ASUS P6X58D-E Motherboard Review

RHKCommander959 - 2010-05-20 16:56:58 in Motherboards
Category: Motherboards
Reviewed by: RHKCommander959   
Reviewed on: August 9, 2010
Price: $239

Introduction:

Not all motherboards are created equal. Generally, manufacturers create one solid item and then chop features off of it to fit lower price points. This is true for more than motherboards too, as AMD processors have been having cores disabled for a while to fit price ranges; graphics cores have also had parts disabled to fill lower price segments. The same applies to hard drives with the number of platters, memory with the number of ICs, and other parts and pieces that can be tweaked to fit the bill. Occasionally, parts are upgraded from the base design, usually in cooling, power delivery, and clock rates. Another example of this are processors that have all the same specifications except part number and clock rate where the manufacturer has simply increased the multiplier and bumped the price up (or bumped it down and dropped the price).

This information applies to the ASUS P6X58D-E that is up for review here today, which looks identical to the ASUS P6X58D Premium but with some features removed. One LAN port is removed, the top heatsink no longer has a back plate, and two heat pipes are removed between the top two heatsinks and the Northbridge and Southbridge are separated. A reset button is removed from the board as well and the SATA 3.0 support chip was changed out and appears to be more robust.

The new motherboard from ASUS supports triple card configurations, one PCI Express x1 slot, and two PCI slots, which is a decent layout but may leave PCI users unhappy if they choose to use more than one graphics card. It has the standard six DIMM memory slots, typical for nearly all LGA 1366 X58 motherboards, and has the 24-pin power next to the memory slots and 8-pin power connector near the PS/2 port, similar to other board designs as well. ASUS has covered both the red and blue color schemes as well as some mixed up colors, with boards that look similar to other manufacturer boards. This gives consumers more choice, especially for those who want a certain color in their setup. The P6X58D-E has eight SATA ports with six of them 90° ports and two facing out from the motherboard. Overall it looks like it has the goods but we shall see when we test it!

Closer Look:

The box is most blue with some gray accents on it, a swooping metallic line separates the box in half and anchors a badge and four features upon itself. This board supports SATA 6Gb/s RAID where the Premium didn't support RAID. The motherboard also supports the new 6-core 32nm processors recently released by Intel. Also supported is USB 3.0 through a chip by NEC, the SATA 3.0 is supported by a Marvel 9128 chip. Both say True SATA/USB but I have to wonder as opposed to what exactly? The 16+2 Phase power design should allow the motherboard to overclock decently. Also it is more extreme to spell the word "Xtreme" wrong. Flipping the cover open shows for different colored blocks containing information about some of the features, and the "Xtreme" badge in the middle is the same as the one on the other side. Express gate is a feature that allows users to access the internet before logging into their operating system, in use I've never seen a need but it could come in handy when troubleshooting if you don't have any other means to the web. EPU is the ASUS version of power saving implementation and tries to modify the power levels being given to hardware to save energy. PCI Express 2.0 is explained in the blue box, and the ASUS Q-Design is explained in the orange box, "the Q-Slot, Q-Shield, and Q-Connector design speed up and simplify the DIY process!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next half of the fold-open inside has another four colored boxes explaining four more features and in design mirrors the other half. TurboV is the overclocking feature ASUS has implemented to allow real-time overclocking while in the operating system. A small chip near the CMOS battery is also labeled TurboV. MemOK! is a button on the motherboard near the edge by the memory slots and forces the motherboard to set speeds that should be fail-safe for installed memory allowing users to get into BIOS and set the memory up properly. The DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC explains that the board has surround sound capabilities that are adjustable. The 16+2 phase power design is explained lastly, 16-phase for the CPU vCore and 2-phase for the QPI (memory controller). This design is efficient at delivering proper power to the processor. The back side of the box reaffirms the features that were covered by the front and points out features on a picture of the motherboard. A gray band at the bottom has information in several languages about the SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.0, and TurboV features. ASUS contact information is at the bottom.

 

 

Finally opening the box we see a cardboard ledge that holds the accessories on the deep part and the manuals on the upper ledge. Removing the cardboard insert and items we can get a sneak peek at the motherboard through the transparent anti-static bag. A three-way SLI adapter, two-way SLI adapter, Q-Connectors for making it easier to connect motherboard wires (power, reset, HDD activity, and so on), I/O plate, six SATA cables, drivers disk and case badge, and lastly user guide are all included with the motherboard. A solid pack of items but nothing exciting, nonetheless enough to get most everyone up and running.

