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

Intel DX79SI LGA2011 Motherboard Review

Manufacturer: Intel Corporation
Product Name: Intel Desktop Board DX79SI Extreme Series
Price: MSRP $280-$300

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Intel Corporation.

It's that time again: a new Intel processor line, along with the requisite new chipset and new motherboards. Intel's "Sandy Bridge Extreme" line of processors requires the massive new LGA2011 socket, which in turn is supported by the new X79 chipset. Intel provided a prototype of their top-end DX79SI motherboard with a Core i7-3960X Sandy Bridge E processor for us to test, and Benchmark Reviews will put it through its paces in this review.

Intel's LGA1155 Sandy Bridge processors already set new standards in price/performance; in fact, the top-end Core i7-2600K and 2700K CPUs already challenge the X58-based Core i7-980X and 990X in many benchmarks. Really, how much better could the Sandy Bridge Extreme be? Considering that you have to buy a new motherboard to use it and more memory to get the most out of it, it had better be pretty good!


Intel has not previously been known for its enthusiast motherboards, which often lacked features and performance when compared with the best third party boards. They're actively working to change this perception, and the DX79SI is their latest salvo. Let's take a look at its features and performance!

Intel DX79SI Specifications

Specifications supplied by Intel.

CPU support Supports 4 core and 6 core Extreme Edition processors in the LGA2011 package
Chipset Intel X79 Express chipset
Memory 8 DIMM slots designed to support up to 64GB of memory and overclocks to DDR3-2400
Slots 3 PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots
2 PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots
1 PCI slot, support 3.3V/ 5V PCI bus Interface.
SATA 2 SATA 6Gb/s ports and 4 SATA 3Gb/s ports
Ports 4 USB 3.0 ports, 14 USB 2.0 ports (6 back ports, 8 via internal header), 2 IEEE 1394 ports

Realtek ALC892 10-channel Intel High Definition Audio (8 channel on back panel, 2 channel on f ront panel)

LAN Dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports
Consumer IR Control two CE devices with your PC with optional Consumer IR transmitter/receiver
Intel Rapid Storage Technology Support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10
Back-to-BIOS One-button access to BIOS recovery for overclocking
Post code decoder Two-digit POST codes along with quick reference card for troubleshooting
Initialization and diagnostic LEDs Provide instant, visible system feedback.

This is the first motherboard Benchmark Reviews has seen that officially supports the new PCI Express 3.0 standard. The new standard offers significantly improved bandwidth and is backwards-compatible with the 2.0 standard we've used for many years, which is a good thing as there are currently no PCI-E 3.0 cards available that I know of!

Let's take a look at the new X79 Express chipset in the next section.



# 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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