Articles: Mainboards

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EVGA products are very well-known not only outside California, where the company head-quarters are, but also outside the United States. The first things we think of are EVGA graphics cards, of course, but they have also been selling EVGA branded mainboards for a few years now. Until recently all EVGA mainboards have been based on Nvidia chipsets, because EVGA Corporation is one of Nvidia’s primary partners. Now, however, EVGA started offering mainboards on Intel chipsets for the first time. The reasons behind this decision are pretty obvious to everyone: Nvidia doesn’t have any chipsets supporting the new generation Intel processors because of some licensing issues. Moreover, there is no certainty that these chipsets will come in the near or even far away future. Intel X58 Express is currently the only core logic set supporting Intel Core i7 processors that is why it is absolutely natural that EVGA started launching mainboards based on this chipset.

It is no secret that many graphics cards and mainboards based on Nvidia chips use reference design. The only way to distinguish between the solutions from different makers is by the package design, brand name sticker and accessories bundle inside. Therefore, it is extremely interesting to see how successful EVGA’s own proprietary design turned out and what functionality their new mainboard has to offer. We decided to start with the top mainboard in the new family – the EVGA X58 SLI Classified.

Package and Accessories

EVGA X58 SLI Classified mainboard ships in a very large box:

There are brief technical specifications, the list of included accessories and a photo of the board itself on the back of the box:

When you open the box, you immediately understand why it was made so big: EVGA made sure their packaging fits the product perfectly and fulfils its protective functions in full. The mainboard is sealed in a traditional antistatic bag and besides cardboard casing is also surrounded with a soft foam frame. All accessories are sealed in metalized bags with EVGA logos on them. The bundled accessories include the following items:

  • Round PATA cable;
  • Six Serial ATA cables with metal connector locks;
  • Three power splitters  for six SATA devices;
  • Three bridges of different length for SLI and 3-way SLI configurations;
  • An additional bracket with two USB and one IEEE1394 (FireWire) ports;
  • I/O Shield for the case rear panel;
  • Color poster with brief assembly instructions;
  • User’s manual;
  • CD disk with drivers and software;
  • “3 WAY SLI EVGA” embossed sticker.

Besides all these pretty standard accessories, EVGA X58 SLI Classified mainboard comes with a numbered certificate stating that you have purchased an authentic product that has been tested manually and is guaranteed to meet EVGA quality standards. There is also ECP (EVGA Control Panel) that is connected to a special mainboard connector with two cables.

As you can see, this panel is not covered with any decorative casing, there are no stands or retentions for installing it into the 5-inch bay. It is not designed for decorative or entertainment purposes, it is a purely utilitarian device that makes it easier to work with this board on an open testbed. This panel mostly duplicates the functions of the board: Power On, Reset and Clear CMOS buttons, POST indicator, a set of jumpers used for disabling idle graphics card PCI Express connectors. The unique peculiarity of this mainboard is three buttons, each sending an additional 0.1V to the CPU. The increment is way too big for using these buttons during CPU overclocking. This dramatic voltage increase may come in handy if you use some extreme cooling, which this particular mainboard allows. However, we are going to talk about it a little later in this review and in the meantime, let’s take a closer look at EVGA X58 SLI Classified mainboard.

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