 

 

Time to get a closer look at the ASUS P6X58D-E!

Closer Look:

With the motherboard out of the box we can get a look at the layout. Everything seems like it is intelligently placed except perhaps the front panel audio connection in the bottom left corner. The power circuitry has heat sinks, the Northbridge and Southbridge both have decent heat sinks on them as well. Adding fans to all but the Southbridge heat sink should be pretty easy. The Northbridge heat sink has a piece that comes down into the PCI Express x1 slot area and reads "Xtreme Phase", with this piece of heat sink in the way and the closed-end x1 slot people will be limited to using x1 lane-length cards in this slot without modification, it is possible that with some modding on the end of the x1 slot that a x4 length card could be added. This is only significant if the x16 slots are being used for triple video card configurations or other items. The EPS 8-pin power connection is located at the top of the motherboard near the PS/2 port, and the 24-pin connection is at the edge next to the memory slots, both fairly standard positions for LGA 1366 motherboards. The CPU socket area is fairly open and the few capacitors remotely close are low profile and should make mounting large heat sinks, phase, Peltier, dry ice/liquid nitrogen pots, or other large based cooling blocks easy. Checking the back side we see that there is a back plate for the longer of the two upper heat sinks, it is important to have these as without a back plate typically the PCB will bend and cause the middle chips to not get cooled down. Other than that the standard Intel processor back plate is there, and we see that the chipset doesn't have a back plate either but it isn't nearly as important here since only one piece needs cooling rather than a row of parts and is thus easier to make contact with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Intel decided to go with a pin-less processor, they forced motherboard manufacturers to put them in the socket and this created the need for them to add protective caps to keep the pins from being damaged. Personally I found it easier to fix or unbend processor pins but I have yet to bend any motherboard pins so the idea might be working! The area around the socket is fairly open and should allow large based cooling solutions to readily mount to the processor even if it has been lapped. The memory slots are spaced normally, with three sticks of memory it should be easy to mount more extreme versions of memory cooling such as water. At the top of the motherboard is the MemOK! button that sets the memory to fail-safe speeds.

 

 

The motherboard I/o panel is similar to other motherboards with PS/2 port for mouse and keyboard, push-button CMOS clear switch, USB 3.0, SPDIF, USB 2.0, IEEE 1394 Firewire, LAN, and six ports for surround sound audio. The motherboard has eight SATA ports - six on 90° connections and two standing connections. The two white ones are the SATA 6.0Gb/s ports.

 

 

The Southbridge heatsink looks like anodized aluminum and uses plastic clips to attach to the motherboard. Next to the CMOS cell on the left is the TurboV chip. Two USB front panel ports are next to the two separate SATA ports. The front panel wires are at the very corner. An IEEE 1394 front panel port sits directly underneath the last PCI Express x16 slot, to the left is a patch where a buzzer could be installed. Further left is the on board power button - handy for testing the board without the case buttons hooked up or in a test bed. The left corner has the front panel audio which is a stretch for most cases to make. The board has three PCI Express x16 slots, one PCI Express x1 slot, and two PCI slots all of which are staggered to allow triple graphics card use while the top slot can be used with a RAID card, LAN card, or sound card.

 

 

The P6X58D-E had plenty of heatsinks installed - two for the power circuitry, one for the Northbridge and one for the Southbridge. All of it seems to be anodized aluminum and the two middle heatsinks are the only ones to use bolts, the other two use plastic push-pins. One of the two VRM heatsinks also gets a backplate to help stiffen the PCB from flexing and keep the middle electronics cool.

 

 

On to the software to get the board running!

Closer Look:

The driver disc comes with an automated program that organizes the programs and drivers available in six different pages. By default the last page, Specials, is shown and is the Express Gate feature. Using this feature it is possible to do internet, e-mail, file sharing, e-music, photos, and chat. The first page is the Drivers page, there is a button at the top with a wand labeled ASUS InstALL which installs all of them in express mode. Otherwise users can pick and choose which drivers to install, Norton Internet Security 2010 is also snuck in here instead of the utilities page coming up.

Some other utilities are snuck in such as the ASUS TurboV, ASUS EPU-6, and ASUS Express Gate programs, all of which aren't required to get the motherboard running and aren't really drivers. To the right of the EPU-6 and Express Gate are question marks that can be clicked to get more information through an instruction manual, information is also given when an item is highlighted. To the top right are three more buttons, MB, a CD picture, and a note. Clicking MB shows very basic information on the installed motherboard, the CD allows the CD content to be browsed, and the note lists the file contents of the CD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next is the Utilities page, on here are two programs for the Marvell hardware, three more for ASUS: ASUS Update, ASUS AI Suite, and ASUS PC PROBE II. Last included is Adobe Reader 9. The Make Disk page can create AHCI and RAID drivers on a disc for the Intel and Marvell SATA chipsets.

