EVGA X58 Classified - First Lookby Rajinder Gill on February 27, 2009 5:00 AM EST
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EVGA's Classified X58 motherboard has been a centerpiece of X58 discussions in various forums since the start of 2009. We managed to get an engineering sample board a few weeks ago and have some initial overclocking tests to show today. Let's take a quick look at the current layout and features before we have a look at a few early benchmark runs.
Our board arrived before EVGA finalized the stock cooling design, so we have had to resort to using third party solutions to cool areas of the board for these initial test runs. We are waiting on a retail board from EVGA before we comment on thermal performance and power consumption.
Hardware wise, EVGA added NVIDIA's NF200 into the mix that allows four x16 electrical interface PCI-E slots. As many of you already know, the NF200 is a PCI-E 2.0 x16 bridge-chip solution, which does add extra latency to the data transfer process. However, that's not a huge issue in the overall package.
This board is set to become EVGA's flagship board by offering a slew of extreme overclocking friendly features. This holds true for the 10-phase Volterra CPU power, 3-phase memory power, and 3-phase VTT designs to onboard jumpers that override cold boot quirks for LN2 cooling. The product focus is squarely aimed at multi-GPU enthusiasts and those that benchmark more for competition than fun. The slot configuration allows running three dual slot GPUs and a single slot PhysX card or other PCI-E peripheral. A PCI-E x1 slot is available for audio duties, even if the GPU slots are completely loaded.
This board is clearly for those with deep, deep pockets. The launch price is expected to be around $400~$450, putting it off the radar for most. EVGA provides a plug-in remote PCB, supporting power, reset, CMOS clear, a hex POST code LED display, on-the-fly VCore adjustment, and PCI-E disable jumpers. The remote buttons come in handy when benchmarking the board out of a PC case, especially when the lowest PCI-E slot is occupied.
A new addition that EVGA just completed for the final retail board is the presence of an onboard ROM that can store memory SPD files. The user can select at BIOS POST to override the memory module base SPD. EVGA has developed an OS software tool that allows users to interchange SPDs with one another if a particular SPD file known to offer superlative performance for a memory chip/PCB combination is available. Our test board does not contain this technology, so we will have to wait for the arrival of our retail board to test this unique feature.
We have been throwing everything we can at the board using the latest test BIOS. So far, things have been smooth during the test process, mainly because the EVGA X58 SLI board's launch has provided insight to the EVGA team and us in getting this board up and operating quickly. Peripheral compatibility has been excellent on this board. We have not discovered a single device that was not recognized or refused to work properly. S3 resume states have worked for us all the way up to 215 BCLK (as far as we tested to date), which cures a problem on the X58 SLI board.
Unfortunately, we still do not have an official release date from EVGA, but we expect it sometime in March (subject to change, obviously). At stock speeds, this board offers similar performance to other X58 motherboards in a variety of applications and games. Our short preview today will cover SLI gaming performance to see if the NF200 is a handicap and a few overclocking results using subzero and water-cooling, which is relevant as this board is targeted at the competitive overclocking crowd.
We are also providing a descriptive analysis of the BIOS overclocking options and how they work not only on this board but also on the X58 platform in general. We will follow up with a revised BIOS guide when the board launches. In the meantime, let's take a quick look at our results today.
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CK804 - Friday, February 27, 2009 - linkThis motherboard costs $400-$450 and it comes with Realtek audio and LAN? Give me a break. I would at the very least expect a dedicated audio card for this price.
GaryJohnson - Friday, February 27, 2009 - linkAnd if you load it up with 4x GPUs, I don't think you actually have a slot available for any other expansion cards. They really need to move to some kind of new, longer form factor for boards like this. Something like a 16" x 9.6" 'LATX' form factor.
JarredWalton - Friday, February 27, 2009 - linkThe only way you'll get 4x GPUs is via 2x GeForce GTX 295 or 2x Radeon HD 4870X2... in which case you would have several expansion slots remaining. But as our SLI/CF scaling articles have shown, outside of bragging rights in a few select titles there's little point in going beyond two-way GPU configurations.
legoman666 - Friday, February 27, 2009 - link2 8pin power connectors on the mobo? Why?
1078feba - Friday, February 27, 2009 - linkHow about 600W of available power to the proc socket?
takumsawsherman - Friday, February 27, 2009 - linkClearly, this board appears to be for crazy people. You spend $400 and you still get old school Firewire 400? At that price, there should be no compromises. Firewire800, and also somebody's soul. Or something.
bigboxes - Friday, February 27, 2009 - linkIs this all that you have to gripe about? Were you really going to purchase this board, but now suddenly you can't justify it due to this obvious oversight? :eyeroll: Seriously, I bought a 4-port firewire card in the past that sits in a box. Why? Cuz I never EVER used the thing. USB 2.0 will suffice until USB 3.0. Even Apple computers have more USB jacks than Firewire. If you want a function that hardly anyone uses than just buy an expansion card. I am certain the target for this mobo is not one that gives a rats about Firewire. They are gamers. They can always use e-SATA if they need faster transfer speeds in an external.
Exar3342 - Friday, February 27, 2009 - linkThis board is for people that spend $1000.00 on a cpu and have 3-4 GTX 285's, and have spent a ton on a cooling setup. I really doubt they will notice an extra $150.00 for the motherboard.
ToeCutter - Thursday, March 26, 2009 - linkExactly. I'm thinking of snagging one of these just for the simple color scheme that doesn't look like a bag of Starburst.
How about just a jet black PCB and some monotone slots.
Skip a sushi dinner and it's paid for....?
Nfarce - Friday, February 27, 2009 - linkWhile that may be true, said people are becoming fewer and far between these days, and some of those who could afford such machines are probably scaling back their spending (the smart ones anyway). The days of people ordering $3,000+ worth of stuff and putting it on their credit cards and paying it off monthly are numbered. People need to learn to live within their means so we don't get in this huge economic global mess again.