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Review: XFX's Intel Core i7 X58 motherboard: delivering the goods?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 13 February 2009, 09:27 3.55

Tags: X58 XT, XFX (HKG:1079)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaqyw

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Budget at £210?


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 £275.

If anything, XFX's effort can be classed as basic, in a sector where SAS/discrete audio/extra cooling is 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.

All XFX boards are backed up by a two-year warranty that begins on the date of purchase and is transferable if the board is sold on. XFX urges its customers to register their products on its website for efficient validation of the warranty should things go awry. Each board is then provided a registration code that can be passed on to subsequent owners, keeping the warranty intact.