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XFX's 'budget' X58 motherboard early look: promises much

by Tarinder Sandhu on 6 February 2009, 15:45

Tags: X58 XT, XFX (HKG:1079)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaqxk

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What else?

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.

HEXUS Forums :: 10 Comments

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£210 is still a high premium for just a motherboard.
lol, budget, I was expecting a £150 board and to find I was wrong to tell people the prices would never come that low. Thicker pcb, more tracers, more mem slots/traces means these boards will always cost more to make aswell as to design.

One thing worth noting about the “poor” placement of the 8pin power socket. There are sooo many heatsinks that can really only be installed outside of a case, and they are generally all so big now that access to the top left corner of the pcb is almost non existant once you've installed sink then got the motherboard into the case. In those situations the top edge placement of the 8pin socket actually becomes the far worse position. Also remember that more, and more, and more cases have the psu at the base of the case now, making the top edge position difficult for length/routing reasons and still often no room to get your hand down into the corner.

There isn't really a perfect place for the cable but mostly the lower placement will be basically always reachable in any case once mobo/cpu heatsink are installed, while many heatsink case combo's make the top placement a complete pain in the arse.

I'd prefer the cable to be ever so slightly harder to route but you can reach the clip to attach/detach the cable as needed, than cable to be easy but you can't reach the damn thing at all.
Can get them for £200…………….. of course, sometimes they end up DOA. *cough*
Eww it's XFX again…

The board is nice looking but that 8 pin really should be at the top so the cable can be hidden more easily :)

Wonder if it's a good clocker..