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
POST A COMMENT

53 Comments

View All Comments

  • fausto412 - Thursday, July 15, 2010 - link

    i don't think i've even see a $700 dollar motherboard. For that kind of money it better come with a hot super model to spend a few nights with the poor sap who spends that much. Reply
  • mrjminer - Thursday, July 15, 2010 - link

    Actually, it ensures that you will not get a hot super model to spend a few nights with you. Reply
  • Taft12 - Friday, July 16, 2010 - link

    I could really use one of these. I can't remember the last time I had a night I didn't have to spend with a hot super model. Won't they please just let me game?! Reply
  • nbjknk - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link


    Dear customers, thank you for your support of our company.
    Here, there's good news to tell you: The company recently
    launched a number of new fashion items! ! Fashionable
    and welcome everyone to come buy. If necessary, please$$$$$$$$$$__$$$_$$$$$$$$$$$
    http://www.vipshops.org
    $$_____$$$_$$$_________$$$
    $$$_____$$$_$$$______ $$$
    $$$ ____$$$_ $$$_____ $$$
    $$$$$$$$$$__$$$____$$$
    $$$_____$$$_$$$___$$$
    $$$_____$$$_$$$__$$$
    $$$$$$$$$$$_$$$_$$$
    $$$$$$$$$$__$$$_$$$$$$$$$$$$ !::!
    http://www.vipshops.org
    Thursday, 21 October 2010 at 9:48 PM
    Reply
  • Souka - Friday, July 16, 2010 - link

    Maybe Gigabyte's marketing dept. gets it advice from Apple?

    Charge more...people will think it's better... ;)
    Reply
  • SunSamurai - Friday, July 16, 2010 - link

    Gigabyte doesnt have anything to offer that accounts for the extra cost, like OSX. Reply
  • hansmuff - Thursday, July 15, 2010 - link

    The AOpen AK89-Max had this way before Gigabyte.

    What is commendable though is that Gigabyte puts this even on their lower-end boards. Great move.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Friday, July 16, 2010 - link

    Sorry, but the Gigabyte BX2000 has that beat by a good few years. Reply
  • Fuchikoma - Thursday, July 15, 2010 - link

    The branding of these motherboards are getting totally ridiculous and quite comical. What really annoys me about high-end mobos is that the manufacturer spends a lot of time making them aesthetically pleasing, which in turn you spend copious amounts of money, and yet their support software are absolutely horrendous - consisting of a bunch of bad GUI hacks. Reply
  • Powerlurker - Friday, July 16, 2010 - link

    As far as I can tell, most of these ultra-high-end consumer motherboards are targeted more at competitive benchmarkers than people who actually want to use their computers to do stuff. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now