Epic Thanksgiving Giveaway: MSI GeForce RTX 3080 GAMING X TRIO!

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard

Sapphire begins to move away from just video cards with a new performance motherboard. How's the Pure Black X58 perform?

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Jan 11 2011 4:31 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:02 PM CST
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Sapphire

Introduction and Package


Introduction

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 02 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 34 IMAGES


Sapphire has been in the game for a long time. The company is best known not only for making video cards, but also for making some of the best on the market when AMD (previously ATI) are on top of their game.

Sapphire getting into motherboards isn't really anything new, as we've seen them offer AMD ones for a while with the Pure line. The bottom line is, though, that AMD haven't been a dominant force in the CPU market for a long time and the Sapphire line of motherboards pretty much slipped under the radar.

Evolving, we see Sapphire offer us not only a performance motherboard, but an Intel one based on the high end X58 chipset. Companies like GIGABYTE and ASUS can offer us both a strong video card and motherboard line-up; but can Sapphire offer us the same?


The Package

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 03 | TweakTown.com


Normally we would use our own pictures, but Sapphire changed the packing a bit since the initial version we received, so there's no point showing you one that you're not going to see. Instead we've got the one above which is similar, but the naming stands out a bit more.

The box is fairly plain, but it doesn't need to be all that flashy. It's actually quite classy. Across the bottom we've got some of the main features; we won't get into them as we'll cover them more when we look at the motherboard itself.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 04 | TweakTown.com


Inside the box there's not a whole lot going on. Apart from the standard manual and driver CD we've got the back I/O plate, IDE cable and six black SATA cables.

The Motherboard




Looking at the board, the first thing you have to notice is the good looking design with that black PCB and trademarked Sapphire blue color. What you end up with is a good looking board off the bat and we hope that it translates into some good performance later down the track.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 05 | TweakTown.com


Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 06 | TweakTown.com


The board is called the "Pure Black X58" and you can see that mentioned on the heatsink that sits towards the bottom of the board. Around here you can see some of the features, but we'll cover them in a little more detail in just a moment.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 07 | TweakTown.com


Alongside that aging looking IDE port, we've got six SATA ports here. The two red ones indicate 6GB/s ports that run off the Marvel 88SE9128 chipset. The four black ones are just standard SATA 3GB/s ports.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 08 | TweakTown.com


Across the bottom of the board we've got another SATA port, fan header and some USB headers. Across to the left we've also got a DEBUG display that will let us know any errors and a small speaker. Moving across a little further, we've got little red button which lets you reset the CMOS, while next to that we've got two more buttons clearly labeled which let you reset and power on the PC.

The easy access to power, reset and reset CMOS is an extremely handy feature for users who are hoping to do some real benchmarking. Long gone are the days of shorting the power header with a screwdriver.

The Motherboard - Continued




Looking at the PCI-E slots available, we've got four x16 ones. The top one is a full x16 and if you run three video cards the other two blue slots will run at x8. We know that it really makes very little difference when moving from x16 to x8, so it's not something you should be worried about.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 09 | TweakTown.com


The final grey slot runs only at x4 and while we do have four PCI-E x16 slots, you can only run a maximum of three double-slot video cards, as the bottom most blue one and grey one have no space in between them. Apart from all the PCI-E slots, we've also got a single PCI slot.

If you want to run two dual slot cards you can run them in PCIE1 and PCIE2 and have something running in the PCIE4 slot; maybe a wireless card or something similar. If you want to use the PCI slot you can run your two cards in PCIE1 and PCIE3 otherwise.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 10 | TweakTown.com


Just behind the standard connectivity ports you can see our 8-Pin power connector. It might look a little tight, but we didn't have any problems getting our AX1200 PSU plug in.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 12 | TweakTown.com


Of course, being an X58 based board, we've got six RAM slots which give us support for triple channel. Here we can also see our ATX power connector and next to that another fan header.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 13 | TweakTown.com


We've got our socket area which is pretty clean with a fan header not sitting far away. We can see the heatsink Sapphire has got going on which is passive and uses a heat pipe to connect the two pieces. At first we thought it may cause some issues for our DH14 Noctua cooler, as the heatsink looks quite large, but fortunately we didn't have a single issue.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 11 | TweakTown.com


