Sapphire Roundup – Radeon 6950 fleX, 6870 fleX, 5850 Xtreme, 5830 Xtreme and X58 Pure Black
Sapphire X58 Pure Black Motherboard
Sapphire’s X58 Pure Black is packaged in a box which is quite understated compared to their graphics cards however it probably looks a little cooler and does what is needed, outlining some of the key features of the product. Inside we find a basic bundle which includes a software CD, drive cables and an IO shield.
The Pure Black X58 is a standard size ATX board measuring 12×9.6" and uses a black PCB with passive heatsinks surrounding the CPU socket with a smaller cooler on the ICH10R Southbridge. The board supports all of the Socket 1366 CPUs including the latest i7-990X, the fastest processor released for the X58 platform. To ensure long term reliability Sapphire use Japanese Solid Capacitors and diamond black chokes and include features such as dual BIOS which will appeal to enthusiasts.
Down at the bottom left of the board we find our add-in card slots. These run from PCIe 16x through PCIe 8x, PCI, PCIe 8x to PCIe 4x. Also in this area we find on-board power, reset and CMOS buttons as well as the dual BIOS selector.
Over at the bottom right of the board are the drive connectors with four SATA 2 sockets that run off the Intel Southbridge, supporting RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. Above these are two Marvell based SATA 3 ports and then we have a single IDE connector.
As with most X58 boards the Pure Black has six memory slots which support triple channel operation and Sapphire allow installation of 24GB with official support for speeds in excess of 1600MHz.
Over at the back panel we find a single PS/2 connector, 8 USB 2.0, optical and Coaxial audio (Realtek 892), eSATA, Firewire, Marvel GB LAN, 3.5mm audio in/out and two NEC based USB 3.0 connectors.
In this area we can also see one of the features which sets Sapphires board apart from man others, the inclusion of a Bluetooth transmitter which supports profile 2.1+EDR.
Sapphire use an American Megatrends based BIOS on their X58 board and it offers a good level of functionality with plenty of control over CPU (inc. voltages up to 2.3v) and memory (inc. XMP). There is the option to save profiles in the BIOS and updates are performed in DOS.
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.
PowerColor offer their own branded version of the liquid cooled R9 295 X2… and now for those who want a similar level of framerate they have their air cooled dual core R9 290X with Devil 13 branding. Today we take a look at this R9 290X2 to see what Powercolor can do with their custom design card in a selection of games including Battlefield 4 and GRID Autosport at 4K resolution.