Final Words

All of our motherboards performed admirably today, some better than others, but in the end any motherboard sporting an X58 will perform the same when it comes to standard performance attributes. Which board is better really comes down to your needs, budget, and for some, product brand loyalty. We are willing to recommend any of our boards at this point in time.

The BIOS releases we utilized are stable now, offer excellent performance, and have addressed the majority of our usability problems. That said, each manufacturer still has tuning work left to accomplish for improved memory and overclocking performance. We might even see some minor improvements in power consumption shortly although our numbers reflect an almost best case scenario right now.

We still have several boards to review, ranging from the $220 MSI Platinum up to the $400 Foxconn Bloodrage with several in-between. Our next review will focus on the "lower" end X58 boards from Intel, Gigabyte, Biostar, and MSI. Our final review will feature the upper end boards from ASUS, Gigabyte, DFI, and Foxconn. In between, we will provide a comprehensive OC guide along with a detailed look at memory performance with several DDR3 tri-channel kits from Corsair, OCZ, Patriot, GSkill, Kingston, Crucial, and Mushkin. Look for these in the coming weeks after we return from our final IGP roundup.

So, let's just dive straight into our board recap. Additional details about each motherboard can be located in the features section.


We are proud to present the ASUS P6T-Deluxe with our Gold Editors Award. We highly recommend this board for beginners and advanced users alike. The Deluxe is not perfect, no board is, but it was by far the easiest board to use on a daily basis. Regardless of whether we wanted to setup a stable 24/7 folding machine or push the board to its limits trying to reach a new overclock record in the labs, it was a simple process to do either. We especially liked the ASUS BIOS as it is very informative, lists out the min/max and standard settings for the major BIOS options, and makes it possible for new users to quickly get the most out of the board. Yet, it still retains enough options to satisfy most tweakers and always recovered from settings that made us look for the clear CMOS button on the other boards.

When it comes to performance, the word balanced was the first thought in our minds. The P6T Deluxe offers the best video performance of the boards we tested while providing class leading performance in the majority of our application benchmarks. The board also features an array of options including Serial Attached SCSI controller support, SLI and CrossFire, very good on-board audio capabilities, eSATA and Firewire, and enough USB ports to make one forget about needing a hub. Based on the layout, this is the board we would recommend for 2x SLI or CrossFire users, plus you get the bonus of class leading video performance.

We are excited to present our Silver Editors award to Gigabyte for the GA-EX58-UD5. What else can we say, this board is a tweaker's delight and has tremendous performance potential. Based on the progress that Gigabyte has made with the latest F4K BIOS, we feel like this board could ultimately offer the best overclocking experience in the mid-range X58 market. The performance of this board was consistently near the top and ultimately offered the best overall memory performance. While performance is important, ultimately a board needs to offer the right feature set, stability, support, and pricing in a very competitive market.

The GA-EX58-UD5 offers all of this and more to potential X58 buyers. The UD5 offers an abundance of SATA ports, flexible layout, an excellent cooling solution, very good HD audio featuring Dolby Digital Live encoding, and an extensive accessory package along with excellent documentation.

We almost placed this board ahead of the ASUS P6T-Deluxe. There were just a few items that we felt like Gigabyte could improve upon to reach the next level. We wish Gigabyte could match the usability and informational features of the ASUS BIOS, the x16 slots are spaced too close to each other for our liking when using a 2x CrossFire or SLI setup since heat generation could be a problem in cases without proper ventilation, and losing the first DIMM slot when utilizing large CPU heatsink/fan designs means 12GB users are out in the cold. Regardless, the GA-EX58-UD5 is still an excellent board and one we highly recommend.

The Others

The MSI Eclipse X58 is the most expensive board in the roundup at $322 with rebate and offers an extensive set of features and accessories. We loved the layout, color scheme, and overall quality of the board. We like to think of the MSI Eclipse as a Grand Touring Coupe in the automotive world, it offers an excellent blend of features and performance. The board performed equally to the other offerings with a 3GB or 6GB memory load but buckled underneath the pressure when overclocking with 12GB. Based on the progress MSI has made in the past couple of weeks, we expect this problem to be solved shortly.

We are not crazy about the BIOS layout as several of the voltage settings in the BIOS are rather cryptic since MSI utilizes a +/- setting for changes. The base voltage information is not always listed so the user has to have prior knowledge of base settings before making an informed decision when overclocking. MSI tries to make up for this with auto settings that almost allow the user to overclock exclusively by just setting the Bclk rate and letting the board do the rest. However, while this system worked well, it sometimes drove voltages past the rate we could effectively utilize with air cooling.

In the end, we still recommend the MSI Eclipse X58 for users who want a feature rich, stable, and well supported platform but do not plan on tweaking or heavily overclocking the system. This could all change with another BIOS update and we will be the first to let you know if it does.

The EVGA X58 SLI is an excellent motherboard and one that we have throughly enjoyed working with the past few weeks. EVGA's support has been phenomenal and we expect that to continue to end users. This board has award worthy status written all over it, just one snag, memory multipliers. Unlike the other boards in our roundup and in the labs, the EVGA board tops out at a 10x memory multiplier (DDR3-1333) for the i965. Even though 10x is available, the i920/i940 are regulated to the 6x (800) or 8x (1066) multipliers. While we can live with these multipliers when raising Bclk to the 200+ level, we just find it a hindrance that the other multipliers are not available in a board designed for the more extreme users.

