X79 motherboards spotted at IDF

IDF — Sandy Bridge E is out in full force at the Intel Developer Forum, and we’ve already seen a handful of X79 motherboards that will play host to the new high-end CPU. We can’t say much about the processor or its supporting platform, so you’ll have to make do with a few snapshots of the boards.

First up is Gigabyte’s GA-X79-UD5, which serves up two DIMM slots for each of Sandy Bridge E’s four memory channels. There are also a trio of PCI Express slots (note that PCI Express 3.0 is emblazoned on the board) and a gaggle of Serial ATA ports—14 in total. In that kind of company, the single PCI slot seems a little, well, out of place.

Want upgraded integrated peripherals? Gigabyte also has a G1.Assasin 2 model with Bigfoot networking and Creative audio. There are still three PCIe x16 slots, but the number of DIMM slots and Serial ATA ports has been trimmed. Although it still sports a whopping dozen SATA ports, folks will have to make do with only one memory module per channel.

Intel looks like it’s aiming for a slightly different balance with the DX79SI, which offers a full eight DIMM slots alongside only four internal SATA ports. There are clearly spaces on the board reserved for additional Serial ATA connectivity, and I’d expect at least one of Intel’s X79 models to take full advantage of all the I/O goodness present in the chipset.

Yep, that’s an Intel water cooler. The RTS2011LC appears to have been designed with Sandy Bridge E CPUs in mind, but it’ll also work with LGA 1366, 1155, and 1156 sockets. The sealed system links a copper cold plate on the CPU to a radiator cooled by a custom-designed, 120-mm fan. Intel claims noise levels of 21-35 decibels with the fan running at 800-2200 RPM. A label on the box says the thing will cool CPUs up to 130W.

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    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    Anyone want to bet Gigabyte’s still using their crappy old BIOS?

      • Jakall
      • 8 years ago

      Actually, there will be UEFI on the X79 series from Gigabyte.
      Let`s see some prices first, I have a feeling that X58 was cheap at 200~300 Euros…

      • LoneWolf15
      • 8 years ago

      I’d rather have stable than pretty. I like UEFI, but after experiencing the bugs of Asrock’s otherwise-friendly UEFI BIOS (not recognizing some PCIe cards and other such issues), I’m willing to wait until they get it right.

      I’d really like UEFI on my new Gigabyte board (which replaced the Asrock Gen3 that I RMA-ed), mind you, but not at the expense of working right. I hope they put a lot of work into it when it does arrive.

    • Duck
    • 8 years ago

    Get a load of the ATI branding in the 1st pic ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Spotpuff
    • 8 years ago

    That gigabyte board is a sexy beast. Would be better if they completely killed of PCI though. 12 SATA ports is awesome ๐Ÿ™‚
    USB 3 headers would be icing.

    • Arclight
    • 8 years ago

    After looking at the boards layout i suspected that many heatsinks will have clearance issues and just before i posted i red:
    [quote<]Yep, that's an Intel water cooler. The RTS2011LC appears to have been designed with Sandy Bridge E CPUs in mind, but it'll also work with LGA 1366, 1155, and 1156 sockets.[/quote<] I guess closed loops like Corsair's H series will become the norm for high end systems due to clearance issuesfrom RAM heatsinks, motherboard heatsinks and PCI-E card. By PCI-E card clearance i mean the probable incompatibility of heatsinks like Prolimatech Armageddon or Thermalright Archon which, if mounted in East-West orientation will probably extend over/into the first PCI-E card installed in the first PCI-E slot.

      • BestJinjo
      • 8 years ago

      They do have excellent low profile memory from G.Skill, Mushkin, Corsair nowdays. Everyone knows that tall heatsinks on modern ram are only for marketing/show purposes as they server no functional value whatsoever. So any of the top coolers such as NH-D14, Silver Arrow, Archon, Phanteks will have 0 ram clearance issues. If you feel like blowing $$$ on fancy Corsair Dominator ram that does nothing in the real world, then that’s your choice!

        • Arclight
        • 8 years ago

        I agree on what you said regarding the fact the RAM modules don’t require those silly tall heatsinks. Matter of fact i think that any 1.5V module won’t need a heatsink since the majority of overclockers use CPUs with unlocked multipliers which doesn’t require to raise the RAM frequency.

