Almost all the major motherboard manufacturers have had some form of X79 on display – Anand has already shown you the MSI and ECS offerings, but I stopped by the Intel booth today to a magnificent display.  Almost every X79 board at Computex was on show, so let us play a game of spot the difference.

Of the 12 models on display, ASUS alone have six – the C1X79, C1X79 LE, C1X79 EVO, C1X79 PRO, C1X79 Deluxe and the C1X79 Plus, which covers most of their standard P67 launch model names.  We have one from Sapphire (PB-C17X79N), one from ECS (X79R-A), one from ASRock (X79 Extreme4), and three from MSI (GD65, GD70 and GD80) also. 

All the X79 on show are likely to be early engineering samples or mockups – this is more than clear with the brown PCB shown on the ASUS boards and the lack of cooling on the VRMs across most on display.  The lack of I/O on the ASUS boards adds more to this realisation.

The Sapphire model is interesting given that it contains 6 full length PCIe and an 8-pin 12V connector, whereas the ECS board has four PCIe – possibly color coded for an nForce 200 quad GPU configuration.

The MSI series starts with the high end GD80 having a blue PCB with a PCH fan, an 8-pin power slot and an angled fan cooler.  Unfortunately it seems the display had the GD70 and GD65 boards in the wrong place, as the board above the GD70 said GD65 however where the GD65 was, there was a sticker over the model number and that board required two 8-pin PCIe.  Perhaps it was a new GD90 designation in this spot to confuse us?

It will ultimately be a while before we can get our hands on working boards to let you know how they feel, but stay tuned – this is an exciting time for the CPU and motherboard industry.  Have a look at the gallery for the full X79 line-up from the Intel booth.

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  • B3an - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I dont even see a point in SNB-E. It has no USB 3. No PCI-E 3.0. No Thunderbolt, and all these boards only have 4 RAM slots, down from the 6 on X58 boards. So i cant even have as much RAM anymore.
    Then a few months later you have Ivy Bridge with all of the above features actually included and probably the same 4 RAM slots.
    SNB-E should have been released months ago. Intel have pretty much killed the high-end and it's seriously pissed me off.
    Reply
  • SpaceRanger - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    Could the lack of additional RAM slots have something to do with the fact that these boards are quad-channel RAM? You'd need 8 slots if you wanted additional RAM. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    That and IIRC x79 is officially rated for much faster ram than any of Intel's other chipsets, to the point where the signaling problems from 2 dimms/channel would be very severe. Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    That doesn't change the fact. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    All the coverage I've seen elsewhere has SNB-E with 32 (or more) PCIe 3.0 lanes on the CPU. (The southbridge is only PCIE 2, but IIRC so are the IB South-bridges). The other big feature it's going to have that IB won't be offering on LGA1155 is hex core CPUs (and oct core Xeons???????).

    I'm not happy with their timing/feature set either. They've pushed too much of the enthusiast market into their mainstream platform.
    Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I like the brown PCB!

    i know it's never going to happen, but it would be cool if that carried through to the final product.
    Reply
  • Zandros - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    Full length (or is that half-length?) PCIe slots are very nice (and should be standard imo), but how many lanes (2.0 and 3.0) does X79+SNB-E supply by default? Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    Numbers I've seen range from 32-40. 32 to provide 2x16 or 4x8 for the GPU. The 8 that come/go depending on the article are probably: 4 to boost SATA6 transfers from the SB (can these be broken off for other stuff if you only have 1 SSD?), and 4 that are actually DMI.

    I haven't seen any numbers on how many lanes the south-bridge will have. Most reports I've seen have it dropping native legacy PCI support (only 2 boards having any leads me to suspect those 2 are using a bridge chip), so I hope they bumped the total from 8 to 12 to provide for all the odds and ends that used to be stuck on the PCI bus.
    Reply
  • dgingeri - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I hope it's 48: 32 for graphics, 4 for the ICH, and 8 for other accessories, or perhaps 8 for the ICH and 4 for accessories. In any case, I'd like to have a x8 slot for my 3Ware RAID controller. Reply
  • dgingeri - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    the memory layout and the socket just looks kind of like a butterfly to me.

    is it just me, or does it look like the PCIe must be on the chip directly? I don't see any sign of a IOH, just the ICH.
    Reply

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