Otherwise, the quality of components, layout, and BIOS design are very good. Performance is also very good and in off-line testing it comes extremely close to the Gigabyte board up high. We have seen continual performance improvements and expect this board to do very well in the overclocking market once the memory multiplier problem is solved. If overclocking is not of primary importance, for a lot of us it is not, then the ease of use, stability, support, and features of this board make it a highly desirable product in the $300 range. At the end of the day, this board simply performs well and never makes a fuss about doing it.

Initial Overclocking Results


View All Comments

  • whb456 - Monday, April 20, 2009 - link

    They should be paying you for all the hard work you're doing for them. ;-) Reply
  • rreuscher - Thursday, February 19, 2009 - link


    I don't know if this the right place to post this comment, but I try it.
    I read that you always perform DPC latency tests in all your reviews, I'm missing this results for this Gigabyte X58-UD5 board.
    I build last week a system with an i7/920 CPU (Bios F4) but the DPC latency is a nightmare (my dual core 4 year old laptop outperforms this system). I'm using/intended this machine for dedicated Real Time Audio production, which means I need a steady DPC latency.
    The system shows very low DPC latency values with WIN XP and hyperthreading off (about 4 us), but with constantly spikes reaching up to 8000 us, and this is a killer.

    Did you did some testing on this also ?

    Kind regards, Rene Reuscher
  • sahina - Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - link

    I am looking for 4GB memory sticks for this board but the only one in QVL is S10C1 4GB Samsung M378B5273BH1-CF8 DS Samsung K4B2G0846B HCF8. This is DDR3 1066. I can not find it for sale in the market.

    Has anyone tested this board with 24GB RAM?
  • Twoboxer - Monday, January 26, 2009 - link

    Anand, your comments represent a start, but . . .

    If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Unfortunately, there is very little grey area between "reviewer" and "shill".

    1) Ask mfgs to submit samples by Date X.
    2) Test until the board will go no further.*
    3) Publish report.
    4) Rinse and repeat to recognize and publicize improvements, if any.

    * If you want to make ONE phone call to each manufacturer, fine.

    Allowing mfgs to cherry-pick parts is concession/advantage enough. ONE phone call is honorable. More than that is a disservice to your readers, and denies you your supposed purpose as a reviewer. The time saved during your first review will more than cover rinse/repeat.

    In practice I can often get a better idea of what parts to buy after reading a couple of dozen consumer in-use reviews on, for example, Newegg.

    You may find it painful or difficult to change course, but you are now at least on the right path. IMO, you can either continue on the return path to "reviewer", or watch Newegg become the de facto replacement for much of your work.
  • aussie greg - Saturday, January 24, 2009 - link

    I want to join the chorus of 'cFoo' and probably many others.
    What you [Anand] have to say about all the 'SNAFU'S' relating to these boards, have been going on with many other boards for years, My Asus P5 would not work until the 3rd bios update and then failed shotly the time it was replaced updates had reached 10 months! I was without a fully working mobo for 7 months!
    It's not good enough, it's actually pathetic dishonest performance by the manufacturers and probably worth investigating by a relevant govt. authority. Anandtech...and others, should bite the bullet and name names, in detail.
    Maybe if some of these companies got the kick up the arse [with apologies] they deserve, we consumers would be better off.
    Ausssie Greg
  • Eru The One - Tuesday, January 20, 2009 - link

    I have been pouring over reviews for the last three days comparing any x58 motherboard review I can find. I feel i've narrowed my choice down to the Gigabyte Extreme but I have yet to see anyone comparing DFI's new x58 against anything.

    I think I should wait before I see someone doing this before I make my final choice. Can you guys at AnandTech help me out here?
  • tyaiyama - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I am planning to build a system using P6T Deluxe:
    Pro: ATX form factor not E-ATX(previously?)
    PATA is implemented by Marvel 88SE6111
    Dual GbE
    Triple channel DDR3
    True16+2 Phase Power Design
    100% High-quality Japan-made Conductive Polymer Capacitors
    Con: Max memory 12 GB
    3rd PCIe 2.0 x16 (not usable)
    SAS Onboard
    Some people may say FDD connector is not necessary, but I need it. I use SATA for all drives; thus I actually do not need PATA, but just in case. Triple channel DDR3 4GB module will be available next month. Since i7 is the memory controller at the same time, what maximum size does it support? I know it is at least 128GB. Through BIOS upgrade, can we use 24GB or more memory in P6T?
  • cFoo - Sunday, December 14, 2008 - link

    Anand, I hope one day you will decide to let the cat out of the bag. Post all the problems and the manufacturer's name beside them. I understand that would risk them from giving you exclusive early access to the boards. But we desperate need accountability. You cannot let them stomp all over fair and accurate journalism.

    Accountability now! I'm sick of spending $300+ dollar and waiting 1-2 months for fixes. If I wanted to do that, I'll rather wait 1-2 months to buy the board for $100 cheaper!
  • mwm - Friday, December 12, 2008 - link

    Thanks, Anand; I really appreciate the valuable info regarding your experience with partially-DOA motherboards. Where else would be get this information? How many hours would it take a builder to run down the problem? We don't have the bench or knowledge resources to do that. So we are just screwed.

    Keep up the good work. (I'd even like to see a cheat-sheet on exactly what did not work on a board: a little embarrassment and no sale from guys like myself might prompt them to pay more attention.)
  • steveyballme - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link long as they run Vista!">

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