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If you haven't already noticed, today is Intel day - Core i7 and X58 Express to be exact.
While ASUS jumped the gun well and truly launching its boards a week or two ago, GIGABYTE waited for the actual launch day. Today GIGABYTE is taking the covers off three brand new Socket 1366 motherboards based on the fresh new X58 Express chipset.
The big daddy of them all is the EX58-EXTREME and it is designed to be the best overclocker of the pack with plenty of overclocker friendly features.
The next on the list coming in a little cheaper is the EX58-UD5, which is quite similar as far as features and ports and what-not go but it lacks the fancy cooling.
The cheapest X58 board from GIGABYTE is the EX58-DS4 and it drops off some features to lower the price tag such as less SATA ports and only a single Gigabit LAN port.
Having received the fruits of its labours by making inroads into the enthusiast motherboard market, rumours are circulating that Foxconn maybe withdrawing from the 'branded' motherboard circuit.
Citing its sources, this report from DIGITIMES claims that Foxconn has instructed its sales department to cease accepting orders for certain models, whilst refraining from gathering order volume forecasts for all new SKUs. It is further suggested that the company is, effectively, clearing out its inventory and is keeping its moves as low profile as possible.
This report from HARDSPELL, however, states that Foxconn's Channel Manager has refuted the rumours, stating that the company has no intention to quit the 'branded' motherboard market at all.
We'll keep you updates as further updates become available.
TechConnect Magazine reports that loyal NVIDIA partner, EVGA, is hard at work on an Intel X58 motherboard solution.
The news, which broke yesterday, has generated a great deal of interest and, today, we can garner a glimpse of EVGA's masterpiece, courtesy of the XtremeSystems Forum.
Going for a striking black PCB, EVGA's solution boasts Intel Core i7 support, triple-channel DDR3 memory support and a mighty cooling solution, to boot.
Together with the usual bells and whistles to be expected on a high-end offering, it is claimed that EVGA may be working on a few tweaks to set its challenger above the competition.
Pricing information is unavailable at the time of going to press.
There's certainly been a fair share of early looks at upcoming X58 motherboards from the likes of ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI, Foxconn and others, but you 'aint seen nothing yet. Hows this for eye candy :-
XFastest recently got hold of some of the most talked about and extreme X58 boards we've seen to date for an all out photo shoot. There's absolutely no shortage of angles and closeups in this compilation.
The boards comprise ASUS' well regarded P6T Deluxe and Rampage II Extreme, GIGABYTEs GA-EX58-DS4 and GA-EX58-EXTREME, as well as MSIs X58 Eclipse and Foxconn's Digital Life Renaissance.
Head over to this section of XFastest's forums to see the complete collection.
We've seen GIGABYTEs top-end EX58-Extreme motherboard in all its heat-pipe weilding glory. And while the board is certainly worthy of its "Extreme" title, the thought of its associated price tag would be enough to tone down much of the excitement for many.
However, another very similar board has now been spotted from the giant mobo maker, the EX58-UD5. XFastest managed to
get a shot of it in its final revision form for us all to feast our eyes on.
Using their latest Ultra Durable 3 construction, the board also carries across almost all of the features the Extreme variant boasts, but it sports a different colour sceheme we haven't seen in the past and also does away with the massive cooling system in replacement for a (still quite impressive looking) design.
Whilst in attendance at IDF Tapei, the folks at Fudzilla have snapped some nicely presented photos of a bunch of X58 motherboards, some of which we haven't seen until now.
This is one particular offering I don't believe has been spotted before; ECS' X58B-A. And it would appear this one's in its final revision state with a rather healthy looking cooling system in place.
Another sighting of the mighty Blood Rage from Foxconn, this time showing the board from a different angle to the shots we first saw recently. Please note that the cooling system shown here is not final; as mentioned the other day, Foxconn has a full heatpipe system ready for the board with interchangeable cooling options on the Northbridge, including a waterblock.
Fudzilla spotted something else quite nifty about this board; it has two holes for the CPU heatsink legs; one set of holes to suit your existing LGA775 cooler. Let's hope we see some of the other manufacturers doing this.
You can view shots of several other boards here, including a bit of an odd ball offering from Shuttle and a beefy workstation solution from Supermicro.
A forum user over at XtremeSystems, by the name of Ivanqu, has managed to take an MSI P45 Platinum motherboard to a whole new level by reaching an incredibly high FSB.
Use plenty of LN2 loving, he managed to take an Intel 45nm Wolfdale Core 2 Duo E8400 (only one core enabled, though and with just one stick of 512MB memory in single channel mode) to a clock speed of 4235MHz but that is not the impressive part. By using liquid nitrogen on the Northbridge, Ivanqu managed to pump the FSB all the way up to an amazing 705MHz with the CPU multiplier running at six.
You can read more over at the XtremeSystems forum thread here and the CPU-Z Validated page is right here.
Yet another X58 based Nehalem board for the desktop market gets an early showing, this time from SUPoX which, if you weren't already aware, was actually once EPoX before it faded away and the new company was born.
