Sandy Bridge-E and X79 available for (pre-)order
As for the motherboards, well, we found a Chinese listing for MSI's X79A-GD65 8D model (that's the one with eight DIMMs if you need to ask) for 2,999 RMB (US$472/S$587). A different online retailer in China has the Asus R.O.G. Rampage IV Extreme listed for a massive RMB 5,999 (US$945/S$1,175) which is more than the Core i7-3930K CPU. We find that price a little bit hard to swallow, although the board is at least in stock if we can trust the online retailer in question.
In Europe we found three ASRock boards available for pre order, namely the X79 Extreme4 for €192.40 (US$272/S$338), the X79 Extreme4-M – so far the only mATX X79 board we're aware of – €178.86 (US$253/S$314) and the X79 Extreme7 for €264.72 (US$375/S$465). Interestingly, Intel's own boards are also listed for pre-order; something you wouldn't expect considering that Intel is quite tough on its partners if they are too early with pre-orders for their own products. As such, Intel's DX79SI goes for €266.33 (US$377/S$468) which is the high-end model, whereas the DX79TO is listed for around 1,800 SEK (US$285/S$355) in Sweden.
We're already seeing some manufacturers dumping the price of their X58 boards and you can pick up – if you're brave – one of Foxconn's Flaming Blade GTI X58 boards for as little as €69.90 (US$99/S$125) in Europe from several retailers. We just can't help but feel that Sandy Bridge-E will be a phenomenal flop for Intel, as so far there's very little that indicates that there will be any real performance advantage for high-end consumers over Sandy Bridge. The cost is also outside of a lot of people's reach, more so than the LGA-1366 platform ever was. As we mentioned, there will be a fairly limited supply of CPUs initially and the new stepping's should sort out various errata's. On top of that there will be a re-spin of the X79 chipset at some point in the future – unless Intel changes its mind – which should include the additional SCU SATA ports, although it'll most likely not have the SAS ports that were once part of the platform.