|Intel DX58SO Smackover X58 Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Miles Cheatham - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 22 December 2008|
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Intel DX58SO: Closer Look
Probably thing single biggest fiasco with the layout of the Intel DX58SO is the positioning of the six SATA ports. As you can see from the image below all six of the SATA ports are in an upright position and two to four of the six become totally useless if you use a large graphics card such as the NVIDIA GTX280. On a board of this caliber which will obviously be used for extremely high-end functions we find this kind of mistake completely unforgivable. The images below will help to make our point much more clearly.
In the first image we installed a single NVIDIA GTX280 and as you can see two of the standing SATA ports are effectively eliminated from use.
In the next image we installed a second GTX 280 in the second PCIe slot. We are well aware that the Intel DX58SO only supports CrossFire and not SLI but the second NVIDIA card is approximately the same size as the ATI 4870. Again by using the CrossFire option which is touted as a major feature on this board, we effectively eliminate two more of the six SATA ports leaving us only two to operate with. This is terribly wrong and could have been easily eliminated by moving the SATA ports to different locations and still keeping their upright presentation. An even simpler solution would have been to have configured the SATA ports in a low profiled right-angle presentation.
We did find another bright spot in this seemingly endless array of layout faux pas on the DX58SO motherboard. Intel chose to use a socketed BIOS chip in lieu of the current trend used by many other manufacturers of soldering the chip to the board. Intel uses the Winbond 25X16, a 16 Megabit BIOS chip to handle these duties. This chip is reputed by Intel to highly fault tolerant and virtually eliminates downtime due to a corrupted BIOS.
Another extremely positive aspect of the Intel Intel DX58SO Smackover X58 Motherboard is the use of 8-channel (7.1) Dolby Home Theater* Audio subsystem with five analog audio outputs and two S/PDIF digital audio outputs (coaxial and optical) using the Sigmatel* 9274D audio codec. This codec allows for extremely high signal-to-noise ratios for an onboard sound system producing around 108 dB when using the digital outputs and experiencing a small drop to 106 dB when the analog segment is used. This makes the DX58SO and excellent option for home theater use.
We leave this section of our review with an image which gives and overview of the Intel DX58SO motherboard with call-outs of all of the boards features and their locations. You can see quite easily from studying this graphic that there are a few more layout issues that we failed to touch on in our overview.