|ASUS P6X58D-Premium SATA6G Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 18 February 2010|
Page 6 of 17
First Look: P6X58D-Premium
Intel originally launched the X58-Express platform on 3 November 2008 and despite some incremental improvements here and there, very little has changed with the otherwise ideal core design. While not their most expensive mainboard solution, the ASUS P6X58D-Premium motherboard is designed for the enthusiast through-and-through. A black (dark brown, really) printed circuit board (PCB) is paired with other black and blue hardware components to create an attitude that says "I'm built to work hard, and play even harder". Benchmark Reviews has tested more than a few motherboards in our time, and ASUS has repeatedly proven itself as the premier name in new technology and hardware stability. While our benchmark tests will prove this point later in this article, this section will cover basic motherboard features and component details.
Based on Intel's X58-Express chipset, the ASUS P6X58D-Premium comes with the requisite two 16x PCI-Express 2.0 lanes, and single 8x PCI-Express 2.0 lane. NVIDIA Triple-SLI or ATI CrossFireX video card sets perform their best with X58-Express platforms, which allow extreme-bandwidth graphics processing hardware to take advantage of the 32 reserved link lanes. A single-lane PCI-Express slot and two standard PCI slots also offer additional expansion capabilities, if you should need them.
ASUS offers a single heat-pipe rod on the P6X58D-Premium motherboard, which spans from the covered Intel ICH10R Southbridge chip, over and past the X58-Express Northbridge chip's heatsink, and continues on to cover two rows of power-management components cooled by thin aluminum fin-sinks.
At first glance it might not seem like the ASUS P6X58D-Premium offers anything new that the nine other ASUS P6T-series motherboards or both Rampage-II products don't already offer, but the devil is in the details as they say. At the time of this writing, the P6X58D-Premium is the only motherboard in the ASUS X58 product line to offer SuperSpeed USB-3.0 or Revision 3.x SATA 6.0-Gbps (aka SATA-III) controllers.
Surrounding the LGA1366 processor socket are several high-quality CPU power modules that utilize ferrite core chokes to minimize electromagnetic (and radio) interference signal noise and create a cleaner electrical circuit and comprise the finer points ASUS' EPU and 16+2 Phase Power Design. A lower Resistance from Drain to Source rDS (ON) MOSFET array allows for transitional power steps. Japanese manufactured SMD solid state capacitors, which contain a solid organic polymer and lower equivalent series resistance (ESR), are implemented throughout this board and will likely outlast the useful life of the ASUS P6X58D-Premium motherboard.
Previous generation LGA775 cooling products are not compatible with the LGA1366 socket. The X58-Express LGA1366 socket increased the distance between CPU cooler mounting holes to 80mm, which is significantly more footprint area than the 72mm used by the LGA775 socket. This has opened the door for several new aftermarket cooling solution, since the Intel Core-i7 desktop processor series is by definition an enthusiast product line made to endure overclocking.
Many CPU cooler manufacturers have designed adapters to fit existing LGA775 coolers onto the LGA1366 socket, which isn't safe because of the enlarged processor surface area. For systems not receiving an overclock, this may not be such a problem. But if you're going to re-use your Core 2 cooler on any enthusiast-grade Nehalem LGA1366 Core-i7 processor, it had better be listed near the top of our Best CPU Cooler Performance list. I'll explain why in my final thoughts section, which should be helpful information for hardware enthusiasts.
The backside of the ASUS P6X58D-Premium PCB illustrates how much design effort went into making all of the new components fit. Notice that there are anodized-aluminum plate heatsinks covering the power VRM undersides, and an EPU-ASP0800 power phase IC chip is positioned nearby. There's more detail on the power phase enhancements in the next section, so please continue on...