The two previous ASUS boards in this roundup were from the Republic of Gamers brand, the P6X58D-E is one of their standard boards and so has a more professional box design. The same could be said for the bundled components which provide us with the essentials (SLI bridges) and handy items like Q-Connectors for easy case wiring.
The P6X58D-E is an ATX board which measures 30.5×24.4cm and it features the X58 and ICH10R combination once again. There are six memory slots on this board and they run in triple channel mode, offering a maximum capacity of 24GB. X.M.P. is supported and ASUS advertise the maximum DDR3 memory speed as 2000MHz.
Beside the DDR3 slots is a small button, this enables Mem-OK which forces the board to boot with settings which enhance compatibility on problem memory.
Down at the bottom left of this board are the add-in card slots and these run from PCIe 1x through PCIe 16x, PCI, PCIe 16x, PCI, PCIe 1x. These can also be reconfigured to be x16, x8, x8 and beneath the bottom slot is an on-board power button.
Over at the bottom right corner are the SATA connectors, six use the ICH10R for SATA 2 drives with support for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. The white ports use the Marvell 9128 chipset for SATA 3 speeds and fully support AHCI as well as RAID 0 and 1.
ASUS start the connectivity on their P6X58D-E with two PS/2 ports which sit next to a Clear CMOS button. The two NEC USB 3.0 ports are next, followed by optical and coaxial audio, 4x USB 2.0, Firewire, Marvell 8056 GB LAN and finally the 3.5mm audio connectors. These use the Realtek ALC 889 chipset which has 7.1 channel support and ASUS add DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC.
P6X58D-E BIOS, Software and Extra Features
As with every other recent ASUS board we have EZ Flash 2 on this model and it was great to see that ASUS have perfected drive controller updates. When the system had flashed our BIOS it rebooted and then updated the drive controller to the latest firmware version without any user interaction. Inside the American Megatrends BIOS we find the enthusiast configuration options in the AI Tweaker screen and like the more expensive models we can select pre-defined overclocking profiles or set the system manually, including CPU voltage of up to 2.1v
The ASUS software for this range of boards includes Ai Charger for USB charging functionality, AI Suite, TurboV and EPU-6 Engine for power saving, monitoring and tweaking with ASUS Update for Windows based BIOS flashing.
In terms of features ASUS advertise the use of a 16+2 power phase design, ExpressGate which is a mini operating system for quick access to basic functionality and user friendly design. This includes the excellent Q-Shield and Q-Connectors which make system building quick and simple.
Last month Intel launched their Z97 chipset, essentially an evolution of Z87, which in many cases brought new features such as SATA Express and M.2 compatibility to the mainstream desktop market. There was of course no new CPU at that time with the existing socket 1150 processors working without issue in the new boards. Since then though Intel launched (along with some lower spec models) the Core i7-4790K, a model which sits at the top of their mainstream platform. Today we see how it compares to various other models when installed on Gigabytes Z97X Gaming 5 and paired with PowerColors new dual core 290X Devil 13.
Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK vs. MSI Z97 Gaming 5 vs Asus Maximus VII Hero
It is probably fair to say that Intel don't stealth launch their products... sure they have NDAs but by the time those expire we know pretty much everything about a new product. Part of this is of their own...