What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified LGA1366 Motherboard Review

Status
Not open for further replies.

3oh6

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
1,049
Location
Edmonton, AB
<center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/evga_logo-1.png" alt="EVGA Logo">


<b>EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified LGA1366 Motherboard Review</b></center>



<b>Price:</b> $559+ CND <a href="http://hardwarecanucks.pricecanada.com/detail.php?product_id=599860&sku=141BLE759A1">Price Comparison</a>
<b>Manufacturer Product Page:</b> <a href="http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=141-BL-E759-A1&family=Motherboard%20Family">EVGA.com</a>
<b>TechWIKI Info:</b> <a href="http://techwiki.hardwarecanucks.com/product/1NDEyMzYyNzU/Evga-X58-Classified/">EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified - TechWIKI</a>
<b>Manufacturer's Part Number:</b> 141-BL-E759-A1
<b>Warranty:</b> Limited Lifetime Warranty with Registration




<p style="text-align: justify;">At some point in every young boy’s life, he has to grow up and cross that threshold into man-hood. Whether it is when he gets his driver’s license, graduates from high-school, gets his first job, gets married, or watches his first child enter the world. Every man remembers that single point in time when he first felt like a man. When he felt like he shed his youth and took on the responsibilities of the world head on. For the EVGA X58 3X SLI, that was when it got the label "Classified" stamped on its south bridge heat sink.

EVGA released their first X58 motherboard at the end of last year and we had the great pleasure in taking a look at it over the past few months. Today, we have an even greater pleasure in taking a look at what that motherboard grew up to be. We have before us the man that was once a boy. Like the first time the man-child Greg Oden stepped onto the basketball floor in the NBA, the Classified steps onto the pages of Hardware Canucks a man, ready for anything we can throw at it. Today we will poke, prod, push, and outright beat on the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified. Our goal is to see if it is the man that the hype has labeled it to be. We will see if the Classified is the next coming of Intel X58 based motherboards.

Strapped with a monster passive heat sink assembly, a layout boasting one-of-a-kind configurations, and a color scheme that just screams out sexy; the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified - on paper - looks to be the single best motherboard money can buy. And you better bring a lot of money because this motherboard is not cheap. Today at Hardware Canucks, we will determine if the Classified is worth every penny and who should be willing to pony up the cash to ride in its lap of luxury. The Intel X58 chipset has been the performance leader for some time, let's see what the Classified can add to that domination.</p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/index-1.jpg" alt="EVGA X58 SLI"></center>
 
Last edited by a moderator:

3oh6

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
1,049
Location
Edmonton, AB
Specifications & Features

Specifications & Features

<p style="text-align: justify;">As we mentioned in our last X58 review, this being the fifth X58 motherboard review in the last couple months, we will by-pass the X58 chipset diagram as we should all be quite familiar with it by now. There have been no updates, changes, or items of note so if you wish to go over the specifications that the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified is based on; have a look at either our ASUS Rampage Extreme II or EVGA X58 SLI reviews. Here are the specifications for the Classified as outlined by EVGA.</p><center><table border="0" bgcolor="#666666" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="697"><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"><b>Performance</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> Based on Intel X58/ICH10R chipset<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> Supports Intel Core i7 Processors<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> 133 MHz QPI</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"><b>Memory</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> 6 x 240-pin DIMM sockets<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> Triple Channel DDR3<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> Maximum of 24GB of DDR3 1600MHz+</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"><b>Expansion Slots</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> 4 x PCIe x16/x8<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> 1 x PCIe x1<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> 1 x PCI (32-bit PCI, support for PCI 2.1)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Storage I/O</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> 1 x UltraDMA133<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> 9 x Serial ATA 300MB/sec<br>supports RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5, JBOD</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"><b>Integrated Peripherals</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> 8 Channel High Definition<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> 2 x 10/100/1000</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"><b>Multi I/O</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> 1 x PS2 Keyboard<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> 12 x USB2.0 ports (8 external + 4 internal headers)<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> FireWire 1394A (1 external, 1 header)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"><b>Form Factor</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> EATX Form Factor<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> Length: 12in – 304.8mm<br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/sp-1.png" align="absmiddle"> Width: 10.375in – 263.5mm</td></tr></table></center><p style="text-align: justify;">If you are familiar with the EVGA X58 3X SLI motherboard, you will immediately notice that there are a lot of similarities, but also a lot of key differences. We will discuss some of these differences further while taking a closer look at the motherboard.</p>

