Intel Core i7 Processors: Nehalem and X58 Have Arrived - HotHardware

Intel Core i7 Processors: Nehalem and X58 Have Arrived

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For the purposes of this article, we got our hands on a number of X58 Express-based motherboards. We've got a trio of them pictured below, and we'll be showing you a couple more in a video spotlight that will accompany this article. 


   

   
Intel DX58SO Smackover Motherboard

First up, we have the Intel "Smackover" DX58SO. This will be Intel's premiere desktop motherboard for Core i7 processors. It features 4 DIMM slots, a 6-phase power array, and obviously an LGA1366 socket. The expansion slots on the board consist of dual PCI Express x16 PEG slots, dual PCI Express x1 slots, a single PCI slot, and a notched PCI Express x4 slot that features a retention clip to accommodate a standard graphics card. As of this time, the DX58SO supports ATI's CrossFire multi-GPU technology, but it does not support SLI.

All of the DX58SO's major components (IOH, SB, VRM) are adorned with aluminum heatsinks, and all of the board's expansion headers and connectors are clearly labeled and situated around the edges of the PCB. The I/O backplane houses two eSATA ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, a single Firewire port, a LAN jack, and analog and digital audio outputs. No legacy connectors are to be found here. 
 

   

   
Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme Motherboard

Next up we have the elaborate Gigabyte GA-EX58 Extreme. Of the three motherboards featured here, this one has the most outrageous cooling apparatus, which includes an optional bolt-on, slot mounted array of heat-pipes and heatsink fins and an integrated water-block. The GA-EX58 Extreme is a member of Gigabyte's new Ultra Durable 3 family of products, and as such it supports the company's Dynamic Energy Saver (DES) technology and sports all solid capacitors. The board's slot configuration consists of three PCI Express x16 PEG slots, a single x1, a notched x4 slot, and dual PCI slots. We should note, the GA-EX58 Extreme supports both CrossFireX and SLI.

There are eight internal SATA ports, six DIMM slots, a POST code error reporter, a 12-phase power array, and integrated power and clear-CMOS switches on the board. As you can see, everything is color coded and clearly labeled as well, and overall the layout is good. The I/O backplane is loaded up with PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, coax and optical audio outputs, a Firewire port, clear-CMOS switch, eight USB 2.0 ports, dual LAN jacks, and six other analog audio outputs/inputs. The BIOS on this board is also very feature-rich and should please even the most hardcore tweakers out there. 
 

   

   
Asus P6T Deluxe with OC Palm Motherboard

Finally, we present to you the ASUS P6T Deluxe. Like the Gigabyte board, the P6T features an elaborate cooling apparatus, but without provisions for water-cooling. We don't think this is an issue, however, as the X58 chipset generates relatively little heat due to the fact that Intel brought the memory controller onto the Core i7 CPU itself minimizing complexity of the NB. The P6T Deluxe features 6 DIMM slots, integrated power and reset switches, 16-phase power, six SATA ports, dual SAS ports, and all of its headers and various connectors are clearly labeled and mounted around the edges of the PCB.

The ASUS P6T Deluxe features three PCI Express x16 PEG slots, dual PCI slots, and a single PCI Express x1 slot. While the board does support SLI and CrossFire, the slots are positioned in such a way that 3-Way SLI is not possible. The P6T Deluxe's I/O backplane is home to a combo keyboard / mouse PS2 port, coax and optical audio outputs, a Firewire port, an eSATA port, eight USB 2.0 ports, dual LAN jacks, and six other analog audio outputs/inputs.  The P6T also features a very complete and tweaker friendly BIOS, but perhaps most interesting to overclockers is the included "OC Palm" device. ASUS' OC Palm looks like the Vista slide-show compatible Screen Duo bundled with the company's Vista Edition motherboards last year. While it may look like the Screen Duo, the OC Palm is quite different. With the OC Palm device, user's can alter voltages, multipliers, and the QPI base clock from within Windows, to overclock on the fly.

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Wow way to give me the upgrade bug. Not only show off the i7 CPUs but the new version of my mobo too.

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I'm going to handcuff myself to my chair for the next six months (maybe AMD will somehow surprise us with something that drops the prices), then buy buy buy!

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bob_on_the_cob:

Wow way to give me the upgrade bug. Not only show off the i7 CPUs but the new version of my mobo too.

ICE make me feel obsolete

 

If you 2 guys get the upgrade bug REALLY REALLY BAD and you dont have a need for those 2 Monsters that you have, I got a home for the poor old wore out and out of date Rigs you have now right here. Its kinda like a recycling center! Here,s my address Amdcrankitup,s house and if it will help I,ll pay the shipping for you so you wont have to take the money out of your I7,s savings.Thats the kinda guy I am always trying to help! LOL

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Oh amdcranckitup. Not sure if I'm getting a core i7 this year or not, but you know that you guys would have first dibs on anything I stop using.

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bob_on_the_cob:

Oh amdcranckitup. Not sure if I'm getting a core i7 this year or not, but you know that you guys would have first dibs on anything I stop using.

 

 Im just messing with you BOB.Im so impressed with the rigs you and ICE have I cant even think that far ahead to be able to get an i7.But give me time and I,ll get up to a Quadcore first of the year and maybe even a Striker or Maximus with a 9800 thrown in there some where. That would get me closer and I would be satisfied with that setup for a while. Like to see one of you guys get a i7 rig just to se the reveiw posted by one of our guys here! Maybe Raid will get one soon he,s the one wih the money around here! LOL How bout it Raid have,nt heard from you much lately.He must be reving up one of his current Hot Rods he,s got and going to spring a suprise on us!Geeked

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Lol Well I sold my old rig which was no slouch to a girl at work and since then I have reinstalled windows on it 2 times, put a new hard drive in it and I got a call tonight saying it wont cut on at all now. I still have not got a dime for it. So if its something like the PSU or mobo I'm going to just pick it up and say that I can't fix it. It's has worked fine for me since I got it and now in a few weeks it just keeps dying.Hmm I'll see what I can get out of it you guys having first dibs of course.

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bob_on_the_cob:

Lol Well I sold my old rig which was no slouch to a girl at work and since then I have reinstalled windows on it 2 times, put a new hard drive in it and I got a call tonight saying it wont cut on at all now. I still have not got a dime for it. So if its something like the PSU or mobo I'm going to just pick it up and say that I can't fix it. It's has worked fine for me since I got it and now in a few weeks it just keeps dying.Hmm I'll see what I can get out of it you guys having first dibs of course.

 

  Thats how it goes when you sell it to some one you know its suppose to come with a lifetime warranty!!  Or at least they think it does. On top of that she has,nt even payed you. Most of the time when they have a problem its Usually operator error not the rig.

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amdcrankitup:

Most of the time when they have a problem its Usually operator error not the rig.

Yeah I never had a problem from it.

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make me feel obsolete

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Awesome. I can't wait to build an i7 system...unfortunately I'll need to wait a bit longer before upgrading though.

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