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X58 On A Budget: Seven Sub-$200 Core i7 Boards

Overclocking

BIOS Frequency And Voltage Settings For Overclocking
 ASRock X58 ExtremeAsus P6T SEECS X58B-A
CPU Base Clock100 - 300 MHz (1 MHz)100 - 500 MHz (1 MHz)133 - 511 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU MultiplierYesYesNo
DRAM Data RatesBCLK x6 - x16 (x2)BCLK x6 - x16 (x2)BCLK x6- x12 (x2)
PCIe Clocks50 - 150 MHz (1 MHz)100 - 200 MHz (1 MHz)100 - 200 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.84 - 2.00V (6.25 mV)0.85 - 2.10V (6.25mV)0.50 - 1.60V (6.25mV)
Uncore Voltage1.20 - 1.90V (70mV)1.20 - 1.90V (6.25mV)+481mV (12.5mV)
IOH Core1.10 - 1.49V (6.25mV)1.10 - 1.70V (20mV)+693mV (11mV)
ICH Core1.12 - 1.56V (20mV)1.10 - 1.40V (10mV)+150mV (50mV)
DRAM Voltage1.56 - 2.00V (15mV)1.50 - 2.46V (20mV)+945mV ((15mV)
CAS Latency6 - 11 Cycles3 - 11 Cycles3 - 11 Cycles
tRCD3 - 15 Cycles3 - 10 Cycles3 - 15 Cycles
tRP3 - 15 Cycles3 - 10 Cycles3 - 15 Cycles
tRAS9 - 31 Cycles3 - 31 Cycles9 - 30 Cycles
BIOS Frequency And Voltage Settings For Overclocking
 Foxconn FlamingBladeGigabyte EX58-UD3RJetway BI-600MSI X58 Pro-E
CPU Base Clock66 - 500 MHz (1 MHz)100 - 1200 MHz (1 MHz)133 - 500 MHz (1 MHz)133 - 400 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU MultiplierYesYesYesYes
DRAM Data RatesBCLK x6 - x16 (x2)BCLK x6 - x18 (x2)BCLK x6 - x16 (x2)BCLK x6 - x16 (x2)
PCIe ClockNot Adjustable90 - 150 MHz (1 MHz)Not Adjustable100 - 200 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore+1260mV (10mV)0.50 - 1.90V (6.25mV)0.80 - 1.55V (10mV)-0.32 - +0.63V (10mV)
Uncore Voltage+1260mV (10mV)1.08 - 2.02V (20mV)Not Adjustable0.88 - 1.83V (10mV)
IOH Core1.10 - 2.36V (20mV)1.0 - 2.0V (20mV)1.10 - 1.25V (50mV)0.80 - 2.35V (10mV)
ICH Core1.40 - 1.80V (12mV)0.92 - 2.38V (20mV)Not Adjustable0.70 - 2.13V (10mV)
DRAM Voltage1.50 - 2.86V (10mV)1.30 - 2.60V (20mV)1.50 - 1.65V (25mV)1.20 - 2.477V (10mV)
CAS Latency5 - 15 Cycles6 - 15 Cycles3 - 18 Cycles6 - 12 Cycles
tRCD5 - 15 Cycles1 - 15 Cycles3 - 15 Cycles3 - 15 Cycles
tRP5 - 15 Cycles1 - 15 Cycles3 - 15 Cycles3 - 15 Cycles
tRAS10 - 31 Cycles1 - 31 Cycles9 - 30 Cycles9 - 31 Cycles

Most enthusiasts are unwilling to settle for the hardware manufacturers desire to sell us at the prices they want us to pay, a fact that makes overclocking stability a big factor in many of our purchasing decisions. Let’s see how the “cheap” boards stack up.

Anyone willing to cope with a few limitations, such as its support for a maximum of three memory modules, will find Foxconn’s FlamingBlade an exceptional overclocker, while those looking for more traditional features should be able to appreciate the MSI X58 Pro-E’s close second place. Jetway’s BI-600 was limited by issues discussed in its page-eight description.

A difference of two megahertz puts the ECS X58B-A ahead of most contenders in achievable base clock.

Foxconn and Gigabyte had the highest memory clocks, but fall to the bottom of our chart due to their inability to support six modules. While either of those motherboards would make a good choice for anyone who will never use more than one matched set of memory, the MSI X58 Pro-E forges ahead in a six-DIMM configuration.

  • midnightgun
    If I am not mistaken, the reason the Asus P6T SE is so cheap is because it does not support SLI, only supports Crossfire. Is that not correct?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    9477978 said:
    If I am not mistaken, the reason the Asus P6T SE is so cheap is because it does not support SLI, only supports Crossfire. Is that not correct?

    At the time the review was written, the P6T SE web page read that it supported SLI. Perhaps Asus changed the web page following a complaint?

    The big difference between the P6T SE and the P6T is the missing Jmicron SATA multiplier. By removing it, Asus killed the pathway that went to it, leaving the JMB363 controller with a "dead port".
    Reply
  • midnightgun
    Perhaps. I have had my eye on this board since I started planning my eventual upgrade to i7/i5 architecture (MSI and Gigabyte as well). I know on ncix's forums (canada's equivalent to newegg in the states) the P6T SE had been listed as only crossfire since at least mid May.
    Reply
  • midnightgun
    Anywho, thanks for the review. Interesting read.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    midnightgunPerhaps. I have had my eye on this board since I started planning my eventual upgrade to i7/i5 architecture (MSI and Gigabyte as well). I know on ncix's forums (canada's equivalent to newegg in the states) the P6T SE had been listed as only crossfire since at least mid May.
    I never trust a seller as a source: Asus listed the P6T SE as having SLI support as little as four weeks ago, and now has a completely different page for it. They weren't the only company that advertised SLI capability and leave out the bridge, but it now appears the former P6T SE web page must have been an error, probably from the company copying its P6T page and editing it for the P6T SE, but missing one detail.
    Reply
  • anamaniac
    Personally I will (atleast attempting to now) head straight for the Foxconn Bloodrage with a i7 920 and 3 ddr3 1333 sticks (and give them good timings, ignoring bandwidth and attempting a lower voltage) and a 4870 1gb (due to them being quite cheap now). =D
    Though first on my priority list is a better monitor (and rent).

    Neat article regardless.
    Reply
  • ceteras
    What an inspiring name for the Foxconn mainboard... looks like it's a corporate culture thing.

    I've skipped the Foxconn page, wouldn't buy from them anyway.
    Reply
  • Onus
    Interesting read. If I were going to build an i7 rig for myself, that ASRock would probably be my choice. I'm not thrilled about the VRM heating up so much, but I only do low-moderate overclocks so it ought to be ok. The feature set of that board looks suitable.
    Reply
  • gxpbecker
    I am kinda surprised that the ECS board held its own against these "sronger" boards. From my past experieces ECS has been the walmart brand of mobos. :)
    Reply
  • Ryun
    Question: Is the Asrock board able to go into S3 state/Standby mode? The one board I got from Asrock would not and after emailing their tech support they responded by saying that their boards do not support S3 state.
    Reply