Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Platforms Compared

Conclusion

Averaging all gaming and application benchmarks for each motherboard provides a better perspective on overall performance leadership.

MSI may have performance leadership, but performance fanatics in this motherboard class will try overclocking for even larger performance gains. Gigabyte had the highest stable CPU speed, while DFI had the best overall (three and six DIMM) memory overclock. That certainly makes it difficult to pick a winner, especially when we consider that MSI and Asus got their first-place and second-place overall performance positions by setting the “standard” base clock at nonstandard speeds of 133.7 and 133.6 MHz. The overclock is tiny, but so is the lead.

But when motherboards are this close in performance and overclocking, should we even bother to pick a winner based on such simple factors? The most important consideration for most buyers will be how well each motherboard supports the hardware. If we were to rebuild our most recent System Builder Marathon Extreme PC, we’d chose the MSI Eclipse for its ability to hold our Quad-SLI configuration of two dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 graphics cards, add a PCIe x8 RAID card to its four-lane PCIe x16 slot, and still have two slots left for high-end audio and multimedia cards. If, on the other hand, we were to rebuild our earlier 3-way SLI SBM system, we’d chose the DFI LANParty UT X58-T3eH8 for its ability to hold those cards within the confines of a standard ATX case.

But while DFI and MSI might lead our above-ambient-cooling three-way and two-unit graphics scenarios, Gigabyte, Asus, and Foxconn are battling for supremacy in liquid nitrogen-cooled overclocking competitions.

We know from experience that our favorite components don’t always stand up to the stress of voltage and cooling extremes, and these three are the likely choices for enthusiasts who spend $300+ fully expecting to punish the hardware. This is where we can appreciate niche extras like the water block built into Gigabyte's board, the easily-found voltage contacts on the surface of Asus' offering, and the inclusion of just three memory slots on Foxconn's Blood Rage product.

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  • avatar_raq
    Nice review..For so long we waited for such comparison.
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  • FelixM
    Please: add FSX to the test!
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  • avatar_raq
    1. Why adding crossfire bridges when each and every ATI graphics card is shipped with one? When did mobos come with them anyway?
    2. Are the slots of DFI mobo made of UV reactive material? They look so to me
    3. One might think wider bios OC options take into consideration future CPUs but new CPUs usually require bios update, and then the manufacturer may improve the new bios. That said each mobo reviewed here has enough OC potential in its BIOS, question is: which one will endure extreme OC 24/7 for a long period? This is the one thing that can only tested retrospectively. Personally I had 2 cheap ASUS mobos (P35)and they both overclocked well and worked flawlessly.
    4. I see ASUS and Gigabyte mobos take the lead in most of the tests. ASUS has the lead in most games and better customer service in my country and GB having a water block for the NB.
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  • avatar_raq
    It would have been nice to mention the net prices of these motherboards to compare their value.
    Quick search on newegg gave the following (not counting the MIRs):
    ASUS ~400 USD (ooph!!)
    GB ~330
    DFI not found !
    EVGA ~270
    Foxconn not found !
    MSI ~350
    After putting everything into consideration I would go for the Gigabyte model if I have net shopping. Nevertheless from a value point of veiw the EVGA one wins since it's the cheapest of the "4" models whose price is found at newegg and the performance defecit is so small. This card do not even fit into the title of the article, it's not $300+ at the time being (perhaps it was so when they started preparing for this article).
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  • avatar_raq
    Update:
    DFI ~300 USD
    XFX ~290 USD (not included in the article)
    Foxconn: Still I can't find the blood rage on newegg.
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  • mi1ez
    Why are these companies giving the option of taking the PCIe freq to 200MHz?!
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  • LePhuronn
    Asus Rampage II Extreme: £321.99
    DFI Lan Party UT X58-T3EH8: £293.24
    EVGA X58 3X SLI: £241.49 (I think)
    Foxconn Bloodrage: £280.59
    Gigabyte EX58 Extreme: £264.49

    Prices from overclockers.co.uk

    Incidentally, isn't the Gigabyte EX58 Extreme the only board here that can handle 24GB of RAM? All other boards are capped at 12GB aren't they?

    Also, I'd suggest to Tom's to review this subject again - they've already mentioned mainstream board reviews, but personally I'd like to see the Asus P6T6 WS Revolution reviewed - always had good experiences with the Asus workstation boards so I'm very interested in this new one.
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  • Anonymous
    I think a determening factor could be less in the boards overclockability, and perhaps more in it's functions and price.

    Like, if I'm going to install WinXP or a 32 bit version of vista, having 3 ramslots is more then sufficient (3GB).
    If I want a server, install a 64 bit os, 6 slots (12-24GB) is rather a must.
    I probably won't use a server to play games, though some people might.

    Also pricepoint is a good factor to determine which board could be a snatch.

    Quality of capacitors and boardmaterial, as well as longetivity of hardware play a role in making one board win over another.

    There's no winner when a certain board manufacturer has increased performance for lower power, but when their boards die within their first year of use due to the use of bad components!
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  • zebzz
    I think unless your a gaming freak with lots of money or as ProDigit80 has stated that you want to use them for servers, then the current socket 775 and AM2 processors / and DDR2 memory are cheaper and provide the performance about 99.5% people need. Again its all down to specialised needs.
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  • Anonymous
    Nice
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  • swharth
    It's a pretty cool board. The only complaint I had was that the slots for the Dual GTX280 cards were to close together. Not a lot of room for air circulation. I had to replace mine, and now using a DX58SO. Also a nice board, but missing the "WOW" factor.
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