Intel Core i7-990X Extreme: Crazy Fast Got Faster - HotHardware

Intel Core i7-990X Extreme: Crazy Fast Got Faster

21 thumbs up
We actually spent quite a bit of time over the past 12 - 18 months or so, chatting with Intel with respect to their motherboard designs.  The Intel board team has been keen on getting power user feedback on their designs, in an effort to cater more to enthusiasts and compete more with the likes of Asus, MSI, Gigabyte and others that have polished offerings for the discerning end user. As a result, these days, Intel's high-end motherboard products are looking rather decked-out and shall we say "pimped" with all the bells, whistles and bling we've come to appreciate in an enthusiast motherboard.

Intel's DX58S02 Motherboard
Specifications & Features

 
Intel's DX58SO2 "SmackOver 2" Motherboard - The kit has it all and then some.

 

 
 

The DX58SO2 is a nicely appointed board with a solid layout. Note the position of the 8-pin ATX-12V power connector, right up against the edge of the board and down a bit from IO panel.  Other smart selections are a generous assortment of 4-pin smart fan power connectors in all the right places around the board.  And from an aesthetics point of view, Intel adorns the DX58SO2 with flashy blue sinks and their trademark robotic skull.  Nice.

There are three full-length PCIe X16 slots on the board, a PCIe X1 slot and a standard PCI slot.  We say do away with that remaining PCI slot and add another X16 or perhaps a X8 PCIe slot.  Other creature comforts include a "Back to BIOS" button on the back IO panel.  It lights up red when it's pushed in and will take you immediately back to the BIOS if you dial up a configuration while tweaking or overclocking, that won't boot. Very nice touch, Intel.  Also, take note of the power-on, reset and "clock bump" buttons (second row, right hand shot) on the board.  If you hit one of the plus or minus buttons, it will bump clock speeds up or down by 1MHz.  Again, Intel obviously has a renewed focus on the enthusiast and it shows.  On a side note, though we're not showing screen shots here, the BIOS of the DX58SO2 is also well designed with copious amounts of tweakability under the hood, enough really for pretty much anything you'd want to configure for performance tuning purposes. 

Finally, here's a quick scan of the rest of our test systems that we'll be comparing versus the new Intel Core i7-990X Extreme Edition processor.

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first entered their respective system BIOSes and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance Defaults". We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set memory timings for either DDR3-1333 with 8,8,8,24 timings. The hard drives were then formatted, and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the Windows installation was complete, we updated the OS, and installed the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled, finally, we installed all of our benchmarking software, performed a disk clean-up, defragged the hard drives, and ran all of the tests.

 HotHardware's Test Systems
 "Firepower" would be an understatement...
System 1:
Core i7-970
(3.2GHz - Six-Core)
Core i7-980X
(3.33GHz - Six-Core)

Core i7-990X
Intel DX58SO2 Motherboard
(X58 Express Chipset)

3x2GB Kingston DDR3-1333
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA 

Windows 7 x64
System 3:
Core i7-2600K
(3.4GHz - Quad-Core)
Core i5-2500K
(3.3GHz - Quad-Core)

Intel DH67BL, DP67BG
(P67 Express Chipset) 

2x2GB Patriot DDR3-1866
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows 7 x64
System 3:
Core i7 Extreme 975
(3.33GHz - Quad-Core)

Gigabyte EX58-UD5
(X58 Express Chipset)

3x2GB OCZ DDR3-1333
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA 

Windows 7 x64
System 4:
Core i7 870
(2.93GHz - Quad-Core)
Core i5 750
(2.66GHz - Quad-Core)

Asus Maximus III Formula
(P55 Express Chipset) 

2x2GB Kingston DDR3-1600
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows 7 x64
System 5:
AMD Phenom II X4 965
(3.4GHz Quad-Core)

Asus M4A79T Deluxe
(AMD 790FX Chipset) 

2x2GB Kingston DDR3-1600
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)


GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA 

Windows 7 x6



Article Index:

1 2 3 Next
0
+ -

Just as you gents said, get the 970. You are not going to notice the performance difference.

On a side note, why no Sandy Bridge chips in the compo?

0
+ -

Yeah it cool , but does it have Adonis DNA? LOL

Btw what is going to happen with the 980X? I see it's not in your price chart, so is it going away?

0
+ -

The 990x is my dream processor, but ever since the 970 felt under $600 , its the obvious choice for an upgrade,...Thats about 100 bucks per core.

InfinityzeN1:
On a side note, why no Sandy Bridge chips in the compo?

Marco did the review of the Desktop Sandy Bridge, and guess who came over his house to do a Web show called "This Old Nerd" and went away with some neat processors?

.....But seriously, That's the first thing that came to mind. The 2600k numbers should have been present and so is the 1100T,... The i7-870 / i5-750 and x4-965 just don't belong there.  Also, while its nice to see the Overclocking performance of the 990x with the stock cooler, I would have liked to see how far Dave could have pushed the 990x using an after market cooling solution.

+2
+ -

Can't completely agree with you on the other processors in my charts, Sammy, but I'm going to roll in some Sandy Bridge numbers, just for you, right now. What service! :)

+2
+ -

Dave_HH:
Can't completely agree with you on the other processors in my charts, Sammy

I take it back, your right.. Just like High end Graphics card get compared to their weakling sibling, High End CPUs have the same right,..Sorry Dave, I guess I woke up grumpy today, I have to adapt to waking up early again.

Drake_McNasty:
If you really want to compare it to the sandy bridge just look at the review of those processors (here) and pretend the 980x is a tiny bit higher in the charts.

I know that if I want to see the numbers put up by SB and the 1100t , I can just go and Click the "PROCESSOR" tab on top, But The 2600k and 1100t numbers should be there because a lot of people are deciding whether go for SB , High End i7 or AMD, and having all on one review makes it convenient for them as HH gets new user everyday. Just my humble opinion.

Dave_HH:
but I'm going to roll in some Sandy Bridge numbers, just for you, right now. What service! :)

HH is the best!!Yes

+1
+ -

All set, Sammy! Added our WinRAR tests for an additional page of data, in there too just for giggles. :)

0
+ -

It will probably get a price cut soon, but currently Intel still lists them as being $999 on their website.

0
+ -

Good review, it preformed as expected. If you really want to compare it to the sandy bridge just look at the review of those processors (here) and pretend the 980x is a tiny bit higher in the charts.

0
+ -

I have Sandy Bridge in the 990X charts now Drake. Just added them. Thanks for the catch guys. Good points all around.

0
+ -

The Sandy Bridge numbers give raise to some interesting thoughts. I really want to see how the Sandy Bridge version of the 9XX will perform. I think with 3 memory channels and 6 cores, the thing will be a true monster. Guess we will just have to wait and see though.

1 2 3 Next
Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment
Username:   Password: