Intel X79 Sandy Bridge-E Motherboards Roundup

By on November 30, 2011
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MSI vs ECS vs ASUS vs Gigabyte

Two weeks back the new Sandy Bridge-E processors launched with much fanfare. Some were disappointed with the results, while others still walked away impressed. So those people who’d want to upgrade their old Extreme Edition CPUs to the latest socket LGA 2011, this roundup can be considered as a starting point on the types of motherboards out there to choose from.

We have four products today, from different manufacturers, all ranging from mid-range to high-end. However, even at mid-range, the starting prices of $300 (AED 1,200) for these motherboards could be considered pretty high by many. Then again, the LGA 2011 setup is an expensive setup regardless, what with an Extreme Edition CPU and Quad-channel RAM.

So for today’s roundup I’ll be looking at two mid-range and two high-end motherboards. The distinguishing factor between these motherboards is mostly their price and “extra” features on them. It’s the extra fluff that adds to the price and makes a simple motherboard high-end; for instance included WiFi or Bluetooth, additional PCIe lanes for 3 or 4-way SLI or CrossFireX setup, bigger heatsinks, etc.

The testing itself was done on stock settings for each motherboard to give apples to apples comparison of raw performance. No motherboard had a feature that would boost performance in any meaningful way. Like I said before, the high-end boards are expensive just because of extra features that may have an impact on your overall experience; I’ll get to those in detail later on.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

  • NoThankYou

    Thanks for the great review.  For those of us who are not familiar with the benchmark tests, it would be very helpful if you added “Higher is better” or “Lower is better” to the charts.
    I had planed to go with the MSI before reading your article, but now I’m even more sure.  Thanks again.

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