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Intel DX79SI LGA2011 Desktop Motherboard E-mail
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Written by David Ramsey   
Monday, 14 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

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.



# 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.
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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