eVGA X58 3X SLI ReviewZertz - March 8, 2009
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Once you have finished installing your favourite operating system, a couple more things must be installed to ensure you get the most out of eVGA X58 motherboard. The included disc contains all the drivers you need to get going quickly. Once you get the disc in, a small window will launch giving you eight choices. At the top are the motherboard drivers, which is also the first thing that should be installed. It will lead to another menu with four other installers. First one is the chipset driver, capital to make the board function and perform properly. Next up are for the onboard audio, LAN and JMicron controllers. Back on the main menu, there is eVGA's own E-LEET application, Intel RAID drivers and nVidia SLI video drivers. Next up are the eVGA wallpapers, which are found on the disc, even though the title suggests otherwise, and look awesome. Finally, you can install Adobe Reader if you wish to consult eVGA's electronic manual instead of the paper version.
After you have finished installing E-LEET, eVGA's exclusive overclocking utility for Windows, launching it reveals a strangely familiar window. The first tab, minus their logo at the bottom, is identical to the widely used and exceedingly useful CPU-Z. While some companies try to give their applications fancier interfaces, eVGA went with something we all know that is very simple to use and displays all you can wish for. Basically, the first and second tabs, CPU and memory respectively, are identical to what you're used to. After those, things get alot more interesting and show the real power of eVGA software. The third tab, Monitoring, displays all of the main voltages, although software readings are known to be off the real values, it gives a pretty good idea. The middle half of the same tab shows processor temperature, which is way off, as well as the voltage regulators and system. The bottom section displays fan speed providing the information is available. It shows the northbridge fan spinning incredibly fast, but it really is quiet, I couldn't hear it over any other fan.
At the fourth tab, eVGA's E-LEET becomes even more interesting. It let's you overclock directly from Windows and, even though it isn't a ground breaking feature, it does it well. Those of you who are familiar with SetFSB will immediately recognize the similarities. It clearly displays all the relevant clock speeds, except PCI which doesn't really matter since it's locked anyway, including the processor, QPI, memory and PCI-Express. The QPI slider goes up to 330 MHz so there's more than enough room to play with. Same with the PCI-E slider, it can be moved up to nearly 200 MHz, twice as fast as stock speed. On locked multiplier processors such as the 920 and 940, "Turbo Mode Control" doesn't actually give you any control, but owners of the Extreme Edition 965 will be able to move the multiplier up to 30. The two check boxes at the bottom can enable or disable the i7's Turbo Mode and enabling "Brink O/C" will make E-LEET automatically save a validation file when the QPI link is modified. It's a very appreciated addition when you're shooting for the highest possible clock and by the time you would generate one yourself, the dreaded blue screen would've popped.
The fifth tab, Voltages, is pretty self explanatory and very appreciated as well. The majority of the voltages found in the BIOS, beside memory voltage offsets, are present so it's possible to easy tweak voltages within Windows. The same values are available, so you better double check before clicking the "Apply Selection" button since eVGA let's you set insanely high values.
The sixth and final tab, Options, can save a validation file into "cvf" format, just like CPU-Z, which can then be uploaded to the validation web site. Just like you can set profiles in the BIOS to save overclocked settings, E-LEET can do the same. Once you have saved one, you can go back to it by simply clicking the drop down menu, choosing the profile you want and it will load it for you. Lastly, and not so surprisingly, CPUID's logo is found at the bottom in the About panel, so eVGA bought their software development kit and built even more features around it.
Let's take a look at the BIOS now.