Intel X79 Motherboard Roundup

By on January 16, 2012, 12:31 AM

Those wanting to build the ultimate performance system will naturally turn to Intel’s new LGA2011 platform which recently made its debut with the Sandy Bridge-E processors. This highly refined architecture takes the original Sandy Bridge design and pumps it full of steroids, while adding a few new things. Moreover, the platform is expected to support enthusiast-level Ivy Bridge processors that are slated for release by the end of 2012, adding to the platform's longevity.

The current series' flagship CPU known as the Core i7-3960X boasts a massive 15MB L3 cache and six cores clocked at 3.3GHz. As we found on our review last November, the i7-3960X is 20-30% faster than the Core i7-2600K, though at $999 it's over 3 times more expensive. There is also a slightly slower and considerably more affordable option. The Core i7-3930K is already selling for $599, and a third alternative, the Core i7-3820 is set to be released in the coming months.

So if you're already spending $600+ on a processor alone, you'll want to make sure your motherboard is equally impressive. Today we are checking out five high-end X79 motherboards from Asus, Asrock, ECS, Intel and MSI.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 9

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dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

What's more confusing, ECS claims the X79R-AX 14 SATA ports with 10 connected to the X79 chipset, which is only supposed to support six. The board supposedly has six SATA 6Gb/s ports and four SATA 3Gb/s ports wired to the X79, but Intel's block diagrams clearly says the chipset supports two 6Gb/s ports and a total of six SATA ports -- two 6Gb/s and four 3Gb/s ports, in other words. Intel's tech manager assures me that the X79R-AX's extra SATA ports must be connected to a third party controller

I was under the impression that ECS simply disregarded Intel's directive that motherboard vendors not use the four SAS ports -which are a part of the X79 chipset ( [link] ), but not officially sanctioned for use by Intel due to possible erratic behaviour.

Anyhow, nice review. I'd still look at Gigabyte's X79-UD3 personally. Fairly well appointed (strangely 4-way SLI capable as opposed to 3-way with the UD5), and seems like a handy overclocker...Would have thought Gigabyte would have taken the opportunity for some review publicity if the burning VRM woes have been corrected with the F7 UEFI

VitalyT VitalyT said:

It is a shame on Intel pushing a 2012 premium chipset at astronomical prices and without integrated USB 3.0 still.

Guest said:

disappointing

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm still impressed with how well the i7 2600K performs for its price.

Overall with the new x79 platform I don't think it was spectacular as the x58 was (and still is).

Leeky Leeky said:

I'm disappointed Gigabyte didn't play ball and include the UD5, as I've got my eye on this model myself, especially given that most models around this spec/price range only include one pair of DDR3 slots on each side of the processor. One of the main selling points of this chipset is supposed to be the quad channel memory (and 8 DDR3 slots), seems silly not to have them featured on every board, especially since they'll be aimed at the top end of the enthusiast/professional users market.

Despite being unable to find the ASRock Extreme 9 on these shores it would appear to offer what I'm looking for in terms of SATA ports. Will definitely be keen to see what price it appears on my shores for.

Guest said:

Damn, and I wanted Sandy-bridge-E... not worth it... no gaming increase from 2600k to 3960X... well few frame rates but not even 2%...

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Despite being unable to find the ASRock Extreme 9 on these shores it would appear to offer what I'm looking for in terms of SATA ports. Will definitely be keen to see what price it appears on my shores for.

You'll probably find that once the C2 revision i7's hit retail, that the second wave of X79 boards wont be far behind - much like the X58 situation where the early boards got supplanted by X58A (USB3, SATA 6GB), so the next raft of entry-level boards should have a SATA/SAS fitout similar to the ECS, while the WS and enthusiast boards should have 14 ports ( 4 x 3Gb, 10 x 6Gb)

The Asus ws board not available in the UK yet? (from a hardware RAID AIB support point of view) or ASRock's Extreme7 (oddball 6 DIMM's aside) if you need the extra connectivity+PCI-E slots and more than 32GB of RAM onboard

Still waiting on Steve/Julio to clarify the Intel rep's statement, which seems at odds with the X79 timeline. The decision to pull SAS support was relatively late ( [link] ) while the X79 chipset IC's would have already been produced by this stage.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Still waiting on Steve/Julio to clarify the Intel rep's statement, which seems at odds with the X79 timeline. The decision to pull SAS support was relatively late ( [link] ) while the X79 chipset IC's would have already been produced by this stage.

Confirmation from ECS via Legit Reviews

Guest said:

Well you didn't use an EVGA motherboard in your testing. I would have liked to have seen that.

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