EVGA X58 SLI Sneak Peek
After years of building motherboards based exclusively on core-logic from NVIDIA, today EVGA is set to introduce their first motherboard relying on a non-NVIDIA chipset; EVGA’s aptly named X58 SLI based on the Intel X58 “Tylersburg” platform with ICH10R South Bridge.
We’re going to take you on a quick guided tour of the board as the motherboard just arrived and we’re still busy cranking away with our benchmarks of the board.
To power Intel’s Core i7 CPU EVGA has implemented a 8-phase power design. EVGA says they've designed the power subsystem to deliver up to 430W of power. Interestingly enough EVGA cools the power circuitry with a dual heatpipe cooler. Some of the preproduction board shots suggested that the heatpipes would be made from copper, but it seems like EVGA changed their plans for the final retail product, as the heatpipes are made from aluminum.
As you can see the cooling for the MOSFETs is independent of the North Bridge. EVGA cools the heatpipes with a stacked fin heatsink that’s a little over 1.5” tall. The cooling array is secured a little loosely, so we’d suggest care when working around it, as its height could make it vulnerable to accidents.
EVGA’s North Bridge cooling is similar to the coolers EVGA has implemented on their newer 790i SLI FTW boards. The cooler consists of a heatsink+fan unit that’s responsible for keeping the North Bridge of the chipset cool.
Those of you who have experienced chipset fans in the past may be a little squeamish at the thought of this, as chipset fans have a notorious reputation for running on the noisy side, but EVGA’s newest chipset fan runs considerably quieter than fans we’ve experienced on other motherboards.
EVGA uses a small heatsink to cool the ICH10R South Bridge. As you can see, the heatsink is adorned with over a dozen “e” logos. These are not only decorative, they also serve a real purpose, helping to ever so slightly increase the surface area of the heatsink itself and thus improve its cooling performance.
The CPU area
With so many large heatsinks located in close proximity to the CPU socket, some of you may have concerns about mounting large CPU coolers to EVGA’s X58 SLI motherboard. However we had no problems whatsoever mounting Thermalright’s Ultra-120 eXtreme RT cooler to the board.
As you can see in the pictures, the Ultra-120 is not a small CPU cooler, so we don’t think this will be an issue for most CPU heatsinks.
6 DIMMs and 3-Way SLI/CrossFire
The EVGA X58 SLI ships with 6 DIMM sockets with support for single, dual, and triple-channel memory configurations. In fact EVGA ships the board with a handy sticker that outlines how to properly install the memory modules for each memory mode, including those of you with 4 DDR3 DIMMs.
EVGA equips the X58 SLI motherboard with three PCI Express graphics slots, providing support for CrossFireX as well as 2-Way and 3-Way SLI.
Under dual graphics operation both PEG slots will run at x16 speeds, while 3-Way devotes 16 PCI Express lanes to the primary graphics slot, while the remaining two PEG slots get 8 PCIe lanes.
Finally, at the bottom of the motherboard EVGA provides onboard power and reset buttons with integrated LEDs for the power LED and HDD activity LEDs you’d use on your case. Next to the power and reset buttons is a handy button for clearing CMOS. This is a great feature to have when OC’ing, after an unsuccessful OC attempt merely press the button to clear CMOS and start over. EVGA also continues to provide a diagnostic LED display located just behind the SATA ports.
The motherboard’s back panel is nicely equipped. Next to the USB and keyboard ports EVGA provides a second button for clearing CMOS, so you won’t have to reach inside your case to reset your motherboard’s BIOS, while 8 USB 2.0 ports are provided total (an additional 4-port USB header also ships with the board’s packaging). EVGA also provides audio jacks for 8-channel audio, coax and optical SPDIF outputs, dual Gigabit Ethernet, and a FireWire and e-SATA port. We also should mention that Gigabyte ships the board with round IDE and floppy cables.