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Intel DX79SI LGA2011 Desktop Motherboard E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
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

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.

intel_dx79si_box_board.jpg

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.

Pros:

+ Excellent performance when paired with top-end Core i7-3960X CPU
+ Enthusiast features like POST code display, Start and Reset buttons, status LEDs, PWM fan headers, and Overclocking Assistant
+ Eight DIMM sockets
+ Unencumbered by legacy ports...well, except for that single PCI slot
+ Includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules (according to Intel)

Cons:

- Character-based BIOS looks primitive next to graphical competition
- Beta BIOS limited overclocking
- POST code display obscured by graphics card in last PCI-E slot
- Only four fan headers
- Not feature competitive with high end third party boards

Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave constructive feedback below, or ask questions in our Discussion Forum.


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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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