 

 

The Manual page has five different available user manuals in PDF format, all very generic but should help if the customer has any questions. Two are specifically from ASUS, the other three are from Realtek, Intel, and Norton. Lastly the Contact page has the address, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail address, and website for ASUS (AKA ASUSTeK).

 

 

The TurboV software is buggy, after trying to adjust the BCLK once, it resulted in a blue screen of death and upon reboot I found that the sliders had disappeared. Advanced mode has options for adjusting voltages to the motherboard parts. When loading TurboV it hides in the notification area until it is double clicked, and exiting out sends it back to the tray so to completely close the program one must crash it. This software could use some refining but after uninstalling TurboV and downloading the latest version it hasn't caused any crashing and has worked wonderfully since so it looks like ASUS has done some work since the release. This application could come in handy for on the fly overclocking and fine tuning the system.

 

 

The next program is the PC Probe II, it monitors voltages and temperatures and looks very similar to the BIOS hardware monitor. By default the windows are always on top but the setting can be changed, the diagnostics are all linked together unless the magnet button is clicked on a gauge to make it capable being moved separately. The X closes the gauge. The main window of the PC Probe II program can be shrunk by clicking the green side. DMI, PCI, and WMI all bring up similar windows of somewhat useless stuff most users won't need. It could probably be handy if someone wanted to dig for information to learn about their system. Mostly the gauges are handy, up to five fan speed gauges can also be enabled. Personally I would minimize the main program body, and keep only the gauges that are really important.

 

 

The last program is the EPU-6 software that is intended for lowering power consumption. Six devices are listed out with blue lights, and underneath there is a ticker that lists how much you have reduced CO2 emissions by using this program. The bottom left box is for mode settings, five ticks are selectable with the left being automated, the second is a rocket for the highest performance setting, jet plane for high performance, car for decent performance, and human for least performance but best energy savings.

This program can only be used at stock, and highlighting each tick will display another pentagonal figure showing how well each mode is suited for the five topics: Tranquility, Convenience, Energy Saved, Reliability, and Performance. Highlighting another tick will cause a blue overlap to display what you could be getting. Current CPU power consumption can be viewed by clicking the current tab.

 

 

BIOS time!

Closer Look:

The BIOS on the ASUS P6X58D-E is very simple and once accessed throws you right into the Main settings window. The Delete key is used to access the BIOS on boot up, or if there is an error detected like a failed overclock or pushing the MemOK! button will force users to hit F1 to load BIOS or F2 to attempt to continue boot up procedures. The main window allows users to change the system time and date, language, view any hardware installed in the six Intel SATA ports, and view system information. To the right are instructions on how to navigate the BIOS and what each option does. Otherwise the Main page is nothing juicy for overclocking enthusiasts, Ai Tweaker is where it is. This page is rather long and has everything needed to adjust speeds and voltages. The first chunk has CPU multiplier, memory multiplier, QPI, BCLK, and UCLK frequencies as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further down are all the voltage options for the CPU, memory, CPU QPI, and chipset, and Load-line calibration. CPU clock skew and amplitude are tucked in at the bottom as well. The next page is the Advanced page, which has five different tabs that can be opened. The first tab is CPU Configuration and shows CPU settings and features.

 

 

The CPU Configuration page shows the amount of L1, L2, and L3 cache, clock speed, BCLK speed, available multipliers, and has options to turn C1E, Virtualization, Hyper Threading, and other settings on or off. The next tab is the Onboard Devices Configuration and has options to enable or disable audio, LAN, IEEE 1394, and the SATA 6.0Gb/s outputs. Lastly is the USB Configuration tab that allows the USB 2.0 and 3.0 controllers to be turned off or to change their modes. The connected devices are also listed.

 

 

Since the BIOS is so massive, it gets two pages. Read on to see the rest of the BIOS.

