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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 18 February 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS P6X58D-Premium SATA6G Motherboard
Intel Core i7: Platform
Intel X58-Express Platform
ASUS P6X58D-Premium Features
ASUS P6X58D-Premium Specifications
First Look: P6X58D-Premium
Closer Look: ASUS X58D
BIOS and Overclocking
Motherboard Testing Methodology
EVEREST CPU Benchmarks
Maxon CINEBENCH Results
PCMark Vantage Test Results
HD Tune Pro Benchmarks
Far Cry 2 Benchmark
Power Consumption Results
Tylersburg Refresh Final Thoughts
ASUS P6X58D-Premium Conclusion

Tylersburg Refresh Final Thoughts

Back when Benchmark Reviews launched the Intel Core i7 CPU & X58-Express platform in November 2008, having a team of two or more graphics cards seemed plausible for a few elite gamers. Extremely low retail prices on DDR3 system memory helped ease the new standard into mainstream acceptance when it would return in the P55-Express platform. However, it's because of Intel's X-before-P launch schedule that new technologies such as SuperSpeed USB-3.0 and third-generation SATA 6Gb/s were delivered on the mainstream P55 and overlooked the aging X58-Express "Tylersburg" enthusiast chipset. Without fail, the manufacturers have created their very own Tylersburg-refresh options ahead of the Intel X68-Express platform.

If X58 is good for anything, it's the 32-link lanes it provides PCI-Express 2.0 graphics. For single-unit video cards this is a non-issue, since sixteen lanes are more than enough and both the P55 or X58-Express platforms offer this. It's the multi-card setups that will see the most benefit from X58, primarily Triple-SLI and CrossFireX 'Tri-Fire' sets with three video cards. Additionally, the new NEC SuperSpeed USB3 and Marvell SATA6G controllers won't cause any performance penalty for borrowing much-needed PCI-Express link lanes on the X58 platform like they would on P55. But even still, X58-Express cannot offer what P55 has introduced: optimal memory management.ASUS_P6X58D-Premium_Motherboard_Kit.jpg Benchmark Reviews has further documented the differences in our P55 vs X58 article.

With DRAM being sold at the lowest prices we've seen in many years, the introduction of a motherboard willing to harness large amounts of DDR3 may be a blessing in disguise. Even though enthusiasts have yet to fall in love with 64-bit versions of the Windows Operating System, there has been renewed interest since the launch of Windows 7. Supporting up to 24GB or system memory on a desktop motherboard is unheard of, and it's all thanks to triple-channel support on X58. The downside, however, is that transaction times are far worse than if the memory controller was integrated into the processor such as on Intel's 'Lynnfield' Core-i5/i7 LGA1156 processors.

As the Intel P55 chipset has now demonstrated, the future is in PCH-based designs, and 32- (or 22nm) technology has paved the way for Moore's law to continue as predicted. A true Tylersburg refresh (X68) may deliver all of the hardware features we desire for modern computing, but this isn't Field of Dreams, and if you build it they won't come. Computer hardware needs more than speed and power; it needs purpose.

New and upcoming DirectX-11 software notwithstanding, video games have generally required the same graphical power as they needed over the past few years. Newer server and virtualization technology continues to refine efficiency and uses fewer CPU cycles. So essentially software is barely moving forward while hardware is making leaps and bounds. Which raises the question: to what end?

Software just hasn't been keeping up its end of the deal, and most people still use 32-bit technology (introduced back in Windows 95). it's sad but true. Games like Crysis helped give reason for advancing graphics technology, just like virtualization technology and Terminal Services helped push processor power. But the apex of software demands hasn't really changed in several years, and having massive amounts of system memory are only helpful if there's an application that requires it.

I used to overclock my Pentium 4 (and later Pentium D and Core 2) processor to get a few extra frames out of Battlefield 2 and earn more work units per day with Folding@Home. But now I have a graphics card that performs 600x better at folding proteins than my CPU ever did, and I have a Core-i7 processor that can encode my self-authored DVD's in a fraction of the time it used to take. We haven't hit the wall, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting very close.

If software doesn't come around soon, perhaps in the shape of widespread adoption towards 64-bit computing using Microsoft Windows 7, we'll soon share the same dilemma facing the automobile industry: high-horsepower engines with break-neck torque driving down roads with a 65-MPH speed limit. I personally feel that this has been the case ever since Intel launched the Core 2 processor, which is why we're now sharing the other auto-industry dilemma: power efficiency.



