Where computer processors are concerned, Intel is a name that comes to mind immediately for many people. But aside from being responsible for creating some of the fastest processors on the planet, Intel has a slew of other product lines as well, such as chipsets, NICs, solid-state drives, and of course, motherboards. The latter is a category that’s been hit or miss for Intel over the years, depending on how you look at things.
Even well before Techgage came to its existence, I considered Intel’s boards to be the cream of the crop when it came to ultimate stability, and today, I don’t think much has changed. But for enthusiasts, aka: a vast majority of the TG audience, Intel’s boards have been a bit lacking in the aesthetic, features and overclocking departments.
A couple of years ago, Intel seemed to change its tune about what it wanted to do with its higher-end motherboards, in order to become a bit more attractive to the average enthusiast. The Bad Axe and its sequel were a great start to things, with good overclocking ability, and a decent feature-set. Today, Intel’s even more serious about delivering the goods to the enthusiast, and is interested in gathering thoughts from both regular Intel mobo users, and those who’d consider purchasing an Intel mobo if the price and features were right.
This is so much the case, that when Intel sent us its Core i7-990X Extreme, the highest-end six-core processor of its line-up priced at $999, it wasn’t the CPU that the company wanted us to put most of our focus on. Instead, it was the motherboard seen above… the DX58SO2, the sequel to the original DX58SO that came out at the same time as the Nehalem architecture.
Intel’s enthusiast boards have always been built using a black PCB, which I’d have to assume is the color most people would want to see on their enthusiast-class purchase. Using complementary colors that we’ve become accustomed to, Intel includes a fair amount of blue on the board, especially for the heatsinks.
A major complaint of Intel’s boards is that the company is rarely quick to jump on the bandwagon of adding in the latest technologies that enthusiasts are looking for, such as SATA 6Gbit/s and USB 3.0, but that won’t be a complaint with the DX58SO2, which includes two ports of each. In addition, there are 12 USB 2.0 and 6 SATA 3Gbit/s and even support for dual and tri-SLI (with the connectors in the box).
We’ll be taking a hard look at this board and the Core i7-990X soon, and should publish our look in just a few weeks. In the meantime, we’d be interested in hearing opinions from you guys on what you’d like to see from Intel boards in the future, and also what you like about the company’s current boards. Speak up!