EVGA formally introduced their first motherboard based on an Intel chipset today, the EVGA X58 SLI. For a long time launch partner of NVIDIA based chipsets, this event was somewhat of a surprise when the rumors started spreading a few months ago about the possibility of EVGA utilizing other chipsets. Considering EVGA’s continuing in-house development of boards based on their FTW moniker and a quickened pace away from the cookie cutter reference designs, this development really did not surprise us.

What did surprise us is their ability to take a completely new chipset, proceed with a crash development program, and offer a motherboard on the official launch date that is rock solid and very polished for a first time effort. Of course it helps that several engineers from the former EPoX group are on staff and two of the top overclockers around are hand-tuning the product. However, it’s not perfect as we mentioned in our early preview blog today, but several of the problems we discussed with EVGA this weekend have already been addressed today with a new BIOS.

The Intel X58/ICH10R combination has been a known commodity for several months and Intel has been providing significant engineering resources to the motherboard suppliers in terms of information and technical support. Of course this helps to speed along a development program from a hardware viewpoint but with everyone utilizing the same chipset and basic hardware components the ability to differentiate a board in a crowded market comes down to hardware/software features, support, compatibility, and BIOS design. Does EVGA meet this differentiation criterion? We think so.

Our experiences to date with the EVGA X58 SLI board indicate to us that EVGA has developed a very solid hardware platform with a nice mix of features, a nifty tuning utility, and a board that after the latest BIOS has offered excellent compatibility with a wide range of peripherals and software. EVGA is recognized for its excellent customer support and the BIOS design/tuning is being headed up by Peter Tan, better known as Shamino in the overclocking circles. Add in a limited lifetime warranty for most locations and a step-up program for the next LGA1366 product and you can see why this board might grab some market share away from other players in the X58 market.

Of course, none of this really matters unless the board performs well for users looking to cough up $329.99 for this product. We are still running a variety of benchmarks for the upcoming X58 roundup, but at this point the EVGA X58 SLI is at or near the top of the class. However, while we tend to get carried away at times with a frame per second improvement or a half second difference in a benchmark, the real test for these über enthusiast boards generally center on overclocking and stability. Neither of which the EVGA board has failed in up to this point and to be honest, has excelled at for the most part.

Although you would never know it from the advertising, the board does support both CrossFire X and SLI operation. That said, let’s take a look around the board and review its features today.

Features Features Features
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  • Mr Roboto - Friday, November 21, 2008 - link

    I'm pretty sure all EVGA motherboards are reference designs so I wouldn't expect anything different in terms of performance from the other x58 reference chipsets. Reply
  • aleek2die - Friday, November 21, 2008 - link

    Is this a possible configuration with the EVGA X58?

    2 GTX 280 in SLI 2 in furthest PCI-E slots
    1 8400 GS in Third in PCI-E Slot in middle
    1 X-Fi in PCI Slot in bewteen 2nd and 3rd PCI-E slots

    If possible, would this not make for best hardware accelarated 2 Way SLI configuration with Dedicated PhysX (8400GS)?
    Reply
  • marsbound2024 - Thursday, November 20, 2008 - link

    Someone else talked about there seeming to be little difference in specs between this board and higher end boards. I am really curious why this board is at the $220 mark and others are around $300 or greater. Can anyone enlighten me on this? I am at a loss on which motherboard to purchase for an i7 setup. Though I may be waiting a month or two just to see where things settle. Reply
  • CEO Ballmer - Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - link

    X56 is better!

    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com">http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com
    Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - link

    I was debating moving to this the Core i7, from my eVGA 680i + E6600 @ 3.6 Ghz combo....mighty good and lasted me great for the past 2 years....but is it worth it? Reply
  • Nfarce - Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - link

    "At this point, at least in motherboard testing, we prefer the NVIDIA GTX260/280 series on the X58 due to better driver support."

    For quite some time now that exact issue has kept me away from a Crossfire build. If Catalyst driver support still sucks when I build an i7 setup next spring, that trend will continue for me.
    Reply
  • cyburzaki - Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - link

    AMD just released a Catalyst 8.11 hotfix for X58 platforms (although it's not encouraging that they've written "X85" for the chipset):

    http://support.ati.com/ics/support/default.asp?dep...">http://support.ati.com/ics/support/defa...mp;task=...
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - link

    We received those drivers early this morning. I am running the benchmarks now for the fourth time in two weeks. I tried to stick it out during testing of the X58s and allowed AMD to respond to our problems, but enough is enough. ;) Although I continue to love the 4870 and 4870X2 cards, NV is just better on the X58 at this point, especially with the 180.48 drivers.

    However, maybe my opinion will change later today, but so far, still seeing micro-stuttering in Far Cry 2 and Crysis Warhead still crashes at 2560x1600 unless I back off on the DDR3 memory timings, which are fine on the 260s. We are trying a new image right now, just in case.
    Reply
  • Lord 666 - Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - link

    Wow, surprised on how low that is. My IN9-32max *supports* 32gig and most of the P45's support 16gig. Curious on why so low for a board that is supposed to pave the way for the next year or so.

    Maybe i7 really means iWait for me.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - link

    The MSI Eclipse officially supports 24GB, the six slot boards from ASUS, Gigabyte, EVGA, Biostar, and DFI should support 24GB in the future, they have not qualified the new 4GB modules yet. Reply

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