 

Comments 

 
# Mobo or OS?supotlol 2010-02-18 11:17
"Only 3x 1GB RAM modules can be utilized by 32-bit O/S"

Why is this a con when this is not the fault of the motherboard but of the OS?
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# Agree...Mouser 2010-04-21 11:28
The limitation of 3GB of memory supported by a 32-bit OS is not a "con" of the motherboard design by any stretch of the imagination. This "con" does not belong in this review.
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# That depends...Olin Coles 2010-04-21 13:50
If you've been using dual-channel motherboards, then you've become accustomed to having the (nearly) full 4GB memory address available. With X58 you're limited to 3GB, which is further reduced by any other memory (video/audio/etc) that may amount to more than 1GB.

It's a con.
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# it is not a confrank 2010-10-03 12:16
In dual channel with 4GB RAM + 1GB GPU your OS would give 3GB RAM to the CPU and 1GB to GPU which leaves 1GB of RAM unusable. A triple channel system having 3GB RAM + 1GB GPU would actually be right on spot with the 4GB OS barrier. So obviously, not only your logic is flawed but your basic math is also wrong.
I don't see how it is different to have 4GB RAM + 1GB GPU or 3GB RAM + 1GB GPU. In the end your CPU will only address 4GB memory so in the dual channel config you are wasting 1GB. Assuming a 2GB GPU in dual channel configs you will get 4GB RAM + 2GB GPU= 2GB RAM + 2GB GPU which means you will waste 2Gb of RAM (assuming the OS will keep favouring GPU memory over RAM). In triple channel you would get 3GB RAM + 2GB GPU = 2GB RAM + 2GB GPU.
If the OS decides to cut off the extra 1GB from the GPU then you still end up with 3GB RAM and 1GB GPU in both configs.
Not a con.
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# 3GBSilver 2010-02-18 12:15
Why would someone that buys a $300+ mobo run a. 3gb of ram or b. a 32bit os. I see no reason to even bring up something so trivial, especially as a 'con'. Also "BIOS options can be complicated for some users", if you buy this board, again someone spending $300+ on a high-end board probably knows what they're doing.
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# RE: ASUS P6X58D-Premium SATA6G MotherboardOlin Coles 2010-02-18 16:44
Just because you might personally know and understand that only 64-bit Operating Systems will support anything more than 4GB of system memory, doesn't mean that everyone else does... including people who have bought this enthusiast motherboard. Just take look at some of the feedback left at the retailer websites for proof.

My rating is subjective, and it is my own. As I say at the beginning of the Conclusion page: Please do not base your purchases solely on our conclusion.
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# Not true about "only 64-bit OS"Rod 2010-02-19 18:21
32-bit Linux supports >4G while utilising Intel's PAE
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# Memory LimitationPhilip Merritt 2010-02-18 17:36
Be aware that page 2-11 of the P6X58D Premium User Manual says "Due to Intel spec definition, X.M.P.DIMMs and DDR3-1600 are supported for one DIMM per channel only." That means higher speed memory is only supported for 3 DIMMs, leaving 3 memory slots empty. Be cautious if you plan to use 24 GB of system memory at the higher speeds. Searching the web for success/failure stories is advised.
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# Thanks for the Review.Shane Broussard 2010-02-19 04:36
Hello. Thanks for the great review of this board. I have been using this board for the past two weeks with great success. But I have only seen one other website review this board. Thanks.
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# new user "memory recommendations??"john 2010-02-25 19:44
just bought board with i7 920,mushkin enhaced 1600 ddr3.memory seems slow for this board any ideas,tweaks or new memory recommend...
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# USB 3.0/SATA-6GJames 2010-02-27 20:41
Excellent review, but I noticed a possible error.
You stated that 6 of 32 PCIe lanes are borrowed from graphics for USB 3.0/SATA-6G support. However, Intel?s X58 IOH supports 36 PCIe lanes, of which 32 are required for 16x/8x/8x triple-SLI/CFX. I?m not sure why the motherboard would reserve six lanes, since only four are used by the ASUS U3S6 PCI-E 4x expansion card. It appears that the graphics performance of this motherboard may not be crippled after all. Although I?m still not sure what happens in the 16x/16x/1x configuration, since an extra lane is required.
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# Oxymoronmisha 2010-03-01 16:57
Your cons: "- Expensive 'enthusiast' motherboard solution; - BIOS options can be complicated for some users"

If it is an enthusiast board as you say, you'd expect rookies to buy a simpler solution, no? Complication not really a con here!
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# Comments about 3GB RAMJMember 2010-03-08 17:44
Then buy 4 RAM modules, won't it work? =O
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# CorrectionsRagingDragon 2010-03-17 20:07
The memory controller is integrated on LGA1366 CPU's, like the LGA1156 CPU's, though the latter seem to have more aggressively optimized memory controllers (perhaps being dual channel they can be optimized more than a triple channel controller?).

