Intel’s own brand of high-end X79 board is…alright.
Now let’s take a look at the board itself. The DX79SI is an ATX sized board with 8 DIMM slots (supporting up to 64GB DDR3-2400 O/C of RAM) and 3 PCI Express 3.0 slots for 3-way SLI or CrossFireX. The heatsink around the CPU panel are nicely spaced, with one heatpipe going down to the chipset. As with other sub-$300 X79 motherboards, the DX79SI also doesn’t come with a fan on the chipset. Instead we have a nice large heatsink with meshed grill, topped with the Intel Extreme Series signature skull.
Other things to notice are two SATA III ports and four SATA II ports. There’s a debug LED on the bottom, close to the Power and Reset buttons. Moving to the rear I/O panel we see two USB 3.0 ports and six USB 2.0 ports. Then you have the Dual-Gigabit LAN ports as well. Lastly, we have the ‘Back to BIOS’ switch which, as the name implies, immediately takes you to the main BIOS setup screen.
Unlike the rest of the board and advances in technology, it seems that Intel has decided to stay in the past with their good old fashioned BIOS before the fancy UEFI days. Which is perfectly fine by me, except that I have to press ‘Enter’ for every setting whose value I must then choose from a drop-down menu. There’s no way to directly key in values, nor go through them using Page Up/Down or +/- keys. It becomes a cumbersome process, reminding me of the truly old era of overclocking.