Intel DX58SO “Smackover” will be one of the first motherboards for the forthcoming Core i7 processors to reach the market.It simply removes support for all legacy devices: there is no support for parallel ATA devices, PS/2 keyboard, PS/2 mouse, floppy disk drives, serial ports or parallel port. It provides two x16 and one x4 PCI Express slots, allowing you to install up to three video cards either for having more video monitors or to increase gaming performance by using ATI-based video cards under CrossFire mode. Even though the x4 slot is physically smaller, you can install x16 video cards on it (it will achieve a lower performance compared to an x16 slot, of course).Even though the first Core i7 CPUs can officially only access memories up to DDR3-1066, Smackover supports the installation of DDR3-1333 memories. This is certainly an advantage for users looking for the highest performance possible. You have to be careful, though, as Core i7 only supports memories working at a maximum 1.6 V. According to Intel if you install memory modules that require more than 1.6 V you can damage the CPU. Intel DX58SO is limited to 16 GB of RAM, which we think is more than enough by today’s standards.Smackover has four DDR3 sockets and for best performance you should install three identical memory modules. A four-socket configuration isn’t the best for future memory upgrades: if you want to add more memory, you can install a single module on the fourth socket with a sacrifice in performance (the fourth module will be accessed at 1/3 of the maximum possible transfer rate) or you can remove your current three modules and replacing them with three new modules with higher capacities, which represents a higher cost (the price of three new modules with higher capacity plus the cost of having three modules that will be left over – you can sell them on eBay, of course).So the best option for memory upgrade with Core i7 is to have a motherboard with six memory sockets, because you can add more memory by installing three new memory modules and keeping your old modules installed.The highlight of this motherboard is its audio codec, with 108 dB signal-to-noise ratio for its analog outputs and 106 dB signal-to-noise ratio for its analog inputs. We always complain that motherboards have a low SNR for the analog inputs, generating too much background noise when you convert analog audio to digital format (e.g., converting VHS tapes, LPs, etc to digital format), a problem that you won’t have with this motherboard.The overall quality of Intel DX58SO is excellent, with all capacitors being Japanese and the capacitors from the voltage regulator circuit being solid, plus the use of ferrite chokes on the voltage regulator circuit.
Chipset: Intel X58 with ICH10R.
Super I/O: Winbond WPCD376I
Parallel IDE: None.
Serial IDE: Six SATA-300 ports controlled by the south bridge chip, supporting RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and 5 and two eSATA-300 ports controlled by a Marvell 88SE6121 chip.
USB: Twelve USB 2.0 ports (eight soldered on the motherboard and four available through I/O brackets).
FireWire (IEEE 1394a): Two ports controlled by Texas Instruments TSB43AB22A chip, one soldered on the motherboard and one available through an I/O bracket.
On-board audio: Produced by the chipset together with a Realtek ALC889 codec (eight channels, 24-bit resolution, up to 192 KHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, 106 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the inputs and 108 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the outputs), with on-board optical SPDIF connector.
On-board video: No.
On-board LAN: One Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by the chipset together with an Intel 82567LM chip to make the physical layer interface.
Power supply required: EPS12V.
Slots: Two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, one PCI Express 2.0 x4 slot, two PCI Express 1.0 x1 slots and one standard PCI slot, supporting CrossFire and SLI.
Memory: Four DDR3-DIMM sockets (up to 16 GB up to DDR3-1333/PC3-10600).
Number of CDs that come with this motherboard: One.
Programs included: motherboard drivers and utilities.
Extra features: Aluminum solid capacitors and ferrite chokes on the voltage regulator circuit.
This one of my favorite boards from Intel to date, and we have used a total of 8 during builds for our clients, and 3 for the offices here. They are great boards, very stable, able to be easily overclocked and best part is, they will support the Intel i7-970 when it ships. We plan on upgrading then, and will provide an overview of the process and any kinks that we run into. We will post a more thorough Review of the overclocking abilities of the board in a future publication.
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