|ASUS P6X58D-Premium SATA6G Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 18 February 2010|
Page 17 of 17
ASUS P6X58D-Premium Conclusion
Although our rating and final score are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at different points in time. While we do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that would render our rating obsolete. Please do not base your purchases solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating at the time of publication.
Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate. The first is performance, which considers how effective the ASUS P6X58D-Premium X58-Express SATA-6G motherboard performs in operation against direct competitor products. Graded on a scale of 1.0 to 10, the ASUS P6X58D-Premium receives a score of 9.25 when compared against the other products in its related category. CPU benchmark performance was usually 5% higher than other X58 motherboards, even with the exact same settings applied. DDR3 system memory bandwidth was average for the P6X58D-Premium, but overall system performance was slightly better than others. The Marvell SE9123 SATA 6Gb/s controller performed extremely well compared to other SATA6G options, but firmware changes will keep all motherboard solutions closely approximate to each other. SuperSpeed USB-3.0 functionality is possible because of the NEC D720200F1 chip, although the market has yet to respond with storage devices optimized for the new specification.
Performance is further enhanced by utilizing SLI/Triple-SLI and CrossFireX/Tri-Fire video card sets for high-performance graphics. Intel supports their Extreme Edition (EE) Core-i7 processors on the LGA1366 socket only, and according to Intel's roadmap the future code-named "Gulftown" six-core Westmere chip will also be supported on the ASUS P6X58D-Premium motherboard.
Opposite of other manufacturers, ASUS refrains from turning their motherboards into a full-color canvas. A black printed circuit board helps blue anodized aluminum components to stand out, and nickel-plated heat-pipe gives the hardware an exciting look. The colors used for expansion card slots are matched to bus speed and type, and the power phase and onboard LEDs give just as much for user feedback as they do for captivating looks. At the end of my testing I was pleased to say I don't miss copper heatpipe tubing winding around the motherboard, because the ASUS P6X58D-Premium gets the job done with a single rod.
Much like their original X58-Express motherboard series, ASUS has achieved near-perfect component layout on their P6X58D-Premium platform. The construction is what you would expect from world's leading manufacturers of mainboard products: outstanding. The Marvell-SE9123 and Intel ICH10R Southbridge SATA ports are turned sideways, except for two located along the bottom of the mainboard, allowing full access to them even with large video cards installed. Six DDR3 memory module banks are located far enough away from the socket for better access to them and unrestricted cooling for the processor.
In terms of functionality the ASUS P6X58D-Premium offers everything that previous X58-Express motherboards delivered, plus it adds third-generation SATA 6Gb/s and SuperSpeed USB-3.0 support. The second-revision Marvell 88SE9123 SATA 6Gb/s controller doesn't offer RAID functionality, but excels in single-drive performance as our test results have shown. Eight-channel high-definition audio and dual-Gigabit Ethernet adapters compliment the platform, along with 24GB total DDR3 memory capacity. Intel's X58-Express chipset receives 32 total PCI-Express link lanes, but when you consider that the SATA6G and SuperSpeed USB 3.0 take up to six PCI-E lanes there's only one place to borrow them from: graphics. With the Marvell and NEC controllers enabled in a single card configuration there are still sixteen link-lanes remaining for PCI-Express graphics bandwidth, which is more than enough, but a dual-card set would be reduced to 16+8 since these controllers require the remainder. For most gamers, this isn't going to make a difference because they're using only one or two video cards anyway, but triple-card sets may experience a small performance penalty.
As of 06 December 2010, the ASUS P6X58D-Premium motherboard sells for $286 at Amazon and NewEgg. This prices comes in well below the $400 ASUS P6T7 WS Supercomputer and $350 ASUS Rampage-II Extreme X58-Express motherboards (neither of which offer SuperSpeed USB-3 or SATA 6Gb/s), but it also offers a better value than the $350 Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 motherboard which it competes with directly. As it stands now, the P6X58D-Premium is the only ASUS X58 motherboard to support the new USB3/SATA6G features.
In conclusion, the ASUS P6X58D-Premium demonstrated that it can deliver better overall system performance against related X58-Express platform while also adding updated SuperSpeed USB-3.0 and SATA-III 6.0Gb/s functionality. The 16+2 Xtreme Phase Power Design offers energy efficiency similar to other motherboards of this platform when high-end power VRM features are incorporated. Casual gamers and mainstream computer users need not concern themselves with the P6X58D-Premium, especially since ASUS offers the Maximus-III Formula and P7P55-WS SuperComputer which both offer outstanding performance and value for the Intel P55-Express platform. However, if you're one of the elite few who use an Intel Extreme Edition processor or multiple video cards, then the ASUS P6X58D-Premium would go nicely with a Crucial RealSSD-C300 SATA-III 6Gbps SSD. If 64-bit Windows-7 is your Operating System of choice, there are several 12GB DDR3-1600 memory kits that will deliver exceptional performance for the density.
Casual overclockers may be a little overwhelmed, but enthusiast overclockers will feel right at home with the detailed BIOS options offered on the P6X58D-Premium. My feeling is that real-time power status would still be best served beside the power options, but otherwise the 0702 firmware tested in this article was bullet-proof. The ASUS Express Gate SSD feature is helpful if the O/S is unavailable or you're without a boot drive, but otherwise the added boot-up time will force many users to disable this feature until it's needed. Eight total SATA ports will ensure that no drive is left behind (a popular initiative for my SSD collection), but the SATA-III 6Gbps interface will only benefit compatible modern drives that can reach or exceed the SATA-3GB/s threshold. SuperSpeed 3.0 is really the only functional leap over the others, as SuperSpeed USB 3.0 External Storage Products are actually selling. The full depth of ASUS's proprietary product features is well worth the asking price, although TPM encryption security would have been a nice touch. Considering the improved real-world performance against existing USB-2.0/SATA-3G X58-Express solutions, enthusiasts can count on improving system performance with the ASUS P6X58D-Premium.
+ Outperforms GA-X58A-UD7 head-to-head
- Expensive 'enthusiast' motherboard solution
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
Questions? Comments? Benchmark Reviews really wants your feedback. We invite you to leave your remarks in our Discussion Forum.