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X58 In 2010: Four LGA 1366 Boards With USB 3.0 And SATA 6Gb/s

X58 In 2010: Four LGA 1366 Boards With USB 3.0 And SATA 6Gb/s
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The March 2010 launch of Intel's hexa-core Core i7-980X gave us a good reason to revisit the LGA 1366 interface. Today, we're looking at four new X58 Express-based motherboards that tie USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s support in to Intel's flagship platform.

Many people assume newer is better, but that’s not always true when it comes to processor interfaces. The high-end LGA 1366 platform launched with Intel’s Nehalem architecture in 2008, and the mainstream LGA 1156 platform that followed nearly a year later wasn’t designed to match the connectivity needs of a high-end market.

Yet, by the time new technologies like USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s were available to the public, the market was treating Intel’s high-end platform like a has-been, despite the fact that it continues to offer the PCI Express 2.0 needed for  both capabilities.

The problem with LGA 1156 is its lack of PCI Express 2.0 connectivity. Most gamers won't want to sacrifice any of the processor’s sixteen 5.0 Gb/s lanes for an add-in controller, since doing so steals bandwidth from the graphics card. And the PCI Express lanes that come from Intel's P55, H57, and H55 controller hubs only run at the PCIe 1.1 data rate, severely bottlenecking performance.

While some manufacturers initially tried to sneak away the graphics cards lanes, and others used a bridge device to connect four 2.5 Gb/s lanes to two 5.0 Gb/s controllers, true enthusiasts knew that the only “perfect” way to add those high-performance controllers would be to simply use a platform with more true PCI Express 2.0 connectivity.

Fortunately, X58 already has 36 PCIe 2.0 pathways, allowing up to 32 to be devoted to graphics, while four serve other needs. Those other needs can include 5.0 Gb/s USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s (at 5.0 Gb/s max). But X58 needed a new high-end processor to help thrust it back into the spotlight. That product came six weeks ago with the introduction of Intel’s six-core Core i7-980X processor.

Now that people are finally taking second (and third) looks at the X58, let’s see what these new-for-2010 motherboard’s have to offer.

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  • 3 Hide
    Tindytim , May 4, 2010 7:05 AM
    First Intel punishes me by not releasing a proper 32nm 920 replacement for the 1366, and then Tom's publishes this article only days after I purchase components for yet another 1366 build.

    I must be a BYOPC masochist.
  • 3 Hide
    Stardude82 , May 4, 2010 7:28 AM
    Nice to see that mobo makers aren't charging too much of a premium for USB 3.0 and SATA-6. On the other hand, what an embarrassing for ASRock just as I thought they were getting out the shadow of ASUS.

    I would have liked to see those new ports put to use on these boards...
  • 0 Hide
    omoronovo , May 4, 2010 7:36 AM
    I very recently decided to take the plunge in an i7-based build, and I chose the UD3R for it. I couldn't be happier - this little monster pushes my i7 to 4ghz stable on stock vcore.

    One thing I haven't seen anywhere though, but would like to, is the overclocking variance added through differing ram capacities. Even though I reached 4ghz on stock vcore, I had to push my QPI to 1.35 to keep the system stable with 6 modules installed. With 4 modules, this was reduced to 1.28, and with 3 it was around 1.24 and with only 2 I could run the QPI volts at 1.2.

    Perhaps an idea for an in-depth article at some point in the future Toms?
  • 1 Hide
    liquidsnake718 , May 4, 2010 8:19 AM
    Thank you TS. I think you may have built and benched my new computer. I see you still chose the 920 over the 930. Even before reading this article, I had my eyes on the UD3R because of the price and the decent features, save the sound card. However because of this article, I am going to reserve this mb and start building a newbie!

    The next step would be to see how these boards stack up using 6 cores and letting people know what power with 6 cores means using a 1 & a half year old motherboard. Although knowing that 6 cores, USB3.0 and SATA 6.0gb are a long way from being standard, it is by no means premature to have this board as one knows that they will be paying and buying for the long haul! The smartest ones do, and seeing as you guys chose the best parts for the price in terms of quality/performance, the UD3 is a perfect fit for a 5850 or maybe 2!

