PCIe

1 x eSATA 3.0 Gb/s

Network

2x Realtek RTL8111DL PCIe

Dual Gigabit LAN with Teaming

Audio

Realtek ALC890B HD Audio Codec

Eight-Channel (7.1 Surround) Output


The ASRock X58 SuperComputer is the first X58 enthusiast motherboard we’ve seen to omit any internal power or reset buttons. This is a good way to reduce manufacturing cost, since the buttons normally become useless once the board is mounted in a system. We’re still certain a few bench testers will be disappointed.

Two Realtek RTL8111DL gigabit network controllers get more than enough bandwidth from their twin 2.5 Gb PCIe interfaces, while a similarly-sized ALC890B HD Audio codec is connected to the ICH10R’s digital audio interface.

A VIA VT6330 controller provides one Ultra ATA and two FireWire interfaces. This combination sounds odd at first, but it actually makes sense to combine several low-bandwidth interfaces on a single medium-bandwidth PCIe link.

A JMB362 controller supports the single eSATA port, its 2.5 Gb/s PCIe connection nearly as fast as the port’s rated 3.0 Gb/s maximum speed.

Check prices for ASRock's X58 Supercomputer

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
58 comments
    Your comment
  • dragonsprayer
    hey guys good info - its 4am i should not be posting with one eye closed to see the screen!
    Warpedsystems has tested a least half of these, my Evga failed out of the box, i would normally let that slide but with all the 680i and 780i issues and failures over the years - beware. So i can not speak of the evga - i will say the 780i FTW is kick butt mobo!

    Asus is asus and 90% or so of my stuff i ship, i switched to the new P6t from the deluxe and have had some issues - i am sitll working on the P6T tonight as i type. Opps- my jr tech set the blk to 180 and over clocked the QPI to max - i think he smoked the mobo ran amd cpu = its first in 5 years if so?

    Some did not make it? no gigabyte? gigabyte is really pushing on asus for number one - really! Ya, all the evga fans are what? I can say how many evga mobos break and fail: pci-e slot fail, pressure around the cpu mounting failure, lock ups - evga lock ups are just accepted as part of life! We all know that evga error code!

    I have to say the gigabyte and the higher end asus deluxe version sure seem a lot more reliable for 4ghz systems - again - we only took 1 evga and it locked up and i said "that is it the last time" - the FTW 780i gives me faith evga will come around on x58.

    what ever you do - do not oc the blk and QPI - poof!

    nice stuff THG!
    1
  • Crashman
    dragonsprayerhey guys good info - its 4am i should not be posting with one eye closed to see the screen!Warpedsystems has tested a least half of these, my Evga failed out of the box, i would normally let that slide but with all the 680i and 780i issues and failures over the years - beware. So i can not speak of the evga - i will say the 780i FTW is kick butt mobo!Asus is asus and 90% or so of my stuff i ship, i switched to the new P6t from the deluxe and have had some issues - i am sitll working on the P6T tonight as i type. Opps- my jr tech set the blk to 180 and over clocked the QPI to max - i think he smoked the mobo ran amd cpu = its first in 5 years if so?Some did not make it? no gigabyte? gigabyte is really pushing on asus for number one - really! Ya, all the evga fans are what? I can say how many evga mobos break and fail: pci-e slot fail, pressure around the cpu mounting failure, lock ups - evga lock ups are just accepted as part of life! We all know that evga error code!I have to say the gigabyte and the higher end asus deluxe version sure seem a lot more reliable for 4ghz systems - again - we only took 1 evga and it locked up and i said "that is it the last time" - the FTW 780i gives me faith evga will come around on x58.what ever you do - do not oc the blk and QPI - poof!nice stuff THG!


    One of the companies forgot to send a board and didn't respond in time to the reminder...see the introduction of the article. What makes you think that company wasn't Gigabyte?
    0
  • Anonymous
    Which ASUS board was actually tested - the plain "P6T" or "P6T SE?" There are subtle differences, like JMB322 in P6T but not in P6T SE. Also, some difference in e.g. back panel IO and advertised overclocking capabilities.
    Judging from the feature list, the board was plain P6T, but all pictures seem to be of P6T SE.
    0
  • Crashman
    RipaWhich ASUS board was actually tested - the plain "P6T" or "P6T SE?" There are subtle differences, like JMB322 in P6T but not in P6T SE. Also, some difference in e.g. back panel IO and advertised overclocking capabilities.Judging from the feature list, the board was plain P6T, but all pictures seem to be of P6T SE.


    http://media.bestofmicro.com/7/3/192063/original/asus_p6t_kit.jpg
    2
  • wicko
    Sadly, none of the good mobos in this review are sub 300$ in Canada.. what a damn ripoff.
    0
  • hardwarekid9756
    Could you expound on "Catastrophic Failure?" I'd be interested to know what all went wrong in the fray. I've been using an ASRock Mobo recently, and noticed it full-out sucked at Overclocking when compared to my MSI board, so I'd like to know what exactly caused the thing to bomb out.
    0
  • salavat23
    No Gigabyte.