Closer Look:

Continuing off of the last page in this review, it is time for the Power BIOS page. Different power modes can be set here, and the current operating conditions can be examined under the Hardware Monitor tab. The APM configuration tab has all of the Power On option, for example in event of power failure you can have the system reboot (useful for home servers, Folding@Home, and other automated systems). Users can also set it to boot off of an alarm, PCI device input, PCI-E input, and the PS/2 keyboard or mouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening the Hardware monitor takes a few moments as it reads the data but don't panic and assume it has frozen, it will load after a short wait. Fan control options are here for the CPU and case fans, the CPU fan has four options for fan speeds while the chassis fans only share three. One of the options for the CPU fan speed is manual mode where a user can set up a fan profile so that it operates at a certain speed between load and idle, lower CPU speed is unchangeable at this time and defaults to 40°C. Fan speed is reported underneath the CPU and Northbridge temperatures, with the four main voltages at the bottom. Enough information to get a good idea how everything is running. The boot page has boot and hard disk prioritizing options. Boot settings are also available.

 

 

The boot settings include Quick boot, Full screen logo, Num-lock on or off on boot, Wait for F1 on boot error, and the ability to turn the Delete key to get into BIOS message off or on. The tools page has the ASUS EZ Flash 2 which simplifies updating the BIOS by allowing means other than a floppy drive to be used for updating the BIOS. Express Gate can be disabled here as well, and ASUS O.C. Profile and AI NET 2 are also accessible. The O.C. profile tab can save or load custom settings so that users can make sure they don't lose their favorite settings after changing the BIOS settings.

 

 

Time to show off the specifications and features!

Specifications:

CPU
Intel® Socket 1366 Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition/Core™ i7 Processor
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology
Chipset
Intel® X58 / ICH10R 
System Bus
Up to 6400 MT/s ; Intel® QuickPath Interconnect
Memory
6 x DIMM, Max. 24 GB, DDR3 2000(O.C.)*/1600/1333/1066 Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Triple channel memory architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
*Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs.
*Refer to www.asus.com or this user manual for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lidts).
Expansion Slots
3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (at x16/x8/x8 or x16/x16/x1 mode)
1 x PCIe x1
2 x PCI
Multi-GPU Support
Supports NVIDIA® 3-Way SLI™ Technology
Supports ATI® Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology
Storage
Intel ICH10R controller
6 xSATA 3.0 Gb/s ports
Intel Matrix Storage Technology Support RAID 0,1,5,10
Marvell® 9128 PCIe SATA 6Gb/s controller (Drive Xpert Technology)
- 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports (gray)
- Supports EZ Backup and SuperSpeed functions
LAN
Gigabit LAN controller Marvell 88E8056® PCIe Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET2
Audio
Realtek® ALC889 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC
- BD audio layer Content Protection
- Supports Jack-Detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-Retasking
- Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O
IEEE 1394
VIA® VT6308P controller 2 x 1394a port(s) (one at mid-board; one at back panel)
USB
NEC® USB 3.0 controller
- 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (at back panel)
Intel® ICH10R Southbridge
- 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports at midboard; 4 ports at back panel)
ASUS Unique Features
True USB 3.0 Support
True SATA 6Gb/s RAID Support
ASUS Xtreme Design
ASUS Xtreme Phase
- ASUS 16+2 Phase Power Design
ASUS Exclusive Overclocking Features
- ASUS TurboV
ASUS Exclusive Features
- MemOK!
- ASUS EPU
- Express Gate
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution
- ASUS Fanless Design: Heat-pipe solution
- ASUS Fanless Design: Stack Cool 3+
- ASUS Fan Xpert
ASUS Crystal Sound
- ASUS Noise Filter
ASUS EZ DIY
- ASUS Q-Design: Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-Connector
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
- ASUS MyLogo 2
- Multi-language BIOS
Overclocking Features
Intelligent overclocking tools
- ASUS TurboV
Precision Tweaker 2
- vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.00625V increment
- vCPU PLL: 36-step reference voltage control
- vDRAM Bus : 49-step DRAM voltage control
- vChipset(N.B.) : 31-step chipset voltage control
- vNB-PCIe : 65-step chipset-PCIe voltage control
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
- PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 180MHz at 1MHz increment
- Internal Base Clock tuning from 100MHz up to 500MHz at 1MHz increment
Overclocking Protection
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x LAN(RJ45) port
8 -Channel Audio I/O
1 x PS/2 Keyboard (Purple)
1 x PS/2 mouse port (Green)
1 x Clear CMOS button
1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output
1 x Optical S/PDIF Output
2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
Internal I/O Ports
2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s connectors (gray)
6 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s connectors (blue)
2 x USB connectors support additional 4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 x CPU Fan connector
3 x Chassis Fan connectors (1 x 4-pin, 2 x 3-pin)
1 x Power Fan connector
1 x IEEE1394a connector
Front panel audio connector
1 x S/PDIF Out Header
1 x CD audio in
24-pin ATX Power connector
8-pin ATX 12V Power connector
System Panel(Q-Connector)
1 x MemOK! Button
1 x Power on switch
BIOS
16 Mb Flash ROM , AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI 2.0, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.3, ACPI 2.0a, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
Manageability
WfM 2.0,DMI 2.0,WOL by PME,WOR by PME,PXE
Accessories
User's manual
4 x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s cables
2 x Serial ATA 6.0Gb/s cables
ASUS Q-Shield
2 in 1 Q-connector
1 x ASUS 3-Way SLI bridge connector
1 x ASUS SLI bridge connector
Support Disc
Drivers
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
ASUS Update
ASUS Utilities
Form Factor
ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

