Things tend to get a little messy in roundups, so we’ve created a comparison chart for your convenience. We’ve also thrown in the Asus P6T Deluxe and Asus Rampage II Extreme into the mix. Of course there are other X58 boards out there, but we’ll leave those for another time.

Specifications Table

Asus P6T Deluxe Asus Rampage II Extreme Biostar TPower X58 DFI LanParty UT X58-T3He8 Foxconn Blood Rage Intel DX58S0 XFX  X58i
Memory Controller Hub Intel X58
I/O Hub Intel ICH10R
DDR3 DIMM Slots 6 6 6 6 3 4 6
PCI Express Slots 1 x4* (1.0a)
3 x16 (2.0)
2 x1* (2.0)
3 x16 (2.0)
1 x1 (1.0a)
3 x16 (2.0)
1 x4
3 x16 (2.0)
1 x1
4 x16 (2.0)
2 x1 (1.1)
1 x4* (2.0)
2 x16 (2.0)
1 x1
3 x16 (2.0)
PCI Express Lane Configurations x4 x1/x1 x1 x4 x1  x1/x1/x4 x1
x16/x16/x1
or
x16/x8/x8
x16/x16/x1
or
x16/x8/x8
x16/x16/x4 x16/x16
or
x16/x8/x8
x16/x16
or x16/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8
x16/x16 x16/x16
or
x16/x8/x8
PCI Slots 2 1 2 2 1 1 2
 CrossfireX Yes
SLi Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Network Dual Gigabit Ethernet by 2 Marvell 88E8056 (PCIe) Dual Gigabit Ethernet by 2 Marvell
88E8056
(PCIe)
Dual Gigabit Ethernet by 2 Realtek RTL8111C (PCIe) Dual Gigabit Ethernet by Marvell 88E8052 (PCIe) and Marvell 88E8053 (PCIe) Dual Gigabit Ethernet by 2 Realtek RTL8111C (PCIe) Single Gigabit Ethernet by Intel 82567LF (PCIe)

Dual Gigabit Ethernet by 2 Marvell 88E8056 (PCIe)
Audio Analog Devices ADI AD2000B 7.1 HDA Analog Devices ADI AD2000B 7.1 HDA (on separate card**, supports Creative X-Fi MB) Realtek ALC888S 7.1 HDA Realtek ALC889 7.1 HDA (on separate card) Realtek ALC889 7.1 HDA (on separate card**, supports Creative X-Fi MB) Realtek ALC889 7.1 HDA

 Realtek ALC888 7.1 HDA
Storage Chipset 6 Internal SATA 3Gbps by ICH10R (RAID 0,1,5,10)
Extras 1 External SATA 3Gbps by Marvell 88SE6111 1 Internal + 1 External SATA 3Gbps by JMicron JMB363 (RAID 0,1) 2 External SATA 3Gbps by JMicron JMB363 (RAID 0,1) 2 Internal SATA 3Gbps by JMicron JMB363 (RAID 0,1) 2 External SATA 3Gbps by JMicron JMB363 (RAID 0,1) 2 External SATA 3Gbps by Marvell 88SE6121 (RAID 0,1) 2 External SATA 3Gbps by JMicron JMB363 (RAID 0,1)
1 IDE by Marvell 88SE6111 1 IDE by JMicron JMB363 1 IDE by JMicron JMB363 1 IDE by JMicron JMB363 1 IDE by JMicron JMB363 1 IDE by JMicron JMB363
2 SAS***
by Marvell 88SE6320 (RAID 0,1)
2 SAS***
by Marvell 88SE6320 (RAID 0,1)
 Total (SATA/ eSATA/ SAS/IDE) 6/1/2/1 7/1/0/1 6/2/0/1 8/0/0/1 6/2/2/1 6/2/0/0  6/2/0/1
USB (rear panel/ headers) 12 (6/6) 14 (8/6) 12 (8/4) 12 (6/6) 12 (8/4) 12 (8/4) 12 (6/6)
Firewire (rear panel/headers) 2 (1/1), by VIA VT6308P 2 (1/1), by VIA VT6308P 2 (1/1), by TI TSB43AB22A 2 (1/1), by VIA VT6307 2 (1/1), by VIA VT6308P 2 (1/1), by TI TSB43AB22A 2 (1/1), by JMicron JMB381
PS/2 port  1, keyboard or mouse 1, keyboard 1, keyboard 2, keyboard & mouse 1, keyboard 1, keyboard
Floppy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
 Fan headers
(including CPU fan)
5 8 3 6 5  5 5
 CPU power phases 16 16 12 8 (digital) 14 6 6
Clock Generator ICS 9LPRS918JKLF ICS 9LPRS918JKLF Realtek RTM885N-914 ICS 9LPRS918JKLF ICS 9LPRS139AKLF Silego SLG505YC264BT IDT CV183-2APAG
BIOS Single Dual Single Single Dual Single Dual
 BIOS Profile Banks 2 8 10 4 8 1 None
Onboard buttons  Power, Reset, Clear CMOS Power, Reset, Clear CMOS, 4 ExtremeOC butons Power, Reset Power, Reset, Clear CMOS (by pressing Power + Reset) Power, Reset, Clear CMOS, Force Reset Power Power, Reset, Clear CMOS
Est. Retail Price (SGD) 560 (without OC Palm) 690 410 530 540 410 540
 Remarks *Open-ended, but cards longer than x4 cannot be inserted due to obstruction by chipset heatsink

***SAS also compatible with SATA drives

*Full length cards cannot be inserted in the top x1 slot due to obstruction by chipset heatsink

**Uses up top x1 PCIe slot.

    ***SAS also compatible with SATA drives  *Open-ended, up to x16 cards can be inserted  

Trends & Observations…

Core i7, as you probably know by now, supports triple-channel operation. Hence the majority of the boards here have six DDR3 slots for a maximum of 24GB (6x4GB). Bucking the trend are Foxconn and Intel, which have three and four slots respectively. Foxconn claims that having fewer slots helps memory overclocking, while Intel claims that fewer slots allows a layout that minimizes memory latency. We’ll find out soon whether these claims hold true.

Having three PCIe x16 slots has also become the norm, since the X58 northbridge supports up to 36 PCIe lanes. The exceptions are the Intel DX58S0 with two x16 slots (which is not SLi-certified anyway) and the Foxconn Blood Rage with a grand total of four x16 slots.

Note however that lane configurations and layouts vary from board to board. In certain boards (such as the Asus P6T Deluxe) the layout is such that, even though there are three x16 slots, only two of these are usable when dual-slot graphics cards are used.

Another trend, one which has been going on for some time now, is the ever increasing number of power phases. Asus appears to take the cake with 16 power phases on the Rampage II Extreme; Also notable is DFI with its 8-phase digital PWM design, a departure from the usual analog setup. However, we should caution that more power phases does not necessarily translate into cleaner power. Board design, layout and component quality play equally important roles.

For storage freaks the Asus P6T Deluxe and Foxconn Blood Rage offer the most options – they come with two SAS ports, which are also backward compatible with SATA. The JMicron JMB363, notorious for performance and compatibility issues, is unfortunately still the controller of choice for cramming in additional (e)SATA ports at minimum cost.

And the Intel DX58S0, as expected, is still the only legacy-free motherboard. So you can hang on to your IDE drives, floppies, and PS/2 keyboards unless you want the Intel board. (Not likely the case, as you’ll soon see.)