Articles: Mainboards
 

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The LGA1366 platform was announced over two years ago, but the Intel X58 Express chipset is still considered to be the fastest available and comes to users on top-end mainboards. On the other hand, a modern flagship mainboard must have two features to claim such a status, namely USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbps. Products released two years ago did not have those interfaces, so a revision of the model range was necessary. We have already checked out the new breed of LGA1366 mainboards from the leading makers: ASUS P6X58D-E and Asus Sabertooth X58, Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R (rev. 2.0) and GA-X58A-UD5 (rev. 2.0), and MSI XPower. Intel has added two new products into their Extreme Series as well. We will put aside the simpler Intel DX58OG with pretty basic functionality and will focus today on the top-of-the-line DX58SO2 model.

First we want to quote the words the company uses to introduce this new mainboard: “Intel is breaking down the barriers when it comes to the performance and bandwidth that gamers, digital media creators, and ultimate multi-taskers need most”. This phrase can be understood in the sense that there were barriers. Indeed, the previous flagship product, Intel DX58SO, was rather odd and differed greatly from the regular mainboards by other manufacturers. Let’s see what its successor, DX58SO2, can do.

Packaging and Accessories

The Intel DX58SO2 belongs to the Extreme Series with a human skull emblem. We are going to see this skull everywhere, starting from the product box.

Besides the mainboard, the box contains a lot of accessories.

 

There is a mouse pad and eight large stickers with Extreme Series skulls and Intel logos. We also found an interesting black cable that should be connected to the onboard USB pin-headers. Shortly after that we found a small box with the same USB connector in one side and sticky tape on the other (you can see this box on the right in the photo above). It took us some time to figure out what it actually was. The colorful poster with installation instructions has figure 14 which suggests that the small box is supposed to be attached to the interior of the faceplate of a free 5-inch bay of the system case and connected with the black cable to the mainboard. There was no other information except a reference to the user manual.

 

Figure 14 in the user manual was completely different, though. We also could not find a list of accessories in the manual, on the website or on the product box. So, we had to browse through the user manual page by page and, when we got close to the end of the manual right after a detailed description of a mind-bogglingly complex battery replacement procedure with warnings in multiple languages we finally found it. We read that the DX58SO2 might come with a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo-module and ours was exactly the model like that. We guess it would make more sense to have a list of accessories (including optional ones) somewhere or to have an indication of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support in the mainboard specs. Finally, they could have maintained the same numbering for the illustrations on the poster and inside the user manual so that the user could easily find necessary information. And the wireless module itself could have been labeled in a more meaningful way than just “MSI Model: MS–3871”. But the availability of the module is definitely an advantage of the mainboard.

Here is the full list of included accessories:

  • Six SATA cables with metal connector locks;
  • Bridge for 2-way SLI graphics configurations;
  • Bridge for 3-way SLI graphics configurations;
  • I/O Shield for the back panel;
  • WiFi/Bluetooth MS-3871 module and a cable for it;
  • Colorful poster with brief assembly instructions;
  • DVD disk with drivers and software;
  • Connector layout sticker for the inside of the system case;
  • Mouse pad;
  • A set of decorative “Intel Extreme Team” stickers.

It must be noted that some of the accessories are optional, so you should confirm the bundle contents before purchasing the board.

 
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