        But it’s a fact that although many, not all, understand their uselessness, the marketing department of RAM companies are still churning out RAM modules with taller and taller heatsinks. Also i don’t agree on your statement regarding the Noctua D14 having enough clearance for the tallest RAM heatsinks, as a matter of fact it doesn’t.
        Proof?
        [url<]http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=faqs&step=2&lng=en&products_id=34#13[/url<] I know that the Silver Arrow has also clearance issues, as for the Phanteks PH-TC14PE [quote<]The case and RAM compatibility gets very complicated because both fans included are 140mm, the fan over the RAM with the Mushkin RAM we used in our tests should fit most cases because it is relatively low profile, but if we had used Corsair Dominators even with the tops removed the fan would stop the door being able to be fitted on most normal sized cases with a 120mm rear exhaust. Basically keep the RAM small (Vengeance LP, RipjawsX, Radioactive, Ridgeback) then you should be fine, use any larger RAM and you'll either need a bigger case, or a new heat sink entirely because you only have a maximum room of 50mm before it wont fit under the cooler fins in the first place.[/quote<] Source: [url<]http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/cases_cooling/phanteks_ph-tc14pe_review/1[/url<] In conclusion i believe that with the new RAM modules that will come out for this SB-E mobos we will still see tall heatsinks for marketing purposes and whatnot. So i think big air coolers will have issues on SB-E setups thus Intel coming out with a wc. closed loop.

    • luisnhamue
    • 8 years ago

    This X79 scares me. Even the intel original board had a good picture. These 8 slots is freaking me out too.

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      Makes it feel like a server board with those 8 slots on both sides of the CPU. With DDR3 so ludicrasly cheap right now if i was planning on upgrading to SB-E id buy me 8 4GB DIMMS and take over the world with my extreme amount of RAM on a consumer board.

        • RAMBO
        • 8 years ago

        You said ram is cheap right now, you don’t see them going up in price do you?

    • Johnny5
    • 8 years ago

    I want one so that whenever I see another motherboard I can point and laugh at their tiny little heat pipes.

    • GoJ
    • 8 years ago

    **SIGH** So, where does my Xonar Essence STX go? Where is my Angelbird PCIe SSD card going to fit? 14 SATA ports? Is that a legacy PCI slot? I realise that these are merely prototypes, but it looks like MoBo makers are going to screw us again! **SIGH** (let’s hope there’s at least nothing remotely Marvell on these…Geez!)

      • Bauxite
      • 8 years ago

      In the single pci slot, why do you need more than one? There have been pci-e xonars for awhile too.

      They all have 3×16 slots, so whats the problem with the ssd card again? TR just solidified the long known problems with multi-gpu, but you could still cram two dual gpu cards for 4 times the bad idea and have room left over.

      The intel board will at least use the built in intel ethernet on the SB for sure, the others who knows…might even get saddled with realtek.

      As for the sata, theres also southbridge options for SB-E with built in SAS controllers, frees up a slot or three.

    • internetsandman
    • 8 years ago

    I’m not sure what’s more impressive, the sheer awesomeness of that first Gigabyte board, or the knowledge that, being a UD5, there will more than likely be a board boasting even more awesomeness

      • Voldenuit
      • 8 years ago

      Or that none of the $200+ Gigabyte boards will have any meaningful fanspeed controls?

        • jcw122
        • 8 years ago

        Fan speed controls are for noobs

        • Bauxite
        • 8 years ago

        And probably still not have any choice with (U)EFI

          • Farting Bob
          • 8 years ago

          Gigabyte is of the opinion that UEFI is hard work and so why bother to make one whn they can reuse the same BIOS they used in 1993.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 8 years ago

    I wonder what controller Intel is using for USB3 support on their X79 mainboard –I was of the impression that unlike other 7-series chipsets, X79 didn’t support it natively. But it looks like there is a USB3 header there.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t know what controller they’re using, but native support or no, Intel can’t not sell a high-end motherboard without USB3 support. That’s a mandatory feature in this price range.

      (and that’s definitely a USB3 header)

      • Bauxite
      • 8 years ago

      If there is a slightly higher res picture, can probably find it, theres only like 4 possible onboard chip vendors. The one right above the internal header looks like the prime candidate.

      It also looks like it might have a twin in the top left corner (the silkscreen matches) along with a pair of lightly shielded ports that might have the blue plastic that also indicates usb3.

    • phez
    • 8 years ago

    When can I give Intel my money?

      • luisnhamue
      • 8 years ago

      I’d like to trade in with my p67 pc.

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]Gigabyte's GA-X79-UD5, which serves up two DIMM slots for each of Sandy Bridge E's four memory channels. There are also a trio of PCI Express slots (note that PCI Express 3.0 is emblazoned on the board) and a gaggle of Serial ATA portsโ€”14 in total. In that kind of company, the single PCI slot seems a little, well, out of place.[/quote<] That's awesome. I want that board JUST because it has 8 dimm slots that look like they need to be populated with a gaggle of dimms. I think it's going a bit far to say they should completely eliminate PCI slots. Unfortunately there are still a couple PCI cards floating around that people want to hang onto. I have a PCI Creative X-Fi for instance. PS/2 ports should've been dead a long time ago though. Intel on the other hand has started ramping up their boards. It's nice to see them trying something different and it actually looks pretty good. If it does more then just be rock stable I may start looking into buying them.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 8 years ago

      I agree, that top Gigabyte board is very impressive looking. I wonder how much it, and the cheapest SB-E CPU, will cost?

