Round one of the high-priced enthusiast end of X58 went to EVGA last year, who set the pace with their Classified line of motherboards. While not perfect in every regard, the E759 and E760 broke and set more overclocking records than any other product, elevating the Classified series to must have status in the eyes of overclocking and gaming enthusiasts.

In light of this success, it was clear that ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI would have to go back to the drawing board and come up with new designs to captivate the audience. The launch of Intel’s i7-980X Gulftown together with the availability of SATA 6G and USB 3 controllers from Marvell and NEC provided the excuse for a revamp and here we are a couple of months down the road with everyone vying to capitalize on sales thanks to the longevity of the X58 platform. That’s where we pick up today, we’ve got the very best ASUS, Gigabyte, EVGA and MSI have to offer and have lined up a compare taking a look at basic functionality, overclocking and overall stability.

Meet the contenders:


Now grab a fresh pair of pants before you take a look at the asking prices:

Motherboard Chipsets SATA 6G USB 3 Price
ASUS Rampage III Extreme X58 Yes Yes $379
EVGA X58 4 way Classified X58, 2 x NF200 No No $429
Gigabyte X58A-UD9 X58, 2 x NF200 Yes Yes $699
MSI Big Bang-XPower X58 Yes Yes $299

Eek! $700 for a single socket motherboard? That’s waaay over the top. While we acknowledge there is a market for high-end products, we can’t think of a good reason for why a motherboard designed around a heavily integrated architecture should be priced this high. There nothing radical on or about the UD9 that justifies such expenditure ; like most of the other boards on test here today, the base design is very much de-facto for the platform and identical to lower priced motherboards( apart from the addition of two nVidia NF200 chips to provide four way SLI capabilities).  

In general, all these boards do over their $200~$250 counterparts is offer a more robust VRM for heavy overclocking, in some cases a better layout and lastly a more overclocking centric BIOS.  As such, these motherboards are worth looking at by those of us that have very specific overclocking needs beyond conventional cooling, or by those that have a mind-set that pays scant regard to cost versus performance ratios.  So yes, this is a minority audience article, but we’ll be getting back to our roots straight after – don’t despair!

ASUS Rampage III Extreme
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  • eva2000 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Shame bclk hasn't improved much with those sample boards. Interesting to see if you got 4 samples of each model and averaged their max bclk, how would each brand/board do.
  • Rajinder Gill - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Probably the same as four samples from first gen boards.
  • mapesdhs - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    These prices do seem a bit wierd given there are dual-socket boads starting at around $300 (eg.
    Tyan S7002G2NR-LE) though of course such boards don't boast RAM speeds or other features
    that enthusiast boards have. On the other hand, a Tyan with two i7s is going to stomp all over
    an enthusiast board with just one i7 for any task that can exploit the higher thread limit, eg. rendering,
    scientific apps, etc.

    Flip side of course is such boards don't normally support SLI/CF. All depends on what one wants
    to use it for. A fair chunk of the enthusiast market might be bragging rights and downright fun, but
    if there's a demand for such things (and there is) then what the heck. :)

  • Zombie1914 - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    Nice review as always.
    Could you post some infos on the temperatures of the Northbridge/Southbridge in standard and overclocking modes?
  • Triple Omega - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    Google Translate much?
    Well at least your stuff doesn't cost $700.
  • laosaaaa - Thursday, July 22, 2010 - link

    (((((( This is a great online shopping site.
  • ffer - Thursday, July 22, 2010 - link

    h ave so me che ap thi ngs ...( Jew erly... )

    ni k e sh o es , fa s h i on cl o th es ; br a nd ha n d b a gs , wa l l et ...

    I f y o u th ink o ur web site is go od , y ou c an p ut th is web site t o bookmarks or ot her pl aces, ea sy t o fi nd ...
  • nyran125 - Thursday, August 19, 2010 - link

    So far ive got a ASUS P5B Deluxe Wi-Fi and its outlasted everything and still running everything smooth 4 adn a hlaf years later with no issue and the ASUS video cards seem to be more vigilant and outlast the rest... This is from experience with various boards adn video cards and ive been happy with every ASUS product ive bought thus far.
  • Rare.human - Sunday, October 3, 2010 - link

    Hey guys, what's the best motherboard currently available that I could buy?
  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - link

    Very broad question that. Best X58 board you mean? Typically don't spend more than $250 and you'll get what you need - ASUS & Gigabyte is where I'd personally go from a BIOS standpoint in that price range. If you don't want to overclock, then ASRock, Biostar and EVGA and MSI will do the job too.


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