|Intel DX79SI LGA2011 Desktop Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 13 November 2011|
Page 16 of 16
Intel DX79SI Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each 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 could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
My conclusions about this motherboard are necessarily limited: Benchmark Reviews received a pre-production unit with no manual, no accessory pack, and a beta BIOS that dramatically limited overclocking. Still, I can make some observations.
You'll see relatively little, if any, performance differences between different motherboards using the same chipset. With modern processors integrating the memory controller, PCI-E lanes, and such onto the CPU die, there are fewer opportunities for vendors to distinguish their motherboards on stock performance (although well-designed power and cooling systems can certainly help overclocking). What this means is that vendors must distinguish themselves with features, and this is especially true of enthusiast-level motherboards that cost $300 and more. The DX79SI's feature set makes a nod to the enthusiast community, but still lacks some of the basics you'd expect in a motherboard at this price level.
The DX79SI appears to be well-constructed, as you'd expect from Intel, and was stable and reliable through the Benchmark Reviews testing regimen. However, its performance trailed that of the ASUS motherboards we were testing alongside it in every single benchmark, and while this was doubtless due to the beta BIOS, we can only test what we're sent.
Functionally, the DX79SI offers a slew of new features. Some of these, like more memory channels and more PCI-E lanes, are part of the whole Sandy Bridge Extreme/X79 Express package, while others such as the POST code display, status LEDs, and a second gigabit Ethernet port, are things that have been added separately. But the DX79SI simply lacks the chops to seriously compete with high-end boards from many third party vendors, and things like the uninspired Realtek ALC829 audio really don't belong on a board at this level.
All that said, Intel motherboards have earned a reputation for solid and reliable operation over the years, and nothing I saw with the DX79SI leads me to believe it will be any different. This board would make an excellent base for a professional CAD, rendering, or engineering workstation. But you should check out the competition before springing for the Intel board, since you might be able to get more for your money.
+ Excellent performance when paired with top-end Core i7-3960X CPU
- Character-based BIOS looks primitive next to graphical competition
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