 

Features:

All information courtesy of ASUS @ http://usa.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=gFBKfNyhppW9tDbB&templete=2

Testing:

Testing the ASUS P6X58D-E is done by the standardized OverclockersClub regime of tests - mainly benchmarks with real world testing done as well with WinRAR and Excel. Most of the testing targets the motherboard and components on it but a few video tests are thrown in as well to see if it works well with the graphics system. Memory is kept as close to stock as possible, even when I proceed to overclock the board. In overclocking I will push the motherboard to near the limits, but keeping it stable and healthy. I will not try for a suicide overclock since most people are more interested in achieving a stable speed.

 

Test Setup:

 

Comparison Boards:

 

 

Overclocking:

Overclocking the ASUS P6X58D-E was simple once I realized it didn't like the XMP profile of the Mushkin Redlines with the default BIOS v108. To keep the board happy I had to run the memory at 7-7-7-20, with an update to v303 it was able to run the XMP profile just fine. Manually setting the BCLK, CPU multiplier, memory speed, CPU/QPI/memory voltage, turning off Speed Step, and a few other minor settings were all that were needed and then some to get past 200 BCLK - the number needed to get 4GHz without the extra turbo multiplier on a i7 920. The motherboard was perfectly stable and ran warm but not hot enough to worry me. Much over 200 BCLK took tweaking and was successful as I went past 205 but required more work than 200. Using the turbo multiplier users with a i7 920 could easily pass 4.2GHz with proper cooling but since I was using air cooling this time I had to drop the CPU multiplier to 19. This processor has seen as high as 4.7 GHz on liquid cooling so I have no doubt with better cooling it could have used the higher multiplier. Nonetheless the ASUS board happily passed the magic 200 BCLK mark and was tested as such at 205x19. Overclocking was very simple.

 

 

 

 

Benchmarks:

  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Office 2007 Excel Number Crunch
  4. POV Ray 3.7
  5. Bibble 5
  6. Sandra XII
  7. ScienceMark 2.02
  8. Cinebench 10 & 11.5
  9. HD Tune 3.50
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  3. Batman Arkham Asylum
  4. 3DMark Vantage

Testing:

The first part of our testing will be the system specific benchmarks.

 

Let's get started with Apophysis. This program is used primarily to render and generate fractal flame images. We will run this benchmark with the following settings:

 

 

The measurement used is time to render, in minutes, to complete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower is Better

 

WinRAR is a tool to archive and compress large files to a manageable size. We will use 100MB and 500MB files to test the time needed to compress these files. Time will be measured in seconds. Additionally, I will use the built in benchmark as a comparison.

 

ZIP:

Lower is Better

 

RAR:

Lower is Better

 

Geekbench:

 

Apophysis results lined up well, the MSI Eclipse SLI motherboard has a slightly higher CPU overclock so the gains are reflected in the respected charts. The WinRAR testing has a few anomalies but otherwise shows similar performance from the three motherboards. Geekbench has the ASUS and Gigabyte motherboards neck and neck, while the MSI scores just a little more.

Testing:

Office 2007 Excel Big Number Crunch: This test takes a 6.2MB Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and performs about 28,000 sets of calculations that many of the most commonly used calculations in Excel. The measure of this test is how long it takes to refresh the sheet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower Is Better

 

POV Ray 3.7: This program features a built in benchmark that renders an image using Ray Tracing. The latest versions offer support for SMP (Symmetric Multiprocessing) enabling the workload to be spread across the cores for a quicker completion.

 

Higher Is Better

 

PCMark Vantage x64 is used to measure complete system performance. We will be running a series of tests to gauge performance of each individual CPU to see which CPU, if any, rises above the others.

