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Sapphire and ECS X79 Motherboard Review

Price: $259_$350


The 2011 socket is a breed entirely on its own. The desktop processors are for larger wallet enthusiasts with the i7 3820, 3930K, and 3960X ranging from $305 - $990 in price. The upper of the two have six cores or twelve threads while the lower end 3820 has only four cores or eight threads. They all start with a relatively high clock and an even higher boost speed for those who can afford them. The 2011 socket is probably more known for its server abilities as we all know more processing power is often needed in such field; there are about a dozen or so CPUs to choose on that spectrum of things. However, most of you aren't here because you have a server chip and are looking for motherboards -- you're here because you've got a desktop chip and need a new board to support it. The X79 market has about the same variety of boards and options as the rest of the sockets so it isn't quite as simple as picking one out of a barrel of a few. Today we'll be taking a look at a board from ECS, the X79R-AX Black Deluxe, and a board from Sapphire, the Pure Black X79N. The ECS board is on the lower end of the pricing scale but still has a ton of features to offer. The Sapphire board on the other hand is a little higher up in the price listings, but also has quite a bit to offer.


Closer Look:

Looking at the ECS and Sapphire boards we should get a pretty good idea of what each company has available for the 2011 socket. We will see if price will amount to performance and exactly how much more you get with a $350 board compared to a $250. Perhaps you will find something to add to your shopping cart, or perhaps you will keep to what you have. Let's dig in and see what these two boards really have to offer in terms of performance and how extensive the feature set is for the Extreme user.







Let's start out with ECS X79R-AX Black Deluxe.

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: ECS X79R-AX Black Deluxe
  3. Closer Look: Sapphire Pure Black X79N
  4. Closer Look: Utilities
  5. Closer Look: ECS BIOS
  6. Closer Look: Sapphire BIOS
  7. Specifications and Features: ECS
  8. Specifications and Features: Sapphire
  9. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  10. Testing: PCM7
  11. Testing: HD Tune (5.0), AIDA64 2.20
  12. Testing: Sandra, X264, Handbrake
  13. Testing: USB 3.0
  14. Testing: 3DMark 11, DiRT 3, BF3
  15. Conclusion
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