Features

<p style="text-align: justify;">The features section is chalk full of unique firsts in the motherboard market that EVGA has accomplished with the Classified. This board is designed to be pushed to the absolute limits during sub-zero benching, but also comes heavily coated in useable features, even if you aren't going to be boiling off liter after liter of liquid nitrogen.</p><table align="center" bgcolor="#666666" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="662px"><tr><td align="justify" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="50%"><center><b>Intel® Core i7 Support</b></center><br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/feat-1.png" style="float: left; margin: 4px 5px 0 0;" />The Intel X58 chipset is designed for one thing and one thing only, the best performance Intel has ever seen. With four physical cores in addition to four more virtual cores thanks to the return of Hyper-Threading, the Intel Core i7 is a multi-threading monster and clock-per-clock; the fastest desktop processor available right now.</td><td align="justify" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="50%"><center><b>Up To 3-Way SLI® Support</b></center><br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/feat-2.png" style="float: left; margin: 4px 5px 0 0;" />EVGA has taken the SLI capabilities of the Intel X58 chipset to the next level offering for the first time ever, 3-way SLI + PhysX + 1X PCIe device capabilities on a single motherboard. The X58 3X SLI Classified provides the ability to run three graphics cards, plus a dedicated PhysX card, and a 1X PCIe device such as a soundcard or RAID controller card.</td></tr><tr><td align="justify" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="50%"><center><b>2 x 8PIN EPS Connectors</b></center><br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/feat-3.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 4px 0 0 5px;" />Another consumer motherboard first, the Classified offers dual 8-pin EPS 12v+ connectors that offer up to 600W of available power for the CPU. This level of available power may not help your daily overclock on air, but under LN2 conditions, CPU stability is second to none thanks to this feature.</td><td align="justify" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="50%"><center><b>10 phase Digital PWM</b></center><br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/feat-4.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 4px 0 0 5px;" />All of the available power is handled by the beefiest Digital PWM available on current X58 motherboards. The difference between the Classifieds digital PWM and others is the ability to change the switching frequency in the BIOS providing a switching frequency of up to 1333KHz. Higher switching frequencies results in smoother power delivery.</p></td></tr><tr><td align="justify" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="50%"><center><b>3X Gold Content in CPU Socket</b></center><br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/feat-5.jpg" style="float: left; margin: 4px 5px 0 0;" />With three times the normal amount of gold in the CPU socket pins, the Classified again is ahead of the class. The higher gold content in the pins lowers the impedance and resistance of current going through the pins. This in turn provides a "smoother" path for current to get to the CPU.</td><td align="justify" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="50%"><center><b>EVGA EZ Voltages</b></center><br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/feat-6.jpg" style="float: left; margin: 4px 5px 0 0;" />Like the predeceasing EVGA X58 3X SLI, the Classified offers onboard voltage read points but expands on the four that the first generation EVGA X58 motherboard offered. The Classified provides read points for every adjustable voltage. These read points make reading voltages with a digital multi-meter much easier, and safer, than poking around the motherboard without them.</td></tr><tr><td align="justify" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="50%"><center><b>OnBoard Power/Reset/CMOS Clear Buttons</b></center><br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/feat-7.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 4px 0 0 5px;" />Like so many other features on the Classified, the onboard buttons offered cater this motherboard to the benchmarking enthusiast who doesn't run their system in a case. These onboard buttons facilitate the motherboards use in an open air benching platform.</td><td align="justify" valign="top" bgcolor="#ececec" width="50%"><center><b>EVGA Control Panel</b></center><br><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/feat-8.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 4px 0 0 5px;" />This "extension" of the motherboard controls offers the same Power/Reset/CMOS Clear buttons as well as the LED diagnostic readout that are present on the motherboard. This functionality will come in handy for users with fully insulated and populated bench setups or the daily users looking to mount the Control Panel for exterior control over PCI-E jumpers or to see the LED readout.</td></tr></table><p style="text-align: justify;">We will be going over a few of these features in more depth as we continue through the review. We have of course only touched on a few of the more unique features the Classified offers here but there is plenty more to talk about. Let's start with a look at the package and the accessories that accompany the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified.</p>
 
Last edited by a moderator:

3oh6

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
1,049
Location
Edmonton, AB
Package & Accessories

