Asus P6X58D-E review
A competent, well-rounded board that’s overshadowed by a more versatile rival
The Asus P6X58D-E is one of the firm's top-end motherboards – at least before the enthusiast Republic of Gamers range forces prices into the stratosphere – and, as such, you’d expect it to boast a pretty beefy specification.
It certainly has the fundamentals covered. The LGA 1366 socket accepts a wide range of Intel Core i7 processors, from the likes of the original i7-920 to the six-core, 32nm i7-980X, and it sits beside Intel’s X58 chipset.
Six DIMM sockets cater for up to 24GB of 2,000MHz memory, and the top half of the board sports a sensible design: the trio of coolers aren’t bulky enough to impede large CPU heatsinks, an eight-pin power plug should keep overclockers happy, and the RAM slots aren’t too close to the processor socket either.
It’s business as usual elsewhere. The three PCI Express x16 slots, theoretically, support a trio of graphics cards running in either Nvidia SLI or ATI CrossFireX, but slot speed could be an issue: you’ll have to choose from two full speed slots and the third running at just x1, or a single slot at x16 and the last two running at x8. There’s also a single PCI Express x1 slot and a pair of standard PCI sockets.
SATA/600 continues its march towards the mainstream, with a pair of these future-proofed ports included alongside six slower SATA/300 sockets. Helpfully, two are positioned perpendicular to the board, with the rest sitting parallel to the black PCB.
Elsewhere there’s a pair of USB 2 headers, a FireWire connector, and five fan connectors, although only two – including the CPU fan jumper – boast variable speed. There are a couple of nods to enthusiasts, with an onboard power button and three jumpers that enable advanced processor and memory overclocking features in the BIOS.
The X58 chipset lacks native support for USB 3, but with the help of a discrete NEC controller two USB 3 ports are included here. They’re joined by four USB 2 ports, FireWire, Gigabit Ethernet, six 3.5mm sockets, a pair of S/PDIF outputs, two PS/2 ports and a clear CMOS button.
It’s a fine selection, but the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R also offers a pair of USB 3 ports, and adds to those with six USB 2 ports and a pair of eSATA sockets.
The Gigabyte pulls ahead in other areas. There’s an additional PCI Express x16 slot, four SATA/600 ports on the board, and it can now be found for around £128 exc VAT – slightly cheaper than the Asus.
The Asus P6X58D-E ticks plenty of boxes, then, but if you’re looking to build a Core i7-based system, it isn’t the board we’d advise you buy. The Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R is the one to choose at this price, boasting a broader range of features and more versatile range of connections.
|Price ex VAT||£135|
|Price inc VAT||£159|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||4|
|Motherboard form factor||ATX|
|Motherboard integrated graphics||no|
|Processor/platform brand (manufacturer)||Intel|
|Processor socket||LGA 1366|
|Motherboard form factor||ATX|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel X58|
|South bridge||Intel ICH10R|
|Number of Ethernet adapters||1|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|CPU power connector type||8-pin|
|Main power connector||ATX 24-pin|
|Memory sockets total||6|
|Internal SATA connectors||6|
|Internal PATA connectors||1|
|Internal floppy connectors||1|
|Conventional PCI slots total||2|
|PCI-E x16 slots total||3|
|PCI-E x8 slots total||0|
|PCI-E x4 slots total||0|
|PCI-E x1 slots total||1|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||1|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||1|
|3.5mm audio jacks||6|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Extra port backplane bracket ports||0|
Diagnostics and tweaking
|Motherboard onboard power switch?||yes|
|Motherboard onboard reset switch?||no|
|SATA cables supplied||2|
|Molex to SATA adaters supplied||0|
|IDE cables supplied||1|
|Floppy cables supplied||0|