Connectivity is strong with two USB 2.0 ports and a Keyboard / Mouse PS/2 port on the left. Moving over, we've got a COAXIAL and Optical S/PDIF-out port, we've then got two more USB ports and an e-SATA one and Bluetooth 2.1 connection. Continuing across, we've got two more sets of USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire one. Network is provided by a 10/100/1000 port and below that we've got another two USB ports, but in this case they're blue USB 3.0 ones powered by the NEC uPD720200F1 chip. On the very end we've got our standard auxiliary audio ports.

BIOS & Overclocking




Sapphire is using the AMI BIOS and once you fire it up you're going to find yourself in familiar territory.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 20 | TweakTown.com


The first screen that greets you just gives you the basic information like amount of RAM, BIOS version and CPU you're using. From there we can begin to move across to the other screens and get into the fun stuff.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 14 | TweakTown.com


Under Performance we begin to see a lot of our main overclocking options including the BCLK and multiplier. When it came to overclocking we pushed our CPU Frequency to 176 and as you can see, our target CPU frequency was 4415MHz. At this speed we used a 2:10 memory divider which gave our RAM a 1766MHz DDR clock. Lower than what the kit is capable of, but the next speed was well over 2000MHz DDR.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 15 | TweakTown.com


Across the bottom of the performance screen we've got the ability to save and load up to four profiles. It would've been nice to name the saved profile here just so you know what you were loading, but it's not a huge issue.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 16 | TweakTown.com


Getting into the CPU configuration, we have some more details on the CPU, but more importantly the ability to turn off some of those pesky technologies Intel implement that limit our overclocking ability.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 17 | TweakTown.com


Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 18 | TweakTown.com


Under the Voltage area you get all your voltage options. There's a huge amount to choose from and you can see the ones we used to achieve our overclock. You've got a huge amount of play room, though, and the increments are extremely low, giving you the ability gets some exact numbers.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 14 | TweakTown.com


Under Advanced you have the ability to go to the hardware health tab which gives you a run down on what everything is running at.

Test System Setup and Comments


Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 99 | TweakTown.com


We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

Today we'll be checking out the new Sapphire Pure Black X58 against our video card testbed machine that has served us well for so long; the ASRock X58 Extreme3. Both boards will be ran with our 980X at its default 3.33GHz clock, while the Sapphire Pure Black X58 will also have our 980X running at the max overclock we achieved.

For video we've used the fastest single GPU video card which is the MSI GTX 580 1536MB.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 21 | TweakTown.com


As we mentioned previously, our aim was 4.4GHz and we didn't have any problems getting to that in Windows and running our benchmarks. You can see our CPU-Z Validation here.

At this speed we had to unfortunately drop our memory speed down a little as the next option was over 2100MHz (which our RAM wasn't capable of doing).

On the top of overclocking, something that has to be mentioned is this is the highest we've been able to get our 980X at. Our original GIGABYTE X58 board managed only around the 4GHz to 4.1GHz mark. Our ASRock X58 Extreme 3 runs rock solid at 4.2GHz, but above that we don't have much luck with 4.3GHz booting, but issues in Windows, and definitely no ability to run a 32M HyperPI unlike our 4.4GHz clock we've achieved on the Sapphire Pure Black X58 today.

We've got a strong benchmark line-up which covers everything from CPU performance to video performance.

Let's get started!

CPU Benchmarks


AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com
Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 30 | TweakTown.com


Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 31 | TweakTown.com


At stock speeds our Sapphire Pure Black X58 performs similar to the ASRock for the most part. We do see that L3 Cache write speed is a little down, though. Overclocked, we can see the big performance boost that's offered.

CPU Benchmarks - Continued


HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99
Developer Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br
Product Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br
Download It Here

HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 32 | TweakTown.com


At stock speeds we can see that the Pure Black X58 performs a little quicker. At 4.4GHz, though, you can see that big performance boost we get under these CPU benchmarks.