Package & Accessories

<p style="text-align: justify;">With the transformation from retail stores to online shipping warehouses, the computer hardware package has actually increased in its necessity to be well designed. The esthetic design on the outside really doesn't play a role amongst an army of informed consumers anymore and people interested in the Classified aren't going to be buying this motherboard based on the graphics on the outside, rather the contents inside. Where the package plays an important role is when it comes to shipping. Is the package going to protect the lovely piece of hardware its job is to protect?</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">Before we dip inside the package, we still want to highlight a couple design elements of the exterior. EVGA has finally done away with the slip cover that accompanied their previous 680i/780i/790i/X58 offerings, and beefed up the Classified with a genuine cardboard box. No plastic molded tray wrapped in a thin outer shell. The previous packages seemed to do the job just fine, but when you grab the X58 3X SLI Classified package, you know the contents inside are going to be safe. The thick cardboard box is quite sturdy, very solid, and exudes confidence in being able to protect the hardware inside. EVGA has stuck to the same design as the X58 SLI that preceded the Classified and simply added the Classified badge to the graphics. The specifications aren't the only thing that is similar between the original X58 SLI and the X58 3X SLI Classified.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">One of my favorite aspects of EVGA packages is that they actually attempt to deliver an un-opened package to the customer. Too many motherboards and video cards these days seem to come in a box that negates the ability to ensure that the hardware inside is un-molested when purchased. Any ASUS motherboard you find at your local computer shop can be opened and rifled through without much effort. The opportunity to use the motherboard and then replace it in its package without anyone the wiser is also there because of a lack of security sticker or wrapping. Now we are not suggesting that the sticker EVGA uses on their packages - as seen above - is tamper proof, but it does provide at the very least a deterrent to would-be hardware testers. It may seem small and insignificant, but knowing that you have received an un-touched piece of hardware after laying down your hard earned money is also a comforting feeling.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The Classified package opens up to three layers of contents. The top layer contains three zip locked bags containing cables and such, the second layer is comprised of a foam surround and the motherboard itself wrapped in an ESD safe bag, and the bottom layer contains further accessories comprised mostly of our SLI bridges. Here is a complete list of accessories that accompany the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified.
  • 1 x Sleeved IDE Cable
  • 6 x SATA Cables
  • 3 x 4-Pin Molex Connector > Dual 5-Pin SATA Connector
  • 2 x USB 2.0 & 1 x 6-pin Firewire PCI Expansion Bracket
  • Single 6-Pin Firewire PCI Expansion Bracket
  • EVGA Control Panel & cables
  • 2 Way Flexible SLI Bridge
  • 3 Way Solid SLI Bridge (standard)
  • 3 Way Solid SLI Bridge (extended)
  • Manual, Software CD, Installation Guide, Limited Edition Certificate
  • Rear I/O Panel
</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The accessory list isn't the largest we have typed out, but it does contain everything we should need with this motherboard. The lack of a floppy cable all but gives away the fact that we don't have a floppy drive connector on this motherboard, like the EVGA X58 3X SLI.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">As for what we do receive, EVGA has once again gone with their high end black SATA cables that we received with the X58 SLI and 790i motherboards. We also receive a single IDE cable sleeved to appear round, as well as a handful of 4-pin Molex to 5-pin SATA power connections. There is a PCI extension bracket to provide additional USB and Firewire connections and a clip less rear I/O plate.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The assortment of SLI bridges is due to the fact that we can run so many different SLI configurations on the Classified. We have a flexible cable to run SLI in any slot configuration, a standard 3-way SLI bridge and also the Extended 3-way SLI bridge for those going all out running 3-way SLI and a dedicated PhysX card in the fourth PCI-E 16X slot. The ECP (EVGA Control Panel) is EVGA's answer to the ASUS TweakIt hardware that comes with the Rampage Extreme II and debuted with the Rampage Extreme. Although the ECP doesn't provide the same overall functionality that TweakIt does, it still provides a much needed boost to the Classified package. It may not be as polished a package or provide as many functions, but what it does provide can be quite useful. It is good to see EVGA step up and try to add something superfluous to the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified that wasn't on the original X58 SLI.

We will be discussing some of the items seem here later on in the review, but for now, let's focus our attention on the Classified motherboard itself. Next up is the closer look at the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified.</p>
 
Last edited by a moderator:

3oh6

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
1,049
Location
Edmonton, AB
A Closer Look at the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified

A Closer Look at the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified


<center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/layout-1.jpg" alt="" border="0"></center><p style="text-align: justify;">The EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified is in a class of its own when it comes to PCI-E 16X layout. One of the major features EVGA has been boasting about is the ability to run 3X SLI, a dedicated PhysX GPU, and still be able to fit in a PCI-E 1X sound card. Of course, even with these capabilities, some users will still complain that the use of the lone PCI slot on the Classified will be unusable. Unfortunately, motherboards are only so big and at some point, something has to get left out. The next obvious feature of the landscape is the rather massive heat sink sitting directly on the north bridge. This passive design eliminates the fan that populates the X58 3X SLI by EVGA. Aside from that, we have a very typical layout with memory DIMMs spaced nicely from the CPU socket, low profile heat sink over the south bridge to allow large video card use in all slots, and all connectors appear to be toward the outside edges of the motherboard for easy cable management. From above, it looks like we really have a spectacular layout.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">Even with the menacing north bridge heat sink looming over the CPU socket area, the Classified has a uniquely clean area setup here. The major reason is the ten phase digital PWM being implemented on this board. Like the DFI X58-T3eH8, the Classified uses a digital PWM that really cuts down on the surface mount components around the CPU socket. Insulation will be rather easy when preparing for sub zero cooling.