 

 

Excel and POV Ray numbers are very close again, while the ASUS and Gigabyte motherboards score similarly in PCMark Vantage with the MSI leading them greatly.

Testing:

SiSoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. Sandra allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful. For this benchmark, I will be running a broad spectrum of tests to gauge the performance of key functions of the CPUs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Processor Arithmetic

 

 

 

Multi-Core Efficiency

   

   

 

Memory Bandwidth

 

 

 

Memory Latency

 

 

Cache and Memory

 

 

 

Physical Disks

   

   

 

Power Management Efficiency

 

 

SiSoft Sandra shows very little difference between the test setup and it makes sense since the hardware is similar and all have the same X58 chipset.

Testing:

ScienceMark tests real world performance instead of using synthetic benchmarks. For this test, we ran the benchmark suite and will use the overall score for comparison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

 

 

 

Higher is Better

 

CineBench 10 is useful for testing your system, CPU, and OpenGL capabilities using the software program CINEMA 4D. We will be using the default tests for this benchmark.

 

 

Higher is Better

 

CineBench 11.5 is the latest iteration of this popular benchmark that features a new look to the interface. This test now has a simple GPU and CPU test built in.

 

Higher is Better

 

HD Tune measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers.

 

 

Higher is Better

 

 

 

Lower is Better

 

Scores in Sciencemark and Cinebench 10 and 11.5 all have similar results, although as expected the slightly higher overclock on the MSI motherboard gives it a slightly higher score. HD Tune results are slightly different.

Testing:

Far Cry 2:

Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation First Person Shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main storyline of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km squared of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To start out the gaming tests the P6X58D-E delivers a slightly higher level of performance but is not game changing different.

Testing:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the latest iteration of the venerable first-person shooter series, Call of Duty. Despite its long, successful pedigree, the game is not without substantial criticism and controversy, especially on the PC. Aside from the extremely short campaign and lack of innovation, the PC version's reception was also marred by its lack of support for user-run dedicated servers, which means no user-created maps, no mods, and no customized game modes. You're also limited to 18-player matches instead of the 64-player matches that were possible in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Despite all this, the game has been well received and the in-house IW 4.0 engine renders the maps in gorgeous detail, making it a perfect candidate for OCC benchmarking. You start off the single player missions playing as Private Allen and jump right into a serious firefight. This is the point where testing will begin. Testing will be done using actual game play with FPS measured by Fraps.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scores are still similar with Modern Warfare 2 wavering under 3%, which could be chocked up to chance, rounding, and how many resources Windows was using during the test runs along with numerous other reasons.

Testing:

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter foes, The Joker and Batman. The Joker Has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to rein the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to ply your trade.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batman Arkham Asylum scores were extremely close, usually wavering only 1 FPS difference and only in one graph did they vary slightly more.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest is started. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3DMark06 continues the trend that the other graphical tests have shown, motherboards have little influence on gaming performance. At the default settings all three motherboards nearly surpassed 20K and with a good overclock all of them went past 23k!

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. 'Entry' is 1024x768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.

 Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last benchmark, 3DMark Vantage finishes off the trend where any of these X58 based motherboards perform similarly in the conditions we tested them in.

Conclusion:

Overall, this motherboard had everything I would look for in most LGA 1366 motherboards; it can handle triple card configurations, has eight SATA slots, all six memory slots unlike some boards with three, clean open CPU socket, solid chipset cooling, and a matching color scheme with no random orange or green pieces anywhere. The price is a lot lower than the Premium version, which apparently doesn't support RAID on the SATA 6Gb/s ports, and is only really missing one LAN port and a reset button otherwise. To be able to hit the settings that would allow 4GHz on the first try is a good indication of how well this motherboard can overclock too! Another nice feature is that it is 32nm CPU ready so consumers won't have to deal with trying to flash the BIOS to enable support.

The only major cons were that it threw a fit while trying to use the XMP profile of the memory. When I manually updated the BIOS the board was well on its way to overclocking with the proper timings. The other problem was the buggy TurboV software that caused a BSOD at the first attempt to use it to overclock and then it didn't work at all until the uninstalling and swapping to the latest released version, which worked perfectly and allowed for several settings to be changed in Windows rather than the BIOS.

This motherboard provided good, clean, and reliable service. It was easy to overclock and went past 205 BCLK with minimal effort. Temperatures were always good on all the heatsinks, and performance was normal for a motherboard. The price is right and the performance was great!

 

Pros:

Cons: