LANParty UT X58-T3eH8 – Features

As DFI's most expensive and feature complete Core i7 motherboard we expected the LANParty UT X58-T3eH8 to be well equipped, and it is.

The list of integrated peripherals includes: dual Gigabit LAN, 8-Channel Audio, USB 2.0, Serial ATA RAID and Firewire. As mentioned before, the LANParty UT X58-T3eH8 is powered by the Intel X58 chipset and also makes use of the ICH10R south bridge.

There are a number of basic features that can be found on all motherboards using this chipset. The X58 IOH (Input/Output Hub) otherwise known as the "north bridge" supports up to 36 PCI Express lanes. This means that multi-card configurations of 2x16 are supported, while 4x8 is also possible.

It is important to note that the LANParty UT X58-T3eH8 supports a range of multi-GPU configurations. First and foremost, using a pair of PCI Express 2.0 x16 ports the board can support 2-way SLI or CrossFireX at full x16/x16 speeds. Additionally, 3-way SLI support is also present using a third x16 slot, though this configuration will have the second and third slots limited to x8 bandwidth.

We were pleased to find that DFI has included SLI and Crossfire bridges in the LANParty UT X58-T3eH8 package, which is something most motherboard manufacturers fail to do. DFI included two SLI bridges, one that supports 3-way SLI while the other is your more standard 2-way bridge.

The ICH10R south bridge has about a year on the market, but it's still one of the better equipped chips available. It gives the LANParty UT X58-T3eH8 support for 12 USB 2.0 ports, 6 PCI Express x1 lanes, Gigabit LAN, HD Audio, and 6 SATA ports with RAID capabilities.

Based on these specs, all current X58 boards will feature at least 6 SATA ports supporting RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, and RAID 5.

DFI has included the JMicron 363 controller, adding support for a single Ultra DMA 66/100/133 IDE bus and two 3.0Gbps SATA II ports. The two SATA ports support basic RAID functions which include RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD.

Intel High Definition Audio (Intel HD Audio) support is present, providing eight independent DMA audio engines that support multiple audio streams with audio codecs. Driving this feature is the Realtek ALC889 codec, enabling high-quality 192KHz/24-bit audio output.

Like several high-end Asus motherboards, the DFI LANParty UT X58-T3eH8 does not feature the audio codec on board. Rather a separate sound card-like solution has been devised and the idea here is to save space on the board itself. However unlike the Asus design, the sound card bundled on the LANParty UT X58-T3eH8 does not connect to the motherboard using a PCI Express slot. Instead it uses a custom audio header which provides greater flexibility.

The LANParty UT X58-T3eH8 supports IEEE1394a (FireWire 400) useful for bandwidth-intensive applications like digital video (DV), professional audio, and external hard drives, which often consume hundreds or even thousands of megabytes of data per file. The board provides two 1394a ports due to the inclusion of the VIA VT6308P FireWire controller.

The obvious and necessary USB 2.0 support is inherited from the ICH10R chipset, with a total of twelve ports, half available on the I/O panel and an additional six ports using the supplied brackets.

The LANParty UT X58-T3eH8 features a pair of Marvell 88E8053 Gigabit LAN controllers which use the PCI Express bus for maximum throughput. The dual Gigabit LAN design allows a PC to serve as a network gateway for managing traffic between two separate networks. This capability ensures rapid transfer of data from WAN to LAN without any added arbitration or latency.