Published in Reviews

Twelve X58 Boards roundup

by on12 August 2009


Intel X58/iCH10R
6-phase VRM, dual lane design
CHiL CHL8316 VRM controller


Realtek ALC889
Marvell 88E8053 PCIe Gb LAN controller


JMicro JMB363 PCIe SATA II/PATA controller
VIA VT6308P PCI Firewire controller
ITE IT8718F-S super I/O controller
ICS 9LPRS918JKLF clock generator
passive cooling of chipsets/VRM
8Mb BIOS, version: 0502, 0704, 0728
Mainboard Revision: 1.00


3x PCIe 2.0 x16, 2x  PCIe x16 and 1x PCIe x16@x4 shared with PCIe x4
1x PCIe x4
2x PCI

6x Triple-Channel DDR3-slots for PC3-12800U memory up to 24GB

6-Port SATA II featuring RAID 0, 1, 5, 0+1, JBOD
2-Port SATA II featuring RAID 0, 1
1-Port IDE
1-Port Floppy


Backpanel ports:
1x PS/2 keyboard
1x Gb LAN
6x USB 2.0
1x Firewire 400
7.1 analog audio
1x optical audio out
1x coxial audio out
1x CMOS-clear jumper


1x Dual-SLI bridge
1x Crossfire bridge-cable
1x Triple-SLI bridge
1x Floppy cable
1x IDE cable
2x SATA cable
1x HDD-power to 2x SATA-power
1x smart connectors

While DFI normaly stands for high-end, it seems the company now wants to go mainstream. Thats what the DK series stands for. It offers just the essentials, but for some reason DFI forgot eSATA ports. While you get two additional ports, you can only connect them internally because the eSATA bracket is missing.

As most of any other boards, it has a bad slot design, because it offers 3x PCIe x16. Using two, gives you x16 speed, connecting a third card to the yellow slot will give you only x4 speed. This slot is shared with the PCIe x4 slot - removing it would have been a smarter choice. So you can try to put your PCIE x1 card in the yellow PCIe x16 slot, otherwise you can only use the PCI slot, if not blocked by some PCIe graphics card. Also the Firewire controller is only PCI, meanwhile even VIA offers controllers with PCIe x1 connection.

At least DFI offers a debug LED which is useful, especially when overclocking. Thinking CMOS reset should be done with a jumper to save 5 cents is just plain stupid, there's no other way of putting it. But, of course, pressing reset and power-on at the same time, does the same.

The BIOS has "ok" settings, except for enabling both COM ports while not offering a COM bracket in the package. Dear DFI, we write the year 2009 not 1989, if you put an useless COM-port on the board, at least make sure people can use it out of the box.

The CPUs are clocked nearly to the nominal speed, but they could clock more precisely.




While overclocking with Turbo was no problem at all, we had the problem to overclock the i7 920 with BCLK 173 but with ~1040MHz memory clock. DFI solved this problem with the latest beta BIOS, so you can overclock the CPU without overclocking your memory. As we have proved it, faster memory doesn't matter that much. Besides that, the i7 CPUs vary very much. Some memory controllers do fine, some are hard to deal with.

Also very annoying is the constant VCore over-voltaging of 0.05V by the BIOS. This only increases power consumption and does nothing for stability in our opinion. You should get what you set. So, we lowered the VCore of the i7 920 to 1.2000V. The i7 975 was not changed and you see what you get, more than necessary.



Last modified on 13 August 2009
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