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Biostar TPower X58

X58 Roundup: Seven $200-300 Core i7 Boards
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Features and Layout

Biostar has made lots of noise in recent months about the overclocking capabilities of its motherboards, but before we put any claims to superiority to the test in a fair comparison we’ll first consider its more obvious characteristics.

The TPower X58 (also labeled T-Power X58) has three x16-length slots, but unlike many of its “mid-range” competition, this motherboard doesn’t come with 3-way SLI pretensions. Because the third PCIe 2.0 slots has only four PCIe lanes, placing it at the bottom isn’t a major concern even though it would require a special case to mount a double-thick graphics solution there. More practical uses would be a single-slot card for additional displays or a x8 RAID card, and performance fanatics might find it the perfect place for their Fusion-io ioDrive.

Moving its third x16-length slot to the bottom position allowed Biostar to spread its two full-bandwidth x16 slots apart by one additional space, allowing for improved ventilation around the top card’s fan intake when multiple cards are installed, such as 2-way SLI or Crossfire configurations.

Most of the layout is perfect for cable management, with highlights including traditional power and ultra ATA connector placement and improved FP-Audio header positioning. Previously seen on several generations of Gigabyte motherboards, Biostar has moved the front-panel connector significantly northward, putting it immediately forward of the rear-panel jacks for easier cabling to top-mounted and upper-bay front-panel connectors.

Our only major layout complaint is that the floppy connector, located under the bottom expansion slot, will be extremely hard to get to. The best solution for Windows XP users who want a floppy for loading AHCI or RAID drivers would be to use an extra-long flat cable and wrap it under the board, so that it can exit at the “proper” location in front of the TPower X58’s main power connector. That is, after all, where most cases have a 3.5” external bay.

One small caveat concerns the forward-facing SATA connectors, which point the cables towards the hard drive cage of most cases. This design is common enough now that most cases are designed with the needed space to plug cables here, but buyers will still need to pay close attention during case selection.

A Port 80 display is found just above the internal reset and power buttons, the combination of these making bench testing easier. Unfortunately, the display will be difficult to see when long graphics cards are installed in the second x16 slot.

Biostar TPower X58 (Revision 5.1)

Northbridge

Intel X58 Express

Southbridge

Intel ICH10R

Voltage Regulator

Twelve Phases

BIOS

080015 (01/15/2009)

133.3 MHz Base Clock

133.3 (+0.0%)

Clock Generator

Realtek RTM885N-914

Connectors and Interfaces

Onboard

3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (Modes: x16, x16, x4)

 

1 x PCIe x1

 

2 x PCI

 

2 x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)

 

1 x IEEE-1394 FireWire

 

1 x Ultra ATA (2 drives)

 

6 x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s

 

1 x Fan 4-pin (CPU)

 

2 x Fan 3-pins (Chassis, Power)

 

1 x Front Panel Audio connector

 

1 x CD-Audio In

 

1 x S/P-DIF Out

 

1 x Power Button

 

1 x Reset Button

 

1 x Port-80 Diagnostics Display

IO panel

1 x PS2 (keyboard)

 

8 x USB 2.0

 

1 x IEEE-1394 FireWire

 

2 x External SATA (eSATA) 3.0Gb/s

 

2 x Digital Audio Out (Coaxial + Optical)

 

2 x RJ45 Ethernet

 

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)

JMicron JMB363 PCIe

1 x Ultra ATA-133 (2-drives)

 

2 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s

Network

2x Realtek RTL8111C PCIe

Dual Gigabit LAN

Audio

Realtek ALC888S HD Audio Codec

Eight-Channel (7.1 Surround) Output

IEEE-1394 FireWire

Texas Instruments TSB43AB22A

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


Biostar’s unusual placement of a JMB363 Ultra ATA/SATA controller allowed the company to more easily put its Ultra ATA header at the top of the TPower X58’s front edge, for easier cabling to upper-bay devices such as legacy optical drives. The controller's SATA ports are both wired to rear-panel eSATA connectors. Combined bandwidth is limited to 2.5 Gb/s by the controller’s PCIe x1 connection

Unlike the added drive controller, both RTL8111C Gigabit network controllers get more than enough bandwidth from independent PCIe x1 lanes.

Supporting two 400 Mb FireWire ports, the TSB43AB22A controller needs nothing more than a legacy PCI connection.

An ALC888S codec interfaces Intel’s ICH10R HD Audio capabilities to provide up to 7.1-channel surround and independent front-panel stereo output simultaneously via multi-streaming technology.

Check prices for Biostar's TPower X58

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  • 1 Hide
    dragonsprayer , March 19, 2009 7:44 AM
    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!
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , March 19, 2009 10:42 AM
    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 Hide
    Anonymous , March 19, 2009 12:10 PM
    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.
  • 2 Hide
    Crashman , March 19, 2009 12:39 PM
    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
  • 0 Hide
    wicko , March 19, 2009 1:23 PM
    Sadly, none of the good mobos in this review are sub 300$ in Canada.. what a damn ripoff.
  • 0 Hide
    hardwarekid9756 , March 19, 2009 1:29 PM
    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.
  • -8 Hide
    salavat23 , March 19, 2009 2:33 PM
    No Gigabyte.

    Sorry, but you can't make a good review without including one of the top manufacturers of X58 motherboards.
  • 0 Hide
    msdx_bizkit , March 19, 2009 2:35 PM
    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 Hide
    daft , March 19, 2009 3:14 PM
    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
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 19, 2009 3:32 PM
    where is my GIGABYTE 1366 EX58-UD4P? supports crossfire and it's cheap
  • 5 Hide
    Crashman , March 19, 2009 3:33 PM
    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.
  • 6 Hide
    theloser , March 19, 2009 5:13 PM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , March 19, 2009 5:37 PM
    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 Hide
    MotorMouth , March 19, 2009 6:47 PM
    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 Hide
    nevadarain72 , March 19, 2009 7:36 PM
    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 Hide
    harlequin6791 , March 19, 2009 8:38 PM
    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 Hide
    harlequin6791 , March 19, 2009 8:47 PM
    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 Hide
    cangelini , March 19, 2009 10:49 PM
    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 Hide
    ART-T , March 19, 2009 11:12 PM
    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.
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