The X58 IOH has: 36 PCIe lanes, 4 PCIe lanes linking to the ICH10 southbridge, and a QPI link to the CPU. Unless ASUS are insane, the SATA3 and USB3 controllers would use 4 PCIe lanes from the IOH, leaving a full 32 PCIe lanes for graphics (16 + 16, or 16 + 8 + 8). The PCIe 1X slot, the 1X lane for 16 + 16 + 1 mode, and PCIe lanes for the gigabit LAN would be provided by the ICH10.
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# ManfromtheLandof"QRichard Eckert 2010-03-21 08:14
This P6X58D runs cool 39-45cent with 7-7-7-20 Patriot pc10666,3x2gb.My evga 141-BL-E757-TR run 60cent but it is great to leran to adjust cpu. I let speedstep in Advance Menu(bios) use my operating sytem to run the o/c.
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# 32 stuffBengie 2010-04-02 17:46
#1. It's not a memory limit, but an address space limit. System memory+Sound Card+Video Card+NIC+Etc all have share this 4GB memory space.
#2. Windows client(Non server variants), use to support PAE for memory reasons, but drivers ALSO need to correctly support the feature otherwise memory/data corruption can happen. MS decided too many companies couldn't make decent drivers and disabled extended memory for non-server versions.
#3. Who uses 32bit OS's anymore? That's like using dial up when you have access to FIOS.
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# ArchitectBill 2010-04-14 13:16
(1) Does the fact that both the ASUS and Gigabyte motherboards are designed so SATA-III borrows from PCI-E link lanes mean that I am not going to get the benefit of SATA-III ?

(2) Am I correct to assume that the ASUS motherboard will not support SATA-III Raid 0 ?

(3) Which gives the most bang-for-the-buck: the Crucial RealSSD-C300 with a SATA-III controller (the Marvell SE128 on the Gigabyte motherboard), or the Intel SSD 80GB with a SATA-II controller (the Marvell SE123 on the ASUS motherboard) ?

(4) And finally, if I go with the Gigabyte board, I am thinking about going with the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5 as opposed to the ?UD7... as I am an architect using CAD and GIS and not a gamer and thus don?t see the need for advanced cooling. Any problems with this decision ?
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# @BillOlin Coles 2010-04-14 14:17
1) SATA-6G (aka SATA-III) is limited to 5.0 GB/s for motherboards using a controller on the PCIe bus. Presently there isn't an SSD that comes close to that limit, and HDDs barely touch SATA-3G. You'll need a SATA-6G drive that produces more than 300MB/s to make it worth the while.

2) You are correct.

3) Crucial is faster for sure, but I think the OCZ Agility or Corsair Nova are the best bang for the buck.

4) I would use P55 and not X58. My company has built many CAD/CAM systems, and you want to spend your money on a very fast HDD or SSD, decent video card, and plenty of RAM. P55 does a better job with memory and CPU performance than X58... clock for clock.
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# bossHostile 2010-06-04 00:02
Excellent MOBO. I got Asus P6X58D Premium, Intel core i7 975, 2*XFX Black Edition Radeon HD-5970 (4*GPU) video-cards, 12GB Corsair 1600MHz RAM, 1000W Corsair PSU etc... and i like this MOBO very much. Good to overclocking. So are video-cards and processor too. I can say that, this mobo(chips etc.)really kicks hard...
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# mobo died in a yearChris McFaul 2012-03-27 11:15
P6x58D Premium died a silent death. Just decided it would not power on one day. Lightly used, anyone else have this issue?
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# Blank_DiskAndy 2012-08-11 22:26
After reading this review i would agree that the 3 gb barrier is no fault of the mainboard but a limitation of 32 bit o/s, they should of tested it on 64 bit o/s as i run win 7 64 myself and its fantastic on one of these boards with 6gb ddr3 1866 & i7920 clocked to a modest 3.5 ghz, runs everything very quickly, have even had my processor up to 4.2 ghz with no problems but the 920 requires a lot of voltage for that to be stable, the only flaw i can see is the 2 pcie X16 slots are too close for 2 dual slot cards to be ran other than that its a great solution in my opinion
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# RE: Blank_DiskOlin Coles 2012-08-12 08:53
So you read this article, but didn't see our Test Methodology section that clearly states we used Windows-7 Ultimate Edition 64-Bit? Oh, and it's a 4GB barrier, not 3GB; although our test system used 6GB DDR3.
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