We first learned about the features of the Intel DX58SO mainboard back in early November 2008, right after the NDA lift and before the official launch of the new Intel platform. Our article called “New Hit from Remake King: Intel Core i7 Review” contain a short chapter devoted to this mainboard. However, this solution turned out very interesting and quite unique that is why we decided to devote the whole separate article to the numerous features and functionality of the flagship LGA1366 Intel board from the extreme series.
We have already reviewed quite a few LGA1366 mainboards by now and they all have a lot in common. It is quite natural because all of them are based on the same exact Intel X58 Express core logic set, support Intel Core i7 processors and DDR3 SDRAM. Each mainboard has its own peculiarities, but they all have a lot of features in common. The main impression we have from Intel DX58SO is that it is totally different from all other solutions. The differences are present in every aspect: PCB layout, BIOS structure and functionality, even the accessories bundled with the board are different. A different mainboard doesn’t necessarily mean a bad mainboard, but it always implies unusual and therefore interesting.
Package and Accessories
The box Intel DX58SO mainboard ships in doesn’t strike you with large size or extravagant design, flip-open front covers or clear windows. The company believes that the packaging should serve two primary purposes: protect its contents from transportation damages and inform the potential user of what is inside. The box copes perfectly well with both these tasks, and everything else is excessive luxury.
The back of the box contains a photo of the Intel DX58SO mainboard, a list of its features and peculiarities and a description of included accessories:
If we mention everything that we found inside the box, it will be a pretty long but not very interesting list. That is why we decided to mention only those accessories that have certain practical value for us, as users. The bundle includes the following items:
- Four Serial ATA cables with metal locks and L-shaped connectors;
- A kit for the North Bridge heatsink including a 40x40x20 mm fan, plastic frame and retention screws;
- A decorative cover for the chipset South Bridge heatsink;
- I/O Shield for the rear panel;
- Large colorful poster with installation instructions;
- A sticker with connectors description to be put on the inner side of the case;
- DVD disk with software and drivers;
- DVD disk with Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter game.
I have to say that it is a pretty modest bundle for a flagship mainboard, not taking into account the whole bunch of marketing booklets and materials also included with the board. As you may have already noticed, the traditional paper manual is not included with the board. Its electronic version is available on the DVD disk with drivers. It also contains a rather long list of additional software:
- Acronis True Image 11 Home
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
- CyberLink Live Premium
- Diskeeper 9 Home Edition
- DivX Pro for Windows
- Dolby Control Center
- Intel Desktop Control Center
- Intel Integrator Assistant
- Kaspersky AntiVirus
- Kingsoft Antivirus
- Kingsoft Powerword
- Norton 360
- Windows Installer 3.1
So, what do we have here in the end? When you buy Intel DX58SO mainboard, you don’t pay extra for pretty box design – that’s a plus. We don’t spend money on excessive amount of cables and adapters. We can easily get all that, if and when we need it. Instead, the board is bundled with a fan and a retention kit for its installation on top of the chipset North Bridge heatsink. Usually we have to arrange additional cooling ourselves, but here it has been taken care of for us, so it is an advantage as well. And finally, it is really cool to get so much free software. The list above contains a few pretty useful tools that are not available for free. Some of you wish they included a bracket with a few extra USB ports, some may be upset to see no connecting bridges for the multi-graphics card configurations, but overall, our first impressions are highly positive with the exception of marketing materials that are rarely useful or interesting.