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Sapphire PURE Black X79N (Intel X79) Motherboard Review - The Motherboard

Sapphire expands their motherboard line up with the new PURE Black X79N. We find out if it is a hit or miss product.

| Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Feb 1, 2012 12:25 pm
TweakTown Rating: 84%Manufacturer: Sapphire

The Motherboard

 

Moving onto the board we've got that similar design we've seen from most of Sapphire boards in the past with the black PCB and dark blue highlights throughout the board. One thing that really stands out here, though, is the inclusion of a fan over the X79 chipset, something we've seen companies do with this chipset, but not all.

 

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Moving in a bit closer to the board we can see what's going on with the PCIe setup which consists of only PCIe x16 slots. Of course not all are running at x16, instead we've only got slots 1, 3 and 4 while the others are wired to only x8. When I heard that Sapphire was offering six PCIe x16 slots I thought we'd be able to use four video cards in Quad SLI / CrossFireX. Unfortunately that's not possible due to the layout of the slots.

 

It's worth remembering that while all the slots are laid out in an x16 format, PCIe x1, x4 and x8 cards can be installed in all the slots. Moving to an all x16 layout really gives us more options when it comes to the expansion slots, which is only a good thing. The only thing lacking is a legacy PCI slot, but it's something I wish more and more companies would start to ignore.

 

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Moving to the bottom of the board you can see on the left we've got a debug meter with a COM port next to that, CMOS reset button and next to that we've got easy to access reset and power button. Moving over a little more we've got a little switch that lets us choose between one of the two BIOS chips available followed up with two USB 2.0 headers, a single USB 3.0 header and our main front panel header.

 

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Turning the corner we've got a total of eight SATA ports on offer with the left four black ones being SATA II running off the X79 chip and the four red ones being SATA III. The two closest to the black ones also run off the X79 chip while the extra two run off the Marvell 88SE9128 controller.

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