|Intel DX79SI LGA2011 Desktop Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 13 November 2011|
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DX79SI Detailed Features
Intel equips this board with some enthusiast features: in addition to Start and Reset buttons, there are diagnostic LEDs that light up in sequence as the POST progresses, a drive activity LED, and a standby LED that blinks when the system's asleep. There's also a separate POST code display, although without a manual or the POST code quick reference card that will come with the retail package, we can't discern the meaning of the codes displayed. The position of the POST code display means it will be blocked by a card in either of the last two PCI-E slots. In addition to the pretty LEDs, buttons, and POST code display, also note the yellow front panel audio connector, the red auxiliary fan connector (there are only four fan connectors on the board, but they're all bright red and PWM-capable), the blue internal FireWire header, and the front panel connector block.
Continuing along the edge of the board, we see the white consumer IR receive connector, the light blue USB 3.0 internal header, the white consumer IR transmit header, and last four black dual-USB 2.0 headers. Just above the USB 3.0 internal header, you can see the square black Renesas 720200 USB 3.0 controller.
Intel skimps a little on the SATA connectors, with only six where many enthusiast motherboards supply eight, albeit with the help of third party SATA controllers (there is a blank space about an inch to the left of the last SATA ports labeled "SATA 6-9", so perhaps a future board will add a couple more ports here). The two blue connectors are the SATA 6 ports, and right next to them is another bright red fan header. (If I keep harping on the color, it's because it can really be quite hard to find black fan headers in a dark computer case!)
The slot layout is fairly standard, with three PCI-E x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and a single PCI slot for whatever legacy card you might have laying around. I personally prefer that the first two PCI-E x16 slots be separated by two positions rather than just one to allow a little breathing room between two double-slot graphics cards. Of course you can always put your second video card in the third PCI-E slot, where it will block the POST display, but at least there's enough space so that even a double-width card in this slot won't occlude the buttons and headers at the edge of the board.
Note the round beeper module above and between slots 4 and 5 (counting from the right). Since cases no longer include speakers, it's nice to have one on the board for beep codes.
The DX79SI's beta UEFI BIOS is entirely textual, which while functional enough looks primitive next to the graphical, mouse-driven BIOSs of the competition. This screen shot from the Performance section shows some interesting new settings such as ampere and watts settings for the CPU power consumption under sustained and burst modes. If the values here look absurdly high (a kilowatt for burst mode power?), rest assured they're taken directly from Intel's "DX79SI Extreme 4.9GHz Recipe" in the reviewer's guide for this motherboard. Sadly I wasn't able to achieve any significant overclock, even with these settings, probably due to the beta nature of the BIOS.
OK, let's start running some actual tests.