Round one of the high-priced enthusiast end of X58 went to EVGA last year, who set the pace with their Classified line of motherboards. While not perfect in every regard, the E759 and E760 broke and set more overclocking records than any other product, elevating the Classified series to must have status in the eyes of overclocking and gaming enthusiasts.

In light of this success, it was clear that ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI would have to go back to the drawing board and come up with new designs to captivate the audience. The launch of Intel’s i7-980X Gulftown together with the availability of SATA 6G and USB 3 controllers from Marvell and NEC provided the excuse for a revamp and here we are a couple of months down the road with everyone vying to capitalize on sales thanks to the longevity of the X58 platform. That’s where we pick up today, we’ve got the very best ASUS, Gigabyte, EVGA and MSI have to offer and have lined up a compare taking a look at basic functionality, overclocking and overall stability.

Meet the contenders:

 

Now grab a fresh pair of pants before you take a look at the asking prices:

Motherboard Chipsets SATA 6G USB 3 Price
ASUS Rampage III Extreme X58 Yes Yes $379
EVGA X58 4 way Classified X58, 2 x NF200 No No $429
Gigabyte X58A-UD9 X58, 2 x NF200 Yes Yes $699
MSI Big Bang-XPower X58 Yes Yes $299

Eek! $700 for a single socket motherboard? That’s waaay over the top. While we acknowledge there is a market for high-end products, we can’t think of a good reason for why a motherboard designed around a heavily integrated architecture should be priced this high. There nothing radical on or about the UD9 that justifies such expenditure ; like most of the other boards on test here today, the base design is very much de-facto for the platform and identical to lower priced motherboards( apart from the addition of two nVidia NF200 chips to provide four way SLI capabilities).  

In general, all these boards do over their $200~$250 counterparts is offer a more robust VRM for heavy overclocking, in some cases a better layout and lastly a more overclocking centric BIOS.  As such, these motherboards are worth looking at by those of us that have very specific overclocking needs beyond conventional cooling, or by those that have a mind-set that pays scant regard to cost versus performance ratios.  So yes, this is a minority audience article, but we’ll be getting back to our roots straight after – don’t despair!

ASUS Rampage III Extreme
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  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, October 05, 2010 - link

    Very broad question that. Best X58 board you mean? Typically don't spend more than $250 and you'll get what you need - ASUS & Gigabyte is where I'd personally go from a BIOS standpoint in that price range. If you don't want to overclock, then ASRock, Biostar and EVGA and MSI will do the job too.

    -Raja
    Reply
  • rustycurse - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    1. I wish ask an important question for me - Why I should purchase a new PC (a component), when development engineers of programs (or of games) do not wish to "see" (completely to use) those resources the PC which one are already presented? An instance - during a play "Dragon Age Origin" (and not only it) and if is more exact - during conversations when the static picture with several alternatives of answers is presented - I see, that only nearby 1GB (this game, and almost same for Windows resources ) memory uses and CPU fan turns as the craziest! What is it - limitation INTEL for the chipsets with embed video (like mine 945G), or it's inexperience of software(games) developers?
    In other words - that I wish see it - low CPU and HDD (page file.sys) loadings at a high memory loading!
    I doubt, that Intel, Microsoft or software makers will give me any reasonable answer in this matter, so i've a request to Anandtech team «to give me a light» on this problem. And, of course, to show the public the solution(s) in your further tests!
    I'm planning to purchase a new PC (preferentially a notebook) in the near future, as alternative my present - (MB: P5LD2VM-dh/c; CPU - Pentium D945; Memory: 3x1GB 'all planks are - patriot'; Video: ASUS 7600GS; Win 7 ultimate), but I am "restrained" by above indicated problem, and here appears one more question (as I'm not wish create a superfluous topic):
    2. Why almost on all notebooks use D-Sub connectors, instead of DVI? (I use CAD programs in double-screen mode - one person watching a movie through HDMI and second person doing a CAD job through DVI with high screen resolution )
    O yeah, nearly has not forgotten! I had a similar situation during a play "Gothic 3" earlier - the memory loading on the screen monitor "Windows Task Manager" attained a breaking point nearby 2 GB and after a while the game hung (or was BSOD).
    I'm waiting for reasonable thoughts and Thanks to Anandtech team for your guides and please forgive my English!
    Reply
  • rustycurse - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    Woops! I looked through these MBs and remembered another "a little issue" to mention.
    THE one of the reasons of the buying P5LD2-VM-DH/C was - Try to guess? - the location of the floppy connector!!!!!!!!
    I don't know why all (almost) MB makers locate this connector at the bottom of a MB!!!, but i'm getting MAD when i see that, especially if it (GARBAGE) is MOST expensive and has ATX form factor!!!
    So, MB makers - PLEASE F*** OFF with your expensive S*** and try to remember that some software require to be activated by using floppy drive, especially if it is located at THE TOP of the case ( like mine IN-Win Q500) !!!! sorry for"language" but i won't have other words for such matters!
    Reply

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