Asus P6X58D Premium ReviewGeekspeak411 - March 17, 2010
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The P6X58D Premium is equipped with an Intel LGA 1366 socket manufactured by Lotes. It, of course, interfaces with an X58 chipset, as seen in the name. The board is covered in fairly beefy heatsinks that should perform well with adequate airflow, even under overclocking pressure. All of the board’s heatsinks are connected via heatpipe with the socket, and the heatsinks have backplates installed for additional cooling and support under the Stack Cool 3+ branding. The P6X58D Premium features a 16+2 phase power design made up of 100% Japanese-made solid capacitors, which should provide more stability and performance potential while overclocking. Overall, the board takes on a very pleasing blue-hued paint job that will feel right at home in any case, all the way from entry level to enthusiast.
The I/O panel has all the connectivity you would expect on a board of this stature. Four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, an IEEE 1394 port (a notable inclusion), dual PS/2 ports for legacy keyboards and mice, as well as all the sound outputs you need; six 3.5mm stereo ports, a coaxial port, and an optical port. In between the PS/2 ports and the USB 3.0 ports is the Clear CMOS button; a must have on any board. Down below, there is quite the complement of expansion ports to boot. Going in order, we have the following: a PCIe 1x slot, a PCIe 16x slot, a PCI slot, a second PCIe 16x slot, a second PCI slot, and finally, a third PCIe 16x slot, giving full Tri-SLI support for benchmark crushers. All the boxes are checked here, and things are shaping up like we have a heavy-hitter on our hands.
As I stated before, the P6X58D Premium touts an Express Gate SSD, allowing it to boot into its own Linux Distro within seconds of powering on. This allows you to browse the web, check email, and play online games, among other functions. The chip that lets all of this happen is wedged between the second PCI and PCIe slots.
As with most motherboards, the bottom strip of the board has a plethora of additional connectivity that include headers for front panel audio, direct CD audio, an additional IEEE 1394 port, four additional USB 2.0 ports (bringing the total count to eight 2.0 ports, and two 3.0 ports), two SATA ports, the standard front panel connections, and built-in power and reset buttons, which are really nice to have. The onboard buttons allow you to run a bench setup without having to connect the front panel headers to power the rig up. From here, you can see the TurboV chip wedged in next to the battery - more on that later.
The right edge of the board contains more goodies in the form of eight SATA connections - four 90 degree SATA 3.0Gb/s ports, two straight SATA 3.0Gb/s, and two SATA 6.0Gb/s ports in white. The board is fully RAID compatible, which puts some very exciting 6.0Gb/s SSD configurations in mind. Moving up, there’s a 24-pin ATX power connector, both a 3-pin, and a 4-pin fan header, as well as the MemOK button. A notable exclusion, however, is an IDE port; there is none to be found here, rendering your IDE disk drives and HDDs useless. The MemOK feature is a pretty cool feature in itself; to reduce memory incompatibility, all you have to do is press the button and let the motherboard try out different memory settings in an effort to boot. Once it finishes and sets correct and compatible settings, the system will boot up just like normal; no scary BIOS changes necessary! Finally, you can see the six RAM slots, supporting up to 24GB of DDR3 2000MHz RAM.
The socket area is well distributed, staying low and out of the way around the socket. As I mentioned before, it is a Lotes LGA 1366 socket, supporting not only the current i7 processors, but also the incoming ‘Gulftown’ hexacore processors. You will have no issues mounting coolers here. The MOSFET, PCH, and VRM areas are all covered by large, heatpipe-connected heatsinks holding the Xtreme Phase branding. Asus' Xtreme design puts this board above competitors in a few different manners; the additional power phases allow for higher overclocks, the big heatsinks keep everything cool under pressure, and the extra chips that Asus includes, such as the MemOK! chip, either increase compatibility or performance, or both! This makes it a lot easier to recommend to potential buyers who otherwise could have been left cold by a bad experince. This implementation allows the market segment to be broadened and for designers to increase budgets on future components.
Looks Good! On to the software.