    Sorry, but you can't make a good review without including one of the top manufacturers of X58 motherboards.
    -8
  • salavat23
    No Gigabyte.

    Sorry, but you can't make a good review without including one of the top manufacturers of X58 motherboards.
    -15
  • msdx_bizkit
    Gigabyte EX58-UD3R and MSI X58 Pro are the cheapest X58 motherboards out there at the moment. (~250$ CAD - NCIX) Could you guys give me your input on those two particuliar boards?

    I am not the extreme overclocking kinda guy. In fact, I still am running on default settings on my Core 2 Duo E6750. I don't plan to overclock over 3,2Ghz on my new 920, if I ever do overclock.

    Neither boards support SLI, but I'd be interrested in a dual Radeon 4870 1GB Crossfire config.

    Thanks in advance
    0
  • daft
    i was just wondering if the "more on this topic" could be omitted in future articles, i like to skip to the conclusion in the mornings and its annoying to hit more on this topic and get a little window than to go to the conclusion
    0
  • Anonymous
    where is my GIGABYTE 1366 EX58-UD4P? supports crossfire and it's cheap
    -1
  • Crashman
    salavat23No Gigabyte. Sorry, but you can't make a good review without including one of the top manufacturers of X58 motherboards.


    Tell that to Gigabyte.
    5
  • theloser
    salavat23No Gigabyte. Sorry, but you can't make a good review without including one of the top manufacturers of X58 motherboards.


    No salavat23. Sorry but you can't make a good reader without reading the introduction.
    6
  • hellwig
    What happens when 4 PCIe x16 slots share two sets of x16 lanes? I mean, if I plug an x1 card into a secondary slot, is it going to reduce my graphics card in the primary slot down to x8 lanes? So in other words, if I have two GPUs in the two primary slots, and I want to plug in a x1 PCIe TV Tuner, its going to reduce one of the GPUs down to x8? Seems to me they should have made one of those PCI slots a x1 PCIe.
    0
  • MotorMouth
    msdx_bizkitGigabyte EX58-UD3R and MSI X58 Pro are the cheapest X58 motherboards out there at the moment. (~250$ CAD - NCIX) Could you guys give me your input on those two particuliar boards?I am not the extreme overclocking kinda guy. In fact, I still am running on default settings on my Core 2 Duo E6750. I don't plan to overclock over 3,2Ghz on my new 920, if I ever do overclock.Neither boards support SLI, but I'd be interrested in a dual Radeon 4870 1GB Crossfire config.Thanks in advance


    I have the P6T and love it. 3.8 GHz using DDR3 1333 RAM. All I need to do is change these settings:

    Ai Overclock Tuner: Manual
    CPU Ratio: Auto
    Intel Speed Step: Disable
    Bclk: 190
    DRAM: DDR3- 1523
    DRAM: Bus 1.66

    That's all that you need to do to get 3.8 GHz out of it. Works like a charm.
    0
  • nevadarain72
    hardwarekid9756Could you expound on "Catastrophic Failure?" I'd be interested to know what all went wrong in the fray. I've been using an ASRock Mobo recently, and noticed it full-out sucked at Overclocking when compared to my MSI board, so I'd like to know what exactly caused the thing to bomb out.


    Agreed. While manufacturers not meeting the deadline is somewhat annoying, I'd really like to know which brand, and especially which motherboard model had the spectacular failure. I'm about to buy components for a Core i7 build, and knowing which one had issues would add some piece of mind to the decision.

    Tom's guys, can you help us readers out on on this?
    0
  • harlequin6791
    I find it very interesting that review after review on just about every other site are GLEAMING about the Asrock X58. Everyone has been pleasantly surprised by the fact a budget board maker could make one of the top overclockers on their tests. This was a consistent theme it seemed.

    I'm curious what's the difference between their reviews and the ones here?
    0
  • harlequin6791
    I'm hoping Toms just got a bad batch of boards because mine is waiting at home for it's new case to arrive.

    As for the reviews here you go..

    http://www.motherboards.org/reviews/motherboards/1861_16.html
    http://www.thinkcomputers.org/index.php?x=reviews&id=943&page=11
    http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/1761/13/asrock_x58_supercomputer_motherboard/index.html

    I guess my concern is who is right??
    0
  • cangelini
    harlequin6791I find it very interesting that review after review on just about every other site are GLEAMING about the Asrock X58. Everyone has been pleasantly surprised by the fact a budget board maker could make one of the top overclockers on their tests. This was a consistent theme it seemed.I'm curious what's the difference between their reviews and the ones here?


    From my discussions with Thomas, it seemed that this board was solid until you started overclocking it, after which we had two different boards burn up. Thomas can clarify, though.
    0
  • ART-T
    Tom's; I know there are more MB manufacturer's out there. I don't expect you (or anyone) to do all of them. It may be that I am about to mention 1 of the 3 you said died. But what about the Intel board DX58SO.

    I would really love to know where the Intel board stacks up in this.
    0