    You should send this article to someone at Intel and maybe they will want to soon follow the way of USB3.0 for their vanilla board! I guess these builds are the new standard for high end or borderline excellent.
  • -1 Hide
    anders_w , May 4, 2010 8:27 AM
    An error/typo in the table page 2?
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/x58-usb-3.0-sata-6-gbps,2614-2.html
    The table claims Asus P6X58D-E have Chipset S-ata 6 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s
    Should probably be 6 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s...
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , May 4, 2010 9:38 AM
    anders_wAn error/typo in the table page 2?http://www.tomshardware.com/review [...] 614-2.htmlThe table claims Asus P6X58D-E have Chipset S-ata 6 x SATA 6.0 Gb/sShould probably be 6 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s...


    Thanks.
  • 3 Hide
    C 64 , May 4, 2010 12:34 PM
    At first quick look at the picture I almost fell from my chair... a quad processor MB, but then I realized Tom had problems squeezing the MBs in the pic.
  • 1 Hide
    wa1 , May 4, 2010 12:44 PM
    nice...
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , May 4, 2010 12:48 PM
    zipzoomflyhighAnother X58 reviews. Just what we all wanted. NOT.

    Yeh, X58 is obviously exceeds your needs but there hasn't been much news on the Via Apollo Pro front.
  • 1 Hide
    abhishekk89 , May 4, 2010 1:56 PM
    i'd been planning on a p55 chipset + i5 750... now i'm thinking of i7 930 + gigabyte ud3r
  • 0 Hide
    vvhocare5 , May 4, 2010 2:20 PM
    why oh why would anyone buy Asrock???
  • -7 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , May 4, 2010 2:32 PM
    vvhocare5why oh why would anyone buy Asrock???

    same reason people buy asus .... ignorance
  • 2 Hide
    ta152h , May 4, 2010 2:55 PM
    vvhocare5why oh why would anyone buy Asrock???


    Obviously, this board doesn't have intended performance. So, as is, probably very few would, but, once fixed, it's got a very good chance of being successful. Price is a very important consideration, and when you have USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s to go with it, it's got all the "headline" stuff at a low price.

    Keep in mind that motherboards are also sold to OEMs, who can make more of these features on their specific models.

    Put another way, assuming they will fix this motherboard (which is a very safe assumption, I think), would you rather have someone waste money on brain-damaged P55 motherboard, or spend the $200 on an x58 and still get USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s ? If you only need a basic machine, the 32nm LGA1156 processors are fine, but for a serious machine, x58 does have a lot of advantages and far fewer compromises.
  • 0 Hide
    Sihastru , May 4, 2010 3:03 PM
    AsRock is one of the manufacturers that is best to be avoided, anyway, the article is interesting at least in comparing the UD3R with the UD7, and while there is a price difference, there isn't really any performance difference. UD3R should also allow for OK overclocks, even if not quite on par with UD7... The small lead the Asus board has is because of it's almost 1MHz bus speed advantage.
  • -1 Hide
    gwolfman , May 4, 2010 3:07 PM
    Why didn't you test USB3.0 performance? USB3.0 can be (and probably is) implemented differently on each of the boards.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 4, 2010 3:25 PM
    Any specific reason the ASUS rampage III extreme wasnt included in this article?
  • 0 Hide
    zyzeast , May 4, 2010 4:20 PM
    I bought the UD3R when it first came out after doing a ton of research between it and an Asus board. I've had absolutely no regret since buying it. The board is packed with features and all the things it's missing from its bigger brother are features I don't need anyway. Glad to know that I made the right choice.
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , May 4, 2010 4:36 PM
    hahaha a friend of mine who i helped build his pc got the asus mobo for $180 a week ago cuz of coupon code and discount... so gigabyte can su** it lol
  • -1 Hide
    Talon , May 4, 2010 5:36 PM
    I think the Asrock may be the one to get reading other reviews. I have read no less than 3 other Asrock Extreme 3 reviews prior to this one and none of the other sites saw any noticable difference in performance like is seen here. Is it possible there is a more recent BIOS than was used in this review?

    Anyway, every other site has raved about the Asrock board especially factoring in cost with no mention at all of any performance hit. It's possible it is just the sample Tom's received?

    Anyway, now that I see this I will hold off on purchasing and give it a few more days to see if anything comes of this issue followup.However I tend to think something was amiss with this one instance of motherboard since everything else I've read has been "glowing".
  • 0 Hide
    steiner666 , May 4, 2010 6:20 PM
    i'm liking that Asus one, think i'll get that.
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