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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
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

Closer Look: ASUS X58D

In this section, Benchmark Reviews inspects those small feature details that set the ASUS P6X58D-Premium apart from all other X58-Express motherboards. While SATA-6G and USB-3 support are the highlight features, improvements to the power management, audio, and network functions also exist.

Like many other X58 motherboards, there are six DIMM slots available for DDR3 memory. The ASUS P6X58D-Premium accepts up to 24GB of DDR3 system memory. If overclocked 2000MHz DDR3 can be used; otherwise 1600/1333/1066MHz Non-ECC Un-buffered triple-channel memory architecture is supported. Support for Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory kits is standard on the X58-Express platform. X58-Express does not retire dual-channel memory mode, so enthusiasts who are already using their favorite DDR3 memory in an older system can upgrade to X58 without purchasing additional memory; the drawback is that dual-channel mode only doubles memory bandwidth while triple-channel mode will (you guessed it) triple the original bandwidth.

24GB of available system memory will really add momentum for 64-bit computing support, but the six DIMM slots might also help optimize current 32-bit systems with smaller 1GB modules. 32-Bit Windows Operating Systems for example, offers a 4GB maximum memory mapping space and anything more is ignored. Since most all PCI-E video cards available today offer at least 512MB of GDDR, it's theoretically impossible for enthusiasts to completely realize 4GB of system memory.

ASUS_P6X58D-Premium_Motherboard_IO_Corner.jpg

The rear Input/Output panel (I/O panel) receives the first major update: SuperSpeed USB-3.0 support. Color-coded PS/2 ports are available for older keyboard or mouse peripherals, purple for keyboard and green for mouse. Firmware 0603 originally came with the ASUS P6X58D-Premium, and a PS/2 keyboard was needed to enter the BIOS. Although it's difficult to see, a small black button offers the ability to clear CMOS settings and restart with defaults. Colored blue, two SuperSpeed USB-3.0 ports depend on the NEC-D720200F1 controller chip (part number µPD720200). Two more SuperSpeed USB3 ports could have fit directly beside the fist set, but ASUS engineers decided to leave this area empty.

ASUS_P6X58D-Premium_Motherboard_USB-IO_Ports.jpg

Audio support on the ASUS P6X58D-Premium utilizes the Realtek ALC889 chip, which offers 7.1 High-Definition sound. This audio chipset may be integrated, but with a featured 106 dB Signal to Noise ratio over eight channels it's anything but low-end. The coaxial and optical S/PDIF out ports supply eight channels to PC audiophiles, delivering DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC support and Blu-ray Disc audio layer Content Protection. Realtek's ALC889 chip also supports audio-jack detection, multi-streaming, and front panel jack-retasking. Six analog-out audio jacks are available further down the panel, for backwards compatibility.

The VIA Technologies VT6308 controller powers two IEEE-1394a Firewire ports on the P6X58D-Premium, one at the back and another at the bottom of the motherboard. Four High-Speed USB-2.0 ports are stacked below dual Gigabit Ethernet adapters driven by a set of Marvell 88E8056-NNC1 chips. Both PCIe Gigabit LAN controllers offer the four-year old ASUS AI-NET2 technology, and although not documented on their website or in the manual, I've discovered can diagnose local area network connection issues before entering the Operating System. AI NET2 remotely detects cable connections at system power-on, and faulty connections are reported back up to 100 meters at 1 meter accuracy.

ASUS_P6X58D-Premium_Motherboard_SATA_Corner.jpg

The Intel ICH10R Southbridge chip supports six SATA-3.0Gbps ports (colored blue) capable of RAID-0, 1, 5, and 10. Colored gray, a pair of third-generation SATA 6Gb/s ports are made available on the ASUS P6X58D-Premium by a Marvell 88SE9123-NAA2 controller. For those familiar, this is the second revision of the Marvell SE9123 chip, as the first version had issues with concurrent onboard IDE/PATA instructions. Alternatively, the RAID-capable Marvell 88SE9128 chip is used on Gigabyte motherboards and the performance differences will soon be made clear by our benchmark tests.

Pictured below is the backside of the motherboard PCB showing a PEM-ASP0801 chip, and EPU-ASP0800 power phase ICs covered with solid aluminum heatsink plates. The massive number of power VRM phases are intended to allow overclockers a more stable platform for their tweaking projects.

The ASUS EPU feature provides total system energy efficiency by detecting current PC loadings and intelligently moderating power in real-time by using a 16+2 phase VRM design. The 16+2 phase power design (16-phase to vCore; 2-phase to vDRAM/QPI controller inside CPU) can reach high power efficiency, dispel heat generated by VRM modules effectively by using high quality power components such as low RDS (on) MOSFETs, Ferrite core chokes with lower hysteresis loss, and 100% Japan-made high quality conductive polymer capacitors.

ASUS_P6X58D-Premium_Motherboard_PCB-Back_Detail.jpg

One particular feature the ASUS P6X58D-Premium motherboard offers gamers is a marriage of CrossFireX and Triple-SLI support on the same motherboard. ASUS includes a standard and 3-way SLI bridge connector, but CrossFire bridge connectors will need to be supplied by respective manufacturers.

ASUS offers three PCI-Express 2.0-compliant ports on the P6X58D-Premium: the first slot offers 16x link lanes, the second operates at 16x lanes or switches to 8x whenever the third slot is occupied, which also operates at 8x. In a two-card graphics setup using either ATI CrossFire or NVIDIA SLI configuration, the first two PCI-E 2.0 ports operating at 16-lanes per video card offers the most ideal bandwidth.

While adding a third video card for triple-SLI or CrossFireX won't come close to bandwidth saturation and should not see any measure of reduced performance for most video games, there could be a penalty for using that third PCIe slot when SATA6G (Marvell 9123) and USB-3.0 (NEC D720200F1) are enabled. Intel's X58-Express offers 32 total PCI-E 2.0 link lanes reserved for graphics, and the Intel X58 IOH provides an additional four lanes that can be used for graphics or I/O for a total of 36 PCI-Express lanes. More likely uses of those four lanes will be the DMI link, Marvell, and NEC chips, which will share those lanes or borrow as-needed for normal operation.

ASUS_P6X58D-Premium_Motherboard_PCI-Express_Slots.jpg

Another note of interest is the orientation of SATA ports, which utilize transverse-mount connections to stem cables off to the side of the motherboard for both SATA6G and four adjacent SATA3G ports. This layout works extremely well for all modern video cards, especially the larger GeForce GTX 285 and Radeon HD 4870 X2 video cards which occupy multiple expansion slots.

Please continue on towards the next section, which how Benchmark Reviews will go about testing the top-of-the-line ASUS P6X58D-Premium motherboard.



 

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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