Mainstream Or Hardcore? Two X58 Motherboards Compared


What did we learn from comparing the fully-loaded BigBang Xpower with the more modest X58 Pro-E? Both are perfect examples for two very different market segments—hardcore enthusiast and solid mainstream. We could have also made this comparison with an Asus Rampage III Extreme and a P6T, or with Gigabyte’s X58A-UD9 and a UD4 motherboards. Any of these comparisons would have yielded very similar results as to whether or not it makes sense to purchase an overkill motherboard. This shootout sets a $300+ product against an $180 one. Alternatively, you might view it as as reason against ego.

The BigBang Xpower is superior to the X58 Pro-E, in every way except for performance. It provides many more features, extras, overclocking flexibility, settings, and power inputs. You also get more connectivity through six PCI Express slots, USB 3.0, eSATA, SATA 6Gb/s, better multi-GPU graphics support for CrossFireX and SLI, a more sophisticated audio solution, presumably better-quality components, more advanced and more efficient voltage regulation circuitry, and better power consumption behavior at stock speeds. Disregarding costs, you have no reason to avoid the BigBang Xpower. That $120 premium really provides a much bigger, um, bang.

However, the X58 Pro-E is not slower, because processor and chipset largely define performance. The more affordable board overclocks similarly, so long as you're using air cooling. It comes with all of the interfaces and flexibility most users want, and it also supports dual graphics cards. It can’t do SLI, USB 3.0, or SATA 6Gb/s, though, and it has higher idle power. Can you live with this?

Entry-level users will not buy either product, instead settling for more affordable platforms. Advanced users should look at purchasing the a motherboard in the X58 Pro-E price range, investing the saved money into an SSD, which will provide a more noticeable performance impact than overclocking processors that are already fast enough for 95% of applications and users. The remaining 5% will want to buy the BigBang Xpower or a board like it, either because they have the budget or they want the fastest and most advanced platform at any cost.