Despite being beefier than the previous EVGA X58 motherboard, the Classifieds PWM heat sink almost appears to be smaller. We found a little bit of an interference issue with larger CPU heat sinks on the previous board, but this Classified design appears to be much better suited for large CPU cooling accommodation. Another of the unique Classified features is the implementation of dual 12v+ EPS connectors capable of supplying the CPU with up to 600W of power. For air and water users this is going to be overkill and a single connector is more than enough, but when pushing i7 processors north of 5GHz under LN2 cooling, that second connector will become a saving grace for supplying clean and steady vCORE.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">As mentioned, the six DDR3 DIMM slots appear to be spaced nicely from the CPU socket but we fully anticipate the same issue all X58 motherboards have encountered when mated to a Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme in a North/South orientation. The closest DIMM slot will likely be unusable for taller memory like the Corsair Dominator or Kingston HyperX modules. That aside, the power delivery for the memory appears to be quite substantial and very well designed. The three phase power design is very similar to the Classified’s sibling X58 3X SLI and utilizes two capacitors for every inductor with low RDS MOSFETs.

At the top of the DIMM, again like the X58 3X SLI, the Classified has a number of voltage read points. The number has increased to include every single adjustable voltage in the Classifieds BIOS. These read points allow for a reasonable facsimile of what the voltages are for each labeled component. The BIOS voltage readings, and subsequent values in Windows, aren't always accurate and we will be utilizing these read points later on to investigate what voltage we receive compared to what is set in the BIOS.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">Moving our way down past the 24-pin ATX power connector located to the east of the DIMM slots, we find this small cluster of jumper pins. Labeled appropriately enough, "PCIE Disable", these jumpers allow us to enable or disable any of the four PCI-E 16X slots individually. This is another feature primarily for the enthusiast trying to trouble shoot a multi GPU setup that utilizes cooling that makes it difficult to simply remove a card. Water cooling multiple GPUs or benching with fully insulated sub-zero cooling pots makes it difficult to just pull a card for trouble shooting. These jumpers in essence allow us to shut off the individual slots and perform the trouble shooting without removing anything. This functionality can also be found on the EVGA Control Panel (ECP) when connected.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">South bridge corner is our next stop on this tour and like everything we have looked at thus far, the layout is superb. All of our six ICH10R SATA II connections and two JMicron SATA II connections are at a 90 degree angle as well as the single legacy IDE connector. This allows for the smoothest of cable management and eliminates any possible interference issues with the massive GPU's that are going to be used in conjunction with this motherboard.

The bottom edge of the board is littered with pin headers along with our LED readout. A number of the pin headers are for USB or firewire connections but the large bank in the very bottom right corner is where our ECP will connect expanding a number of the functions found in this area to an offsite location.

Along this bottom edge we also find two of the five total fan headers alongside the power and reset buttons. We also have a convenient CMOS clear button to round out the controls down here. The buttons appear on the motherboard for those that will not be running this motherboard in a traditional closed case. These features have been increasingly popular with enthusiast level motherboards and with the Classified being marketed as the ultimate enthusiast’s motherboard, they are obviously parts of the landscape. It is weird but when we get a motherboard that doesn't implement onboard power and reset buttons, it takes us a couple seconds to realize it and grab a screw driver to power a motherboard up as we have become so use to the luxury.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">We mentioned in the opening section of this page the unique layout of PCI-E 16X slots that the Classified offers. The implementation of the onboard NF200 chip provides the Classified with a unique amount of PCI-E 16X slots. Only the ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution boasts more. The layout of the slots is the key though. If shooting for a two card SLI setup, you can use the top most slot and the third slot down while keeping everything at 16X. This offers plenty of airflow for both cards and leaves the middle 16X slot open for a Raid controller or an expansion card of that nature. This setup would also leave the PCI slot open for use. At the same time, there is a 1X PCI-E slot right at the top of the pile primarily for PCI-E sound cards.