This here is a viewing of their AP58+ GTR; a full featured board with a quite serious looking copper cooling system. Features include CrossfireX and most likely SLI, eight SATA ports, dual Gigabit, reset and CMOS clear buttons, three x16 PCIe slots, six DDR3 slots for triple channel memory configurations and 7.1 integrated audio.
The board is being promised for release upon the Nehalem launch date; we're not yet aware of pricing.
XFX reckons and we aren't kidding, Now You Can Have the "Mother" You've Always Wanted.
Yep, that's right, as you can see above in the marketing poster. XFX is out with its brand new nForce 750i SLI motherboard and now usually wwe don't get excited because XFX normally use NVIDIA made boards but from what we can see, this board looks to be made and designed by XFX.
It features an XFX designed passively cooled heatpipe, "tweaked" FSB good up to 450MHz, overclocked DDR2 good up to 1600MHz DDR, all Japanese made solid capacitors, clear CMOS on rear I/O panel and more.
It probably won't help you to break any world records but for the price, this board will give you plenty of bang for buck. You can get the full lowdown from the press release, which is right here.
We visited Eric, Jarry and Jet at the DFI headquarters in Taipei today where they gave us an exclusive up-close look at a working sample of their forthcoming LANPARTY UT X58 motherboard.
We got a look at the first revision of the board and sadly the new heatpipe cooler was not quite ready for us to take photos of. This board will get a similar made by Thermalright cooler as seen on older boards, but this time around DFI has decided to make the coolers themselves to try and reduce costs. It was mentioned that while the cooler will be similar, it will be improved by allowing users to use their own after market or custom cooling equipment or "weapons" as Jarry put it, whereas with other brand motherboards that is not always that easy to do. That did allow us to get an unobstructed view of the no fuss high-end enthusiast performance motherboard. Jarry Chang, the head engineer and designer at DFI, had some interesting points to make about the LANPARTY UT X58 and much of it made perfect sense.
The first question of course had to be about the DDR3 voltage limitations on the X58 Express chipset with Core i7, which came to light online recently. DFI told us that they were not aware of any serious issues and that they've tested memory working around 1.8 - 1.9 volts without killing a CPU. DFI has no intention of limiting the amount of voltage to go to the memory on the LANPARTY UT X58 and stated that they will probably support up to 2.0 - 2.1 volts and are considering providing a warning to users depending on how further testing goes up until when the board goes on sale in November.
He mentioned that other motherboard brands often pack a lot of fancy features onto their high-end boards, but he noted that most of them were over the top and not used or not required. For instance, this X58 motherboard gets eight CPU power phases whereas some other brand boards have up to 12 phases and even more. Jarry noted from his own internal testing that no CPU, even quad-core, would need this many and the rest would just go wasted and unused.
DFI is purely focused on creating high-end performance and super overclocking motherboards without the extras that other brands include - as mentioned, you don't get the so called "GPS" and "airbags" with DFI boards, but you do get great performance - and we would agree with that statement. We all had a laugh when it was mentioned by DFI that folks like GIGABYTE and ASUS are creating boards with loads of power saving features but pack on a lot of unnecessary parts and materials that are not really needed and go against the whole notion of saving the planet.
Getting back to the motherboard itself, the LANPARTY UT X58 will support ATI CrossfireX and NVIDIA SLI. Jarry mentioned that the board we saw today was not the final shipping version (but very close) and the final version would be the same, but will have its three PCI-E 2.0 expansion slots running electronically at x16, x8 and x8 lanes. NVIDIA suggested rather persistently to DFI over a couple of meetings that this was the best setup for optimal performance and a requirement of three-way SLI. The board will get two PCI slots of legacy devices along with a single x4 PCI-E slot.
As far as power phases go, the Socket LGA-1366 CPU gets eight phases, two phases for the triple-channel DDR3 memory, two for the Northbridge and also two for the PWM. IDE is not forgotten with a single IDE port that supports two devices along with an FDD port, which could probably go now.
There are eight SATA-II ports but sadly no eSATA at the moment. Jarry mentioned that he was not happy with placing eSATA ports on the back of the board on the I/O panel, since it's not really "true" eSATA, because the user has to go to the back of the case and that's a hassle. Instead, DFI is working on a device, like a break-out box, which allows users to run a 10m cable from the back of the motherboard to a box, which could be placed on your desk for better ease of use - this is a great idea and we look forward to seeing it.
While it's not a new feature, it was the first we really took a lot of notice of it. We are talking about DFI's BIOS chip, which is setup to easily be able to be removed and replaced with a new one if it goes bad during overclocking. It also allows Jarry and other DFI engineers to send its BETA testers and overclockers new BIOS' to test out and see which works best. There is also a programmable pin header just above the BIOS area next to the blue jumper that allows power users to manually program the BIOS. You get a look at that part of the motherboard above.
As far as availability goes, the board should go on sale no later than the end of November after the launch of the first three Intel Core i7 processors and while the price hasn't been fully decided yet, it should go on sale for "at least" $300 USD - start saving your pennies, as no X58 motherboard is going to be cheap.