Specifications & Features
We will start off with a look at what the Intel X58 chipset offers. This chipset is not only new to us, but as mentioned, it is the first time EVGA has produced an Intel chipset based motherboard. Here is the official diagram from Intel outlining what the X58/ICH10R chipset combination can offer.
There are a lot of similarities to the previous generation Intel chipset combinations, such as X48/ICH9R. In fact, the bottom portion of the chipset attached to the ICH10R is almost identical to the ICH9R south bridge. The major changes occur up top, at the north bridge. The biggest and most obvious difference between the X58 and chipsets of past is the fact that the memory controller is no longer a part of the chipset and therefore the north bridge is no longer consider the MCH or Memory Controller Hub. The north bridge is now the IOH or Input Output Hub and the memory is directly linked to the CPU where the memory controller is housed on the die of the CPU. This is the significance of the Nehalem architecture known as Core i7. What this means is that the north bridges sole responsibility, aside from linking the south bridge to the system, is to provide access to the available PCI-E 2.0 lanes. There are a total of 36 PCI-E 2.0 lanes with multiple possible configurations as outlined above. Below is a chart of the EVGA X58 SLI specifications outlining exactly what EVGA took advantage of from the Intel chipset diagram above.
|Performance|| Based on Intel X58/ICH10R chipset|
Supports Intel Core i7 Processors
133 Mhz QPI
|Memory|| 6 x 240-pin DIMM sockets|
Triple Channel DDR3
Maximum of 12GB of DDR3 1066/1333 MHz
|Expansion Slot|| 1 x PCIe x16|
1 x PCIe x8/x16
1 x PCIe x8
1 x PCIe x1
2 x PCI
2 x 32-bit PCI, support for PCI 2.1
|Storage I/O|| 1 x UltraDMA133|
9 x Serial ATA 300MB/sec with support for RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5, JBOD
1 x Floppy disk drive connector
|Integrated Peripherals|| 8 Channel High Definition|
2 x 10/100/1000
|Multi I/O|| 1 x PS2 Keyboard|
1 x Serial Ports
12 x USB2.0 ports (4 external + 8 internal headers)
Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)
FireWire 1394A (1 external, 1 header)
|Form Factor|| ATX Form Factor|
Length: 12.0in - 304.8mm
Width: 9.6in - 243.6mm
Here now is a brief look at a few of the more prominent and unique features of the EVGA X58 SLI motherboard. EVGA has really gone above and beyond to cater to the average overclocker and experienced professional benchmarker with this motherboard.
|IntelŪ Core i7 Support|
The Intel X58 chipset is designed for one thing and one thing only, the best performance Intel has ever seen. With four physical cores in addition to four more virtual cores thanks to the return of Hyper-Threading, the Intel Core i7 is a multi-threading monster and clock-per-clock; the fastest desktop processor available right now.
|Up To 3-Way SLIŪ Support|
For the first time ever, NVIDIA has teamed up with Intel to allow SLIŪ graphics performance on an Intel chipset. The X58 SLI name provides that insight itself. This combination provides the ultimate flexibility of the Intel X58 chipset with support for 2-way and 3-way SLIŪ.
"Offers a longer lifespan, better stability when at high frequencies, can operate at higher temperatures, and no longer runs the risk of exploding." EVGA touts solid electrolytic capacitors as a feature but on high-end motherboards, it is almost standard. As for the lack of a risk of exploding...tell that to the guys that have blown solid caps and almost been blinded by the projectile.
|Onboard Power / Reset Buttons|
Just one of many features that EVGA has integrated into the X58 SLI are the onboard power and reset buttons. This motherboard is chalk full of small items such as this that only an enthusiast would find useful and it attests to the commitment that EVGA has made to the enthusiast in the community.
EVGA has provided all X58 users with a software utility that now only provides feedback on system settings but allows for easy control over voltages, overclocking on the fly, and overclocking validation. This all encompassing utility takes on the visuals of standard utilities in the overclocking world and will be right at home with your overclocking screenshots. We will focus on EVGA's E-LEET in its own section shortly.
|EVGA EZ Voltages|
Just as EVGA E-LEET makes monitoring and adjusting voltages easy from within Windows, EVGA EZ Voltages allows for simple voltage monitoring using an external multi-meter for the power users. No longer will you have to probe the inner channels of the motherboard when monitoring actual voltages, EVGA has provided a simple panel at the top of the motherboard with lands to read vCORE, vTT, ICH, and vDIMM voltages. A nice touch that we will definitely be utilizing in our testing.
The EVGA E-LEET utility, EZ Voltage read points, and onboard power/reset buttons are just a few of the features that really solidify EVGA as a company looking to not only provide an excellent motherboard for the average user, but also provide the high-end overclocker and benchmarker with the tools required to compete at an elite, pardon the pun, level.