P6X58D-E Layout and Bundle
Price: ~£175 inc VAT
Best Price: http://pricebomb.co.uk
Asus has been uncharacteristically slow at delivering an affordable next-generation X58 motherboard, with the only product amongst its ranks to offer USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA being the flagship P6X58D Premium. Despite being a superb board with just about every high end feature you can imagine, its £240 price tag puts it beyond the realms of affordability for most users. This has allowed other manufacturers to nibble away at the market-leading position the P6T series has enjoyed since the X58 chipset's launch.
Fortunately Asus has addressed this situation with today's launch of the P6X58D-E. Designed to occupy the price segment currently filled by the P6T, this new board boasts all of the features of its predecessor along with more powerful voltage regulation circuitry, a new colour scheme and those all-important next generation storage interfaces.
Layout and Bundle
Comparing the P6X58D-E and the P6X58D Premium next to each other it like a game of 'spot the difference'. Everything that makes the latter such a great premium board is present and correct here, with the only major omission being the second Gigabit LAN controller. The on-board reset button has also been omitted but the two PCBs are otherwise seemingly identical. Considering only a small proportion of users are likely to use a second controller, this is a wise omission and brings the board down to a more affordable £160-£180 price bracket depending on exchange rate. A slight modification has also been made to the heat pipe configuration, but this isn't something that we can see significantly affecting either overclockability or cooling performance.
Inside the box you get the usual array of motherboard accessories. Two packs of lockable SATA cables are joined by the handy Asus Q-connector pack as well as a manual, driver disk, I/O shield and a triple-SLI bridge. This is not overtly generous but par for the course for an X58 board at this price.
In terms of layout the P6X58D-E is generally superb. The majority of its SATA ports are angled at 90 degrees to aid users of dual video cards while the other two sit along the bottom edge out of the way. The memory ports have been positioned at a height where they won't interfere with the primary video card while there is plenty of room around the CPU socket for even the largest of 3rd party coolers. Slot wise Asus is clearly looking to the future as legacy PCI slots take a back seat to PCI Express. Three full-length slots are provided for triple Crossfire or SLI configurations while a single 1x slot sits at the top of a board for a sound card. If you are using a single slot video card you will have access to two PCI slots, but it's more likely you'll have just the one available. It's nice to see Asus has also opted to lop both IDE and floppy support from this board, both of which are features that are superfluous in a 2010 PC.
Move to the rear I/O panel and you'll find plenty of connectivity options. It's nowhere near as crowded here as we have seen from some motherboard manufacturers recently, but the essentials have all been covered. Six USB ports are provided (two of which are USB 3.0) along with a single Firewire port. Home theatre enthusiasts are well catered for with both optical and coaxial audio connectivity and you'll find a rear-mounted clear-CMOS button which saves you the bother of entering your case if you overclock a little too far.