AutoGK

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.55
Developer Homepage: http://www.autogk.me.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.autogk.me.uk/
Download It Here

AutoGK stands for Auto Gordian Knot; it is a suite of transcoding tools that are compiled into an easy to install and use utility. It allows you to transcode non-protected DVDs and other media to Xvid or Divx format. For our testing purposes we use a non-DRM restricted movie that is roughly 2 hours in length. This is transcoded to a single Xvid AVI at 100% quality.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 33 | TweakTown.com


Encoding a movie, we can see the Sapphire Pure Black X58 runs a little faster and we again continue to see that strong performance gain given when we crank up our CPU speed.

Storage Benchmarks


AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com
Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 34 | TweakTown.com


Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 35 | TweakTown.com


USB 2.0 performance between the two boards is very similar, but looking at SATA performance we can see the Sapphire Black starts off a little quicker at the beginning of our test.

Memory Benchmarks


Sisoft Sandra

Version and / or Patch Used: 2011
Developer Homepage: http://www.sisoftware.net
Product Homepage: http://www.sisoftware.net
Buy It Here

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 37 | TweakTown.com


At stock with the memory at the same speed there's little difference between the two boards. Overclocked, we had to drop our memory speed down and in turn you see the memory speed drop off.


AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com
Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 36 | TweakTown.com


We see the exact same kind of results as we did in Sandra, but they look slightly more extreme here when it comes to the board overclocked which has had the memory speed dropped back.

Gaming Benchmarks


3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/
Buy It Here




3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 38 | TweakTown.com


When it comes to performance under 3DMark 11 the focus on this benchmark is so heavily on the video card itself that the motherboard doesn't really come into play.


Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/




Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 39 | TweakTown.com


Just like 3DMark 11, there's no difference when it comes to the gaming numbers. Even with an overclock of over 1GHz on our CPU we see very little movement.

Temperature and Power


Core Temperature

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 41 | TweakTown.com


Looking at the CPU Temperature at stock, our Sapphire Pure Black is running our CPU a little bit cooler. When overclocked the numbers fall in line with the ASRock X58 Extreme3 and no doubt this helps with our overclock.



Power Draw Tests

Sapphire Pure Black X58 Motherboard 40 | TweakTown.com


Power draw is lower on the Sapphire Pure Black X58 and overclocked we see that the board manages to just fall under the ASRock with all those voltages bumped up which you saw under our BIOS screens.

Final Thoughts




I find myself legitimately surprised with what Sapphire are offering us here today. It's not the first time we've seen a motherboard from the company, but it's the first time we've seen one that we would really want to own with previous ones being based around the slower AMD CPU.

AMD make good CPUs and their chipsets aren't too bad, but the problem is any performance user is going to avoid them as if you have the need, the need for speed, you're going to find yourself with an Intel based platform.

Sapphire have not only put a board together that looks great, offers some great features with little extras like Bluetooth 2.1 being included, but they've managed to create a legitimately fast board that performance users will probably be interested in, too.

For some, though, the biggest problem with the board will probably be what's not there, and that's support for SLI. We understand that Sapphire of course wants to promote CrossFire and CrossFireX, but anyone buying an X58 board will think that SLI will be supported.

The decision to release X58 boards now seems a little weird, but Sapphire aren't the only company to release new X58 boards around CES time with other manufacturers also doing the same over the last week. We only say weird because Sandy Bridge has just launched and it offers amazing performance at an aggressive price tag. The good news is that Sapphire have said that their next board will be based on the Sandy Bridge platform and hopefully we'll see it next month; quite possibly sometime after Chinese New Year.

Some details manage to elude us at the launch of the board, which are pricing and availability, but we're sure that will show up in the coming weeks. What the board ultimately tells us, though, is that with the launch of the P67, the successor of the X58, that won't be far away and the flood of AMD Fusion based boards that will arrive this year, Sapphire could well be a major contender in the motherboard market.

The bottom line is that Sapphire have cemented themselves as a company that offers good quality products through their video cards. We can't see how that won't transition to their motherboards.

What do TweakTown.com awards mean? Click for details!

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

Newsletter Subscription
We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription
Latest News
View More News
Latest Reviews
View More Reviews
Latest Articles
View More Articles