Keeping costs down, XFX eschews extra SATA ports on the board itself, and the six SATA2s are powered from the southbridge.
Power/reset buttons are handy and are clearly visible next to the internal USB headers that line the left-hand side.
Obviously promoting SLI, the board's three PCIe x16 slots can also run ATI's CrossFireX, and the slots run at full x16 when in one- or two-card mode, but drop to a x16/x8/x8 in three-card setup. Slot spacing, however, is good, but we'd sacrifice the second PCIc for another PCIe x1.
To the right of the bottommost PCIc are the board's two BIOSes, as found on the even-higher-end Foxconn Bloodrage X58 mobo, priced at £288.
If anything, XFX's effort can be classed as basic, in a sector where SAS/discrete audio/extra cooling are prevalent.
The back houses eSATA, dual Gigabit LAN, coaxial and optical S/PDIF, FireWire, and high-definition audio, as well as ubiquitous USB. Handily, just between the coaxial S/PDIF and left-hand USB ports there's a clear-CMOS button, which is kind of similar to the Foxconn Bloodrage's, as well.
Overall layout is reasonable given that XFX hasn't endowed it with the proverbial kitchen sink. We'd move the CPU socket down a touch, house the eight-pin connector on the edge, and add another PCIe x1, for starters.
The accessories include a four-port USB fly-cable, SLI and CrossFire bridges, and the usual gaggle of cables.
Looking back at the board and noticing a lack of fan-cooling in the bundle, we wonder why XFX hasn't, at the very least, included a bolt-on fan. Surely enthusiasts pushing the X58 to the limit would want extra assistance, something Foxconn provides in abundance.
A fairly vanilla X58 with the odd layout foible, XFX's board will compete on the basis of price. We'll have the full review up in the early part of next week, so watch out to see if it can beat out the current champ, the lusty Bloodrage.