The layout also allows for triple SLI of dual slot cards using the top three PCI-E 16X slots while still not hanging a video card over the bottom edge. The ultimate configuration EVGA has been showing off, however, involves utilizing triple SLI in the top two and bottom 16X slots, with a single slot GPU in the third slot as a dedicated PhysX card. This configuration would still allow the use of a sound card in the top PCI-E 1X slot for the most comprehensive setup you have ever seen. We will explore the various setup options a little later on during the installation section.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">In a departure from the rather scarce DFI X58-T3eH8, the Classified has packed everything but the kitchen sink into the rear I/O panel. With 8 x USB 2.0 ports, 2 x gigabit NIC, 6-pin firewire, eSATA, Coaxial SPDIF output, Optical SPDIF output, PS/2 keyboard, 8-channel audio connections, and a clear CMOS button; there isn't much else EVGA could pack into this area. The motherboards backside is another highlight of discussion as EVGA has continued with the tradition of spring loaded screws holding all the heat sinks in place. The lack of any push pins is always a welcome site and the method in which EVGA implements the screws is as good as it gets. You can't really over tighten the screws creating warping issues but they still provide more than enough accurate pressure for solid mounts.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The last of our photos focus on the completely passive Classified heat sink assembly. We start off with a low profile heat sink that covers the Intel ICH10R south bridge and the NIVDIA NF200 chip. This heat sink is discretely connected to the large cooling fin mass sitting above the north bridge via a single heat pipe that angles up into the cooling fins to dissipate the heat from the south bridge. The north bridge is cooled via three heat pipes that also angle up into the exhaustive amount of cooling fins. This assembly, thankfully, is completely separate from the PWM cooling solution like the EVGA X58 3X SLI is.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">Because there is no connection between the two, the NB and VTT MOSFETs are cooled by a neat little heat sink tucked underneath the large north bridge heat sink. As mentioned, the PWM heat sink appears to be a beefed up design from its predecessor. We will be taking a closer look at the cooling and the components involved in the heat and acoustical testing section. This is where we will also focus on the cooling abilities of this passive design. A lot of the forum talk thus far regarding the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified revolved around NB/PWM temperatures and is something we want to investigate in depth.</p>
 
Last edited by a moderator:

3oh6

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
1,049
Location
Edmonton, AB
Hardware Installation

Hardware Installation

<p style="text-align: justify;">Another motherboard, another Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme (TRUE) fitting. Today we will get fancy and use the TRUE Copper Edition. It has the same dimensions as the TRUE or TRUE Black Edition but weighs a lot more. Let's start with the East/West orientation on the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The first order of business is to check if the heat sink hangs over the top edge in this orientation. Facing toward the front and rear of the case, it does, just slightly. This is about the same amount all motherboards have allowed with the TRUE mounted on them. The other item of note in this orientation is that the north bridge heat sink limits how far down the TRUE can sit on the CPU. If we look at the IHS in the second photo above, we can see the TRUE base hangs over the right side of the IHS a little bit more than the left. This won't affect performance but just goes to show how tight the fit is.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">Moving on to the available fan options, we have again chosen to show both 25mm and 37mm fans since there has been some positive feedback from people about including the fatter fans in the photos. The first three photos above show that a standard 120mm x 25mm fan fits nicely at both ends of the cooler on the Classified, even when using all six DIMM slots. At the PWM side, the heat sink is quite a bit shorter than the original X58 3X SLI heat sink and allows a fan to sit pretty much as low as the mounting screws would let it. On the DIMM side of the heat sink, the 25mm thick fans fit with modules in the first spot no problem, even with the new fan attachment clip being used. The 37mm thick fan, however, doesn't allow for the first memory slot to be used.

To recap, in the East/West orientation with six DIMM slots full, we can use either a 120mm x 25mm fan in the push or pull position. We can also use a 120mm x 37mm fan in the pull position but not push. Clearance on the PWM heat sink will allow for any 120mm fan on that side of the heat sink. EVGA did a good job upgrading the PWM heat sink from the original X58 3X SLI.

In the East/West orientation with only three DIMM slots being used, we can run 120mm x 37mm fans in either the push or pull spot without any issues.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">In the North/South orientation, we can see immediately that the first DIMM slot is being covered in the first photo. Like all other X58 motherboards we have looked at, the TRUE is just too wide to fit Dominator modules in this slot with a North/South Orientation. With regular height modules, however, there is no problem filling all six DIMM slots.

