When we think about what is perhaps the one draw-back that enthusiasts and gamers could point to with respect to an Intel chipset-based motherboard, historically, it was lack of NVIDIA SLI multi-GPU support. Though you could drop more than one AMD ATI Radeon-based graphics card into a P45, X38 or X48-chipset based motherboard, for the most part, SLI was a no-go, save perhaps for a few custom OEM solutions. This wasn't too much of a problem for gaming purists that wanted in on NVIDIA powered multi-GPU action, since there was always the most recent revision of the nForce chipset in support of Intel's platform architecture; that is of course until the launch of Intel's Core i7 platform.
Intel's fledgling new desktop platform offers several new architectural advancements, in addition to native support for NVIDAI SLI technology. Though motherboard manufacturers like Asus need to have their board "certified" and enable SLI via hooks in their BIOS firmware, you can in fact now have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Curiously, we have yet to hear from NVIDIA regarding an upcoming nForce motherboard chipset platform in support of Core i7 and from the sound of the recent banter between the two companies, we probably never will. Though, in this industry, never is a very long time. It will be interesting to see how the landscape shakes out for all parties involved.
Regardless, taking this new capability for Intel chipsets one step further, motherboard manufacturers also have the ability to enable various 3-way SLI combinations through the use of NVIDIA's NF200 PCI Express fanout switch chip and also with existing PCI Express links in the X58 chipset itself. The Asus P6T6 WS Revolution motherboard is one such product and we've got a full evaluation of it on tap in the pages ahead. We'll show you how this new high-end X58 Express solution performs versus other motherboards in its class and also look at what a full Gen2 PCIe X16 3-Way SLI setup (48-lanes) can do for a killer gaming rig configuration; a realm where price is secondary at best, but fun nonetheless to explore. Let's get on with it then...
|Processor and Chipset
Based on Intel X58/ICH10R chipset
Supports Intel Core i7 Processors
NVIDIA nForce200 PCI Express Switch
6 x DIMM, Max. 24 GB, DDR3 2000(O.C.)*/1866(O.C.)*/1800(O.C.)*/1600(O.C.)/1333/1066 ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Triple channel memory architecture
Support Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
*Hyper DIMM (DDR3 1800MHz or above) support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs.
**Refer to www.asus.com. Or user manual for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendor Lists.)
*** ECC memory support requires Intel® Nehalem-WS 1S W3500 series or Nehalem-EP E5502/E5504/E5506 processors
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (at x16 or x8 mode)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (at x16 mode)
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (at x8 mode)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (at x4 mode)
* True full x16 3-Way SLI™ in slots 1, 3 and 5, when slots 2 and 4 are not occupied
Intel ICH10R controller
6 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports
Intel® Matrix Storage supporting SATA RAID 0, 1, 10, and 5
Marvell 88SE6320 SAS controller 2 x SAS ports supporting SAS RAID 0, 1, 10*
Marvell 88SE6121 SATA controller
2 xExternal SATA 150/300 (SATA On-the-G0), supporting SATA RAID 0, 1, 10, and 5**
* A SAS expander (excluded in package) is required while using RAID 10 on SAS ports.
** A port-multiplier (excluded in package) is required while using RAID 5 or 10 on eSATA ports.
2 x Realtek 8111C Dual Gb LAN Support Teaming Technology
ADI 2000B, 8 -Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
Front Panel Jack-Retasking
Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O
12 USB 2.0 ports
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
2 x External SATA
1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial + Optical)
2 x LAN(RJ45) port
6 x USB 2.0/1.1
8 -Channel Audio I/O
Workstation Key Features
6 PCIe Gen2.0 x 16 slots
G.P. Dignosis Card bundle
ASUS SASaby Cards support
ASUS WS Diag. LED
ASUS WS Heartbeat
EPU - 6 Engine
True 16+2 Phase Power Design
Fanless Design: Heat-pipe solution
Fanless Design: Stack Cool 2
My Logo 2
CrashFree BIOS 3
EZ Flash 2
C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
24-pin EATX Power connector
8-pin ATX +12V Power connector
CPU fan with PWM control
Chassis fan1 with Q-fan control
Chassis fan2 with Q-fan control
Chassis fan3 with Q-fan control
CD audio in
3 x USB connectors support additional 6 USB ports
20-pin Panel connector
Front panel connector
S/PDIF Out header
BIOS flash utility under DOS
ASUS PC Probe II
Anti-Virus Software (OEM version)
Adobe Acrobat Reader ver 8.0
Microsoft DirectX ver 9.0C
Offers a longer lifespan, better stability when at high frequencies, can operate at higher temperatures, and no longer runs the risk of exploding.
ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.5 cm )
Dual Gig-E NICs, six SATA ports, two eSATA ports, HD Audio, 12-USB, four full-length X16 PCIe slots (three of which can be utilized to a full X16 connection), an on-board Marvell SAS RAID controller with two SAS ports (Serial Attached SCSI), and a diagnostic daughter card with power and reset switches--what else on earth could you want in a workstation or desktop motherboard, currently? The Asus P6T6WS Revolution virtually has it all and then some.
In terms of the bundle, the P6T6 WS Revolution does come nicely equipped with a plethora of cabling, as well as a high quality user manual and driver CD that has a slew of useful utilities on it, including Asus EPU-6 Engine and Turbo-V software for one-touch performance tuning and power saving profile adjustments, and slider driven overclocking from the desktop. Asus also bundled in a pair of SAS data and power combination cables (in yellow above) with the board as well. In short, the bundle offers pretty much all you need to enable all of the board's features, with the exception of eSATA cables. Where are the eSATA cables? It seems that very few board manufacturers include them these days, which makes no sense at all to us.