      Also the -UD5 in the name suggests it’s a mid-range board.

      • Bauxite
      • 8 years ago

      “PS/2 ports should’ve been dead a long time ago though.”

      A quadrillion server room’s existing infrastructure says no. Even with ipmi etc youll still see a ps2 and vga on them….hell half the time kvm over ip stuff emulates it anyways, usb keyboards/stack are overrated and buggy.

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        So… you think desktop motherboards should have them because servers in data centers do?

        Destkop computers… servers in data centers… desktops… data centers…. hmmm…

          • internetsandman
          • 8 years ago

          Data centers (or really, anything involving corporate IT infrastructures) are incredibly stubborn when it comes to adapting new technology. I see the reason why, it costs money and it’s not been proven to work solidly with whatever they are currently using, but at a certain point it just becomes ridiculous.

          As an example, the central server in the building I work in is at least 7 years old, if not more. It takes up a four-foot square floor to ceiling chunk of an already very crowded office. It’s sad to think that it won’t be replaced by something like a simple 1155 or even 1156 desktop rig, which would have the potential to be even faster, consume less power and take up less space, simply because the people in charge are (in my opinion) downright paranoid about new technology.

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            The point of my post was that data centers use equipment that you wont ever see. These motherboards, those produced by Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, etc, rarely find their way into servers in data centers. They make very few ultra high end server equipment as well…

            None of what is pictured here is something you’d normally find in a U1-3 in a data center, as such you’ll never need a PS/2 port for the specialized circumstances Baux described.

            For just the same reason the serial port disappeared even though it’s readily used for configuration of many specialized hardware devices.

            I fully understand having backwards compatibility for monoliths of the past (people and machines), these aren’t applicable to that scenario though.

      • esterhasz
      • 8 years ago

      Could not agree more on the 8 Dimm slots. I use scientific software for work that sucks RAM like it’s diet coke and being able to go to 32GB on the cheap is going to make my life a lot better.

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        From what I’ve read, you can hit up to 64 with a EFI bios… At least that’s what some of the motherboards are listed as on Newegg… I have yet to see 16GB dimms though.

          • Krogoth
          • 8 years ago

          16GiB and 32GiB do exist, but they are registered DIMMs (buffered) and not cheap.

          I’m not sure if LGA2011 even supports registered DIMMs. Even if it has support, it will only be on Xeon-grade chips.

      • luisnhamue
      • 8 years ago

      this new architecture makes ATX board layout run out of space for VRM’s and fancy coolers. I guess the cooler for Sandy Bridge-E will all get some extra height if they want to avoid clearance probs with memory DIMM’s.

        • Farting Bob
        • 8 years ago

        RAM doesnt need big tall heatsinks these days. Unless you are running it at the bleeding edge (2100Mhz+) you dont need more than a standard height heatspreader on them. Hell they sell 1600Mhz RAM with NO heatsinks on them still, bare chips which can cool themselves with minimal airflow. RAM companies however can add a few pounds to a product with a garish heatsink and considering the margins in RAM these days are terrible, that can make the difference, which is why they push those models more.

    • chuckula
    • 8 years ago

    It’ll be interesting to see if the first revisions of SB-E actually support PCI express 3.0 or not. The motherboards are capable of meeting the spec, but since the controller is on the CPU, the motherboard support is not the most important factor. If SB-E is launched this year, there may be an update in 2012 that adds the PCIe 3.0 support. Of course, it remains to be seen when any of the graphics cards or other high-speed devices that will actually use PCIe 3.0 actually become available, so it’s a little bit of a moot point now.

    By itself X79 should be an excellent replacement for X58 and will provide loads of bandwidth until DDR4 finally takes off.

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 8 years ago

    Nice to see intel adopting the simple radiator water cooler. Are they going to package it with all their CPUs or just SB from here on? Maybe base it on the wattage rating of the particular processor?

      • LoneWolf15
      • 8 years ago

      Either way, I bet the resale value on Ebay will be high.

    • FuturePastNow
    • 8 years ago

    That cooler looks distinctively like the ones sold by Antec. I bet the little Intel logo on it lights up, too.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 8 years ago

      SO what you’re saying is… Apple is going to patent it next week and sue them both ?

    • Ryu Connor
    • 8 years ago

    Do want.

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