Excerpt: The Intel X58 Express chipset is your only choice for Intel Core i7 processors, but that doesn’t mean that all motherboards have been created equal. The EVGA X58 Classified motherboard raises the bar for enthusiast grade motherboards with several features not on any other motherboard!
Summary: As we fire up our actual gaming benchmarks, we thought of several ways to do this. Ultimately we wanted to use real resolutions and real settings to compare these processors. Granted if we ran everything at 640x480, we'd see a dramatic improvement on multi-core capable games when running the Core i7 920 with Hyper Threading at high speeds.
Pros: Full featured board, Good layout, 8-phase power regulation for the CPU, Excellent overclocking capability, Supports Tri-SLI, CrossfireX, Active cooling on chipset and good VRM cooling, Lots of USB/SATA
Cons: Poor audio quality, BIOS is very enthusiast oriented - a guide will be needed to get the most from your board., No Crossfire bridges, Pretty expensive - $300+
Summary: What a lovely board. The X58 from eVGA is some work in progress though, so if you are really afraid of BIOS FLASH updates ... steer clear of this one for another couple of weeks. During my one week of testing this board, two new BIOS updates were released.
Why do I tell about that? Well, I did stumbled into a small number of issues. When I flashed the latest BIOS in we still had a problem with getting the motherboard to post every now and then.
Conclusion: The X58 SLI BIOS is extremely robust. Bus speeds up to 500MHz are available for the base clock frequency in 1MHz increments, while three memory multipliers are selectable providing memory speeds up to 1333MHz at the default 133MHz base clock. For users who aren’t familiar with OC’ing and would like the motherboard to do all the work for them, EVGA provides a “Dummy OC” BIOS setting.
Conclusion: This early in a hardware cycle it is tough to really know how happy you are with a product, especially a motherboard. There is no list in the back of your head of things that annoyed you about past motherboards tested that you continually check during an evaluation, because that list hasn't formulated yet. Making this task even harder is the fact that the Intel X58 chipset is impressively full of features and trying to keep track of them all is a handful.
Pros: Best possible PCI-E 16X layout for Tri-SLI of available motherboards...SLI or Crossfire goodness, Rock solid daily performance with proper cooling where it needs to be, Capable and easy overclocker for the enthusiast looking to squeeze a little more value from their money, Ready for the big time benchmarking arena as proved by us and many others in the scene already, E-LEET software package is solid already, and future development looks very promising, EVGA...service,...
Cons: The Intel X58 SLI chipset is new, there are some issues...but BIOS development is top priority for EVGA, CPU socket is tight and some two-stepping is required for large CPU/RAM coolers, Premium chipset, premium hardware required, premium prices
Conclusion: How can we possibly sum up what we learned about this board in just a couple short paragraphs? The EVGA X58 SLI Micro is definitely a mATX motherboard. With that said though, you wouldn't know it without physically seeing the board. The X58 SLI Micro hosts all but the full slate of features that the X58 chipset can offer.
Pros: Fully featured board despite the smaller footprint, Individual heat sinks don't force users to upgrade all three, Overclocks a system as good as any X58 board we have seen, Passively cooled heat sinks should be more than enough for a non-overclocked setup, EVGA support and community driven forums
Cons: Lack of a double spaced CrossFireX bridge, Limited accessory package, just a couple more SATA cables would be nice even, Label BIOS profiles, E-LEET enhancements, Monitor NB temperature in Windows, Issue with high memory overclocks that could not be solved, Motherboard heat sinks just aren't enough passively cooled for overclocking & VTT needs heat sinks IMO
Conclusion: The EVGA 3X Classified is one of the best overclocking enthusiast boards out there - end of review? Well not quite. As I have shown, the motherboard on test is also one of the highest performing boards out of the most popular ones around at the moment. It breezed through all of the benchmarks and while it did not blow the competition away and as most X58 boards perform almost equally, the Classified came out just a micron above the majority.
Pros: Great motherboard design, Stunning aesthetics, Blistering performance, Quality accessories, E-LEET software, 10 Year Warranty
Cons: The time you will serve after robbing a bank to pay for it., The 'joys' you will receive in the prison shower for owning it.