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Intel DX79SI LGA2011 Desktop Motherboard E-mail
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Written by David Ramsey   
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Intel DX79SI LGA2011 Desktop Motherboard
The Intel X79 Express Chipset
Closer Look: Intel DX79SI Motherboard
DX79SI Detailed Features
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Extreme Edition Tests
PCMark Vantage Tests
CINEBENCH R11.5 Benchmarks
CPU-Dependent 3D Gaming
PassMark PerformanceTest
Media Encoding Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Tests
SPECapc Lightwave
Blender and POV-Ray
X79 Express Motherboard Final Thoughts
Intel DX79SI Conclusion

The Intel X79 Express Chipset

LGA2011 processors, like the Sandy Bridge Extreme series shown above, require the new X79 Express chipset. If you look at the block diagrams of the Z68 and X79 chipsets side by side, the X79 seems functionally identical to the Z68, except that it lacks the digital display support and Intel Smart Response Technology. The lack of the latter is disappointing, since our tests with Intel Smart Response Technology showed that its use of an SSD as an intelligent cache to a hard drive could dramatically improve storage performance. Perhaps to make up for this, the X79 does permit overclocking via raising the base clock (BCLK) frequency, something that's almost impossible on the previous Sandy Bridge chipsets since most of the other clocks on the board were derived from the base clock, and raising it more than a few MHz would make the entire board unstable.

Processor

Cores/Threads

L3 Cache

Base Frequency

Max Turbo
(Single Core)

Memory Support

TDP

Intel Core i7 3960X

6 / 12

15 MB

3.3 GHz

3.9 GHz

Quad-channel DDR3 1600

130W

Intel Core i7 3930K

6 / 12

12 MB

3.2 GHz

3.8 GHz

Quad-channel DDR3 1600

130W

Intel Core i7 3820

4 / 8

10 MB

3.6 GHz

3.9 GHz

Quad-channel DDR3 1600

130W

Intel provides this handy block diagram of an LGA2011-based system with an X79 Express chipset:

Intel-X79-Express-Block-Diagram.png

As with the Z68 and earlier P67 chipsets, there are 14 USB 2.0 ports and 6 SATA ports, of which only two are SATA 6G. Notably missing is Intel's "Light Peak" (aka "Thunderbolt") interface, which Intel has touted as a reason for not supporting SuperSpeed USB 3.0. And it's really odd that only two of the SATA ports are SATA 6G, since 6G devices are becoming more common, especially among SSDs. For a cutting-edge platform, this is impossible to justify. At least AMD gives you a full six SATA 6G ports.

One nice thing is the abundance of PCI-E lanes, an area Intel has historically been a little skimpy on, especially on their LGA1155/1156 platforms. The Sandy Bridge E provides a full 40 PCI-E lanes from the processor, more than twice the 16 lanes of an LGA1155 Sandy Bridge CPU, and an additional eight lanes from the X79 chipset...the same as from the P67/Z68 chipsets. Together, that's a full 48 PCI-E lanes, besting even AMD's 42. Triple-card SLI/CrossFireX systems will run at 16/16/8 with eight lanes left over for SATA 6 and USB 3.0 use.

So the X79's a mixed bag: only two SATA 6G ports and no USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt, but plenty of PCI-E lanes.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Apple iPad Multi-Touch Tablet Device LaunchedDevan 2010-02-17 09:02
where is the pictures?
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# RE: Intel DX79SI LGA2011 Desktop MotherboardWade Eilrich 2011-11-14 22:02
I've not been impressed with an Intel motherboard for a long time, but this one - especially paired with the new, screaming fast Sandy Bridge CPU, might change my mind once they release a stable BIOS. I'm a little disappointed that they removed Smart Response because I think many enthusiasts will want to boot from an SSD in this system. The upcoming i7-3820 (Q1 2012) is an interesting alternative, if the price point is reasonable. As always, your reviews are an excellent read David (although I do miss some of the tongue-in-cheek humor) :)
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# RE: RE: Intel DX79SI LGA2011 Desktop MotherboardDavid Ramsey 2011-11-17 10:04
Wade, you can boot from an SSD with no problem; it's using an SSD as a cache for a hard drive that's no longer directly supported. Third parties like ASUS have added their own SSD caching features to their X79 motherboards. Dunno why Intel dropped the feature...
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# light and confortableCHARLEYAM 2011-11-15 11:20
looks like you guys have out done yourselfs. I know alot of people (gamers) have overlooked you boards in the past but you always had high end boards I guess you never had to advertise people who know got them.. this is one sweet mb and at my next build this would be the building block I would start with
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# very good but not a huge leapReSeRe 2011-11-17 05:59
1st, nice review once again.

i must say in the beginning that i-ll be a little biased, cause i do own an 990X.
So, it looks that Intel achieve full maturity with this type of processors (let-s call it I7 class). And not very distant from the end. Which may be not a good part for buyers. but,
on the other hand this means reiability, trust, and so on. Now, the efforts go in MB/3rd party enhancements.
good.
and , i think if today you own an 980X/2600k or around, you can stay relaxed 2 or more years. Also, I DO HOPE its a good time for AMD to catch the train. I hate/worry about monopoly. and the new amd CPU give us a little hope. good.
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# No comparison!Teemu Milto 2011-11-28 08:28
You just reviewed the processors, and possibly even were compromized by your different GPU and memory set-ups. No comparison of motherboards means that nothing can be said about the performance of Intel DX79SI LGA2011 Desktop Motherboard .
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# RE: No comparison!David Ramsey 2011-11-28 09:00
I used the same hard drive, GPU and memory for each motherboard, with the exception of the DDR3-1866 RAM used on the AMD system. You'd know this if you'd bothered to read the "Motherboard Testing Methodology" section. The stated purpose of these tests was to see how Intel's latest platform compares against the best existing AMD and Intel platforms.

If you want to see how the Intel DX79SI compares against other X79 Express motherboards, read my "X79 Express Motherboard Performance Comparison." But do try to pay attention this time.
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# re re no comparisonbigguy 2012-03-17 04:17
Haha good for you David for calling someone who merely skims your site/reviews and has the nerve to start trying to undermine it all. There's meds for this kind of thing....
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# Account managerGeorges Al tawil 2012-11-19 03:27
David i Have a question does the Mother board DX79SI support Lynux sound card " LYNX 192Hz " ??

your prompt return will be highly appriciated .
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# RE: Account managerDavid Ramsey 2012-11-19 07:20
I have no idea. I've never heard of that sound card and (obviously) don't have one to test.

That said, there's nothing magic or different about the X79's PCI-E slots, nor is software on that level any different, so if the card works in the PCI-E slots of any other motherboard, it should work fine in this board.
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