eVGA X58 3X SLI ReviewZertz - March 8, 2009
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It seems like eVGA wasn't too affected by nVidia's abandonment of chipset design for Intel's latest processors. Their X58 3X SLI is exactly what we have come to expect from an eVGA product. It works perfectly out of the box, comes with a decent bundle, looks great and, more importantly, it overclocks well. Performance is right on par with what we have seen from other X58 boards as of yet. The board's colour scheme looks pretty good and the black PCB is a no-brainer. The layout is also very well done, mostly everything is exactly where it should be. I do say mostly, because the 8 pin auxiliary power connector is in a rather awkward position, right between the regulator's heatsink and the rear I/O connectors. That makes it hard to reach once the board is installed into a case, but at least it's usually a one time thing so I can live with it. The one SATA port above the top PCI-Express is kind of in a odd position as well, but with eight other easily accessible ports it's not much of a problem. Spacing between the PCI-Express is exactly like it should be, three dual slot cards will fit perfectly. There is one relatively major problem around the processor's socket. The heatsink for the power regulators is quite high and interferes with large heatsinks such as Noctua's and Thermalright's flagship coolers. The Noctua heatsink did fit, but it was tight.
On the software side, eVGA offers a neat little application, E-LEET. It was developed around the capabilities of CPUID's CPU-Z and expanded to give it more functionality, a whole lot more actually. Information you'd expect to extract out of CPU-Z is still there presented in a simple yet efficient way. eVGA's implementation adds temperature and voltage monitoring, overclocking and also allows manipulating voltages. Their software tool is almost as complete as the BIOS and, since it runs under Windows, it let's you get every last megahertz out of your system. For those who prefer the good old BIOS, you will be well served. It offers all want in terms of overclocking, the menus are well built and the settings that aren't obvious come with a short but helpful description. Extreme users will be satisfied by the generous voltages offered and tweakers will appreciate the small increments between each step.
eVGA is a big player when it comes to overclocking and this motherboard is no exception. The X58 3X SLI clocked up to a stable 215 MHz base clock which is a pretty impressive feat. However, overclocking to those levels requires time and proper tweaking. Voltage is critical to overclocking i7, too little or even too much won't be stable, it's all about finding the right combination. The board isn't without annoyances though. Time between power on and POST was inexplicably long, between 10 and 15 seconds before getting the "beep" indicating a successful boot. Now if that didn't happen, the board would just sit there and wait for the user to do something. No automatic restart unfortunately and it usually required the CMOS to be cleared.
Of course, overclocking isn't everything and eVGA's X58 3X SLI did provide performance on par with other high end motherboards at stock settings. Available for under $300 with a little research, the eVGA X58 3X SLI comes with a complete feature set as well as a lifetime warranty to back it up. Those with deeper pockets might want to hold on for eVGA's upcoming Classified board, but if this one fits your budget and you're shopping for a new i7 system, this board should definitely be on your list.
- User friendly BIOS
- CrossfireX & Tri-SLI
- Onboard power, reset & clear CMOS buttons
- Recovery of failed overclocks
- Power up to POST delay