The second photo above shows that a 37mm thick fan sort of fits in the push position. The north bridge heat sink does limit how far down it can sit, even in this position it will work just fine, but I would like to see it a little lower. The last photo above shows a 120mm x 25mm fan pushing air through the TRUE and a 120mm x 37mm fan pulling from the top side. This setup works perfect so if you have space above the motherboard and a top exhaust fan, the North/South orientation with a regular 120mm x 25mm fan pushing will work nicely as it also adds some airflow over the north bridge heat sink.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">With video card setups now on the menu, we can see that a single GTX 295 fits very comfortably in the X58 3X SLI Classified. The extra width of the board manages to contain the entire length of the card like it was made to fit. With only a single card populating the top slot, we have all the available slots at our mercy including the single PCI slot and three other PCI-E 16X slots.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The ideal position for a second card when going for SLI, or in this case quad SLI with a pair of GTX 295s, is the third slot down for the second card. We still have access to the second PCI-E 16X slot for a raid card or video capture card, plus the single PCI slot is available as well. In addition to the available slots, both video cards will get ample airflow, and the bottom card does not exceed the bottom of the motherboard. The second photo above illustrates that the bottom video card does not overhang in this position. This is an important piece of information as a number of cases do not allow for any overhang at the bottom of the motherboard.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">For this last set of photos we had to borrow an ATI 3870X2 to illustrate a 3X SLI setup as we didn't have another dual slot NVIDIA card available at the time. As we can see, with 3X SLI, we lose all other access to expansion slots except for the 1X PCI-E slot above the top card. We can of course fit all three cards without having to overhang the bottom of the motherboard as described above. In the second photo we show the orientation of 3X SLI with the third PCI-E 16X slot open for either a dedicated PhysX card, or even a PCI-E raid card. This is the much acclaimed setup that EVGA has been pushing with the Classified as this motherboard is the only consumer motherboard on the market that can do this right now. Of course, the major drawback is the fact that the bottom card hangs over the edge of the motherboard as shown in the last photo.

Obviously your individual case will determine whether this plays a role or not, but no matter how you look at it, the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified really opens the doors to a multitude of PCI-E video card configurations. It offers the most favorable setup for two card SLI, like a couple other motherboards offer, as well as a favorable 3X SLI setup. In addition to having the two best setups for either two or three card SLI, it also offers the unique ability to run 3X SLI and still have a dedicated PhysX card. The benefits of a dedicated PhysX card won't be debated here, the point is, the Classified gives you the decision; unlike any other motherboard out there.</p>
 
Last edited by a moderator:

3oh6

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
1,049
Location
Edmonton, AB
BIOS Rundown

BIOS Rundown

<center>
</center>
<p style="text-align: justify;">For those familiar with the EVGA X58 3X SLI BIOS, the Classified will be very familiar to you. The Classified BIOS is essentially the same BIOS with a few small additions. Both boards seem to get their BIOS updated at the same time with the same changes which indicates that they aren't only similar in layout, but in fact, similar in design.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The Phoenix AwardBIOS comes equipped with a standard layout with the first screen we seen being the map for all of the other sections. The options available to us are identical to the original EVGA X58 motherboard and are pretty much the standard AwardBIOS options. The Standard CMOS Features section is home to the date and time as well as a rundown of storage connections to the system. The Advanced BIOS Features section alows us to set boot up options such as the boot order and whether or not to show the full screen logo we opened this section with.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">In the Integrated Peripherals section, we have access to pretty much every piece of integrated hardware. From the PATA/SATA drives to the other onboard accessories to the USB drives attached to the system. We can enable/disable any individual component that we choose. The Onboard Devices section even lets us enable or disable the top PCI-E 1X slot in addition to the other devices. We also have the P80 Show CPU Temp. option in this section which lets us feed the CPU temperature reading to the onboard POST code LED. This is where we would love to see the option to send the NB temperature to the LED instead of the useless off die CPU temperature. More on this shortly.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The Power Management Setup and PnP/PCI Configurations sections are dead ringers for the same sections in the EVGA X58 3X SLI BIOS.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The PC Health Status section provides us with all of our important voltage and temperature readings from the motherboard. We will get into how well the voltage readings from here correspond to actual voltage readings in the Voltage Regulation Section as there are a couple discrepancies. Here we can obviously see a NB Temperature reading, but when in Windows, we don't have access to this reading. The reason is that it shares the sending sensor with the CPU temperature reading just above it. We can't stress enough how much we would like to see the option to choose which of these two readings are provided to us in Windows so we can monitor NB temperatures.

We also have the same fan control options on the Classified as we did the original EVGA X58 motherboard. We have access to control three fans either by manually adjusting their fan speed or linking their fan speed to a temperature. What we don't know is what temperature reading the fan speeds are linked to. The CPU fan speed would likely be linked to the CPU temperature but we have no idea what the other two would be linked to.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The Frequency/Voltage Control section is again home to all of our overclocking options. Being familiar with the EVGA X58 3X SLI layout, controlling the Classified came second nature to us. We still really like the way the options are laid out in this BIOS and really wouldn't change a thing. We wanted to add that we would have liked to see target CPU frequency and target memory frequency information in the BIOS making it easier to adjust BCLK and memory ratios to know what you were selecting without a calculator, but EVGA just updated the BIOS of both boards to add these features. So now you can see what you are setting without having to calculate it yourself. The BIOS was literally updated days before posting this review so we weren't able to include the updated BIOS images.

The main page of this section gives us direct access to the primary ratios and clocks of the system. EVGA has done good to label everything exactly the way it should be labeled. There is no deciphering of terminology here as long as you are familiar with i7 overclocking.

In the Memory Feature section, we have our complete run down of memory timings that we can adjust. We had to use two images to show them all there are so many. EVGA has added a lot of the available X58 memory timing options here but on the whole, we have found the board to automatically select quite tight secondary timings and adjustment is rarely ever needed. When really pushing memory, there are times when coming in here and manually loosening things up in certain areas can help with clocks.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The Voltage Control section is the heart of the overclocking beast that the Classified is. The voltage options on this board provide us with everything we could possibly need without compromise. Whether you are benching under LN2 or simply setting up your everyday overclock with basic air cooling, the Classified BIOS has the voltage options for you. We really like the fact that the right column in the image above shows the options that are currently selected so you know already what is set. Here is a list of the entire voltage selection range for all of the options listed above.</p><center><table border="0" bgcolor="#666666" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="735px"><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="100"> </td><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="100"><b>Minimum</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="100"><b>Maximum</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="100"><b>Increment</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="335"><b>Notes</b></td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">CPU VCore</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">1.00000v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">2.24000v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.00625v (0.01v @ 1.600v)</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Very small increments throughout the normal usage range</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">CPU VTT Voltage</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">+0.0vV</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">+1.00V</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">+025mV</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Standard is 1.200v.</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">CPU PLL VCore</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.600v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">2.700v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.075v (0.015v @ 1.800v)</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Standard is 1.800v</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">IOH PLL VCore</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.600v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.1875v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.075v (0.015v @ 1.800v)</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Standard is 1.800v</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">QPI PLL VCore</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">1.100v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">1.875v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.025v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Standard is 1.100v</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">DIMM Voltage</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.700v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">3.390v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.010v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Standard is 1.500v</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">IOH VCore</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">1.100v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">1.875v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.025v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Standard is 1.100v</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">IOH/ICH I/O</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">1.500v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">2.275v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.025v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Standard is 1.500v</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">ICH VCore</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">1.050v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">1.825v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.025v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Standard is 1.050v</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">NF200 Voltage</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">1.200v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">2.700v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">0.025v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Standard is 1.200v</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">VTT PWM</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="300" colspan="3">250KHz / 370KHz / 490KHz / 610KHz</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Four selectable frequencies.</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">CPU PWM</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="300" colspan="3">800KHz / 940KHz / 1210KHz / 1333KHz</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Four selectable frequencies.</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">CPU Impedance</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="300" colspan="3">Auto / Less</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Two Selectable Options.</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="100">QPI Signal</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="300" colspan="3">Auto / Less / More</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="335">Three selectable options.</td></tr></table></center></p><p style="text-align: justify;">As mentioned, voltages won't be a problem regardless of your cooling, and the unique options found in this BIOS seem to really help in specific aspects. For instance, when running at sub-zero temperatures you might want to set the CPU Impedance to Less. When running for the ultra high BCLK's, you will want to set QPI Signal to Less as well as it may help there. Other general rules are that we could run CPU and IOH PLL's at 1.500v instead of the default 1.800v as they seemed more stable at those voltages. We also left NF200 at 1.200v the entire time we worked with this motherboard. Raising it never seemed to help anything, even at higher GTX 295 clocks.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The CPU Feature section is the last of the sub-sections in the Frequency/Voltage Control section. It just has the CPU Features that we can enable and disable such as Virtualization Technology and HT Technology. The very last image above shows that we also have eight slots available for saving BIOS settings. Like the X58 3X SLI, the slots aren't nameable but it is still nice to be able to save the entire BIOS settings in a number of different profiles for easy access to later. Just remember, any time you update the BIOS, do not use a profile that was saved on another BIOS.

So aside from the lack of ability to select whether we want CPU or NB temperatures in Windows and lack of naming the BIOS Profiles, the Classified has an extremely nice BIOS. Again, this is pretty much the second board we have used this BIOS layout with so our familiarity might influence how intuitively it comes to us, but we think the layout is great and the options are all one could ask for.</p>
 
Last edited by a moderator:

3oh6

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
1,049
Location
Edmonton, AB
Included Software

Included Software

<p style="text-align: justify;">If you read our EVGA X58 3X SLI review and spent some time in the software section, then this is going to look very similar. In fact, this section is going to be almost identical. Why you ask? Well, it is quite simple. The software that the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified ships with is identical in every way to the original EVGA X58 motherboard. The wallpaper section on the disk even has the EVGA X58 wallpapers and not updated Classified wallpapers. For those that aren't familiar with the software included in the EVGA X58 motherboards then continue reading, but those that are, simply skip ahead to the next section as there is nothing new here.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The main screen that comes up when we pop in the disk is very basic and straight forward, but with an esthetically pleasing design that we have appreciated from EVGA. There is nothing over the top about the design and the subtle use of graphics is just right. EVGA has also broken down the options in an easy to follow format. Everything is pretty self explanatory in the menu above and there are no sub-menus for anything but the Install Motherboard Drivers section so let's look at that next.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">This section is broken up into individual driver installation options. Once all drivers are installed, we are ready to fire up E-LEET for a quick look.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">For a while the E-LEET updates coming from EVGA were of the non-installation type but with the latest version, EVGA has gone back to an installer for E-LEET. Once installed, we can fire up E-LEET from the shortcut placed on the desktop. We will be looking at E-LEET with BIOS defaults loaded.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">There haven't been any fundamental changes to E-LEET in version 1.05.2 that we are looking at now when compared to 1.02.8 that we looked at back at the beginning of the year. The interface and functionality are the same and even back then there weren't many bugs. Naturally since then, some of the bugs that have shown up have been fixed and E-LEET has matured into a software staple for EVGA X58 users. The first two tabs are all but identical to CPU-Z tabs of the same name. E-LEET doesn't step outside of the CPU-Z mold until the third tab, the Monitoring section.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The Monitoring, Overclocking, and Voltage sections are what make E-LEET what it is. Think of CPU-Z on steroids, or CPU-Z combined with SetFSB, Everest, and voltage adjustment tools. Over the course of the past four months on both the original X58 3X SLI and the Classified, we have taken E-LEET for granted. It just always works. It's monitoring is a quick and easy way to have a look at what is going on with the system, and the built in overclocking and voltage adjustments have become an integral part of our overclocking on these boards. When benching at sub-zero temperatures E-LEET has allowed for all kinds of trickery by letting us change CPU multi's and voltages on the fly...not to mention BCLK. Without the services of E-LEET, some of the benchmark results we have achieved with these boards might not be possible.</p><center>
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">E-LEET has built in validation file submission as well as keyboard shortcut accessible profiles that can be saved and recalled with the press of a button. It really is unfortunate that E-LEET wasn't capable of running every motherboard we get, or that other software included with motherboards wasn't as clean and simple as E-LEET. We said it months ago and our opinion hasn't changed a bit, E-LEET is the premier motherboard software and the best we have seen to date.</p>
 
Last edited by a moderator:

3oh6

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
1,049
Location
Edmonton, AB
Test Setup & Methodologies

Test Setup & Methodologies


<center><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="735px"><tr><td align="left">
</td><td align="left">
</td><td align="right">
</td><td align="right">
</td></tr></table><br /><table border="0" bgcolor="#666666" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="735px"><tr><td colspan="4"><b><font color="#ffffff">Test Platform:</font></b></td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Motherboard:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Processor:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Processor Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme CU<br>2 x Scythe Ultra Kaze 120MM 2000RPM 87.6CFM (DFS123812L-2000)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>North Bridge Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Stock</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>South Bridge Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Stock</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>PWM Cooling:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Stock</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Memory:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Corsair Dominator-GT 3x2GB PC3-15000 7-8-7 (TR3X6G1866C7GTF)<br>Corsair Dominator 3x2GB PC3-12800 8-8-8 (TR3X6G1600C8D)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Power Supply:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Corsair HX1000W</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Video Card:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">EVGA GTX 295 (NVIDIA GeForce 182.08 WHQL)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Additional Fans:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Scythe Ultra Kaze 120MM 2000RPM 87.6CFM (DFS123812L-2000)</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>Hard Drives:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Seagate 7200.9 80GB SATAII 8MB cache</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="25%"><b>OS:</b></td><td align="left" bgcolor="#ececec" width="75%">Windows Vista x64 SP1 (with all updates)</td></tr></table></center><p style="text-align: justify;">For the memory stability testing we used multiple memory modules to see how the motherboard handled each. Our readers like to see as many memory kits tested on a motherboard as possible so we do all that we can to accommodate.

For the extreme benchmarking section we will utilize the services of dual GTX 295s. For all other benchmarks and testing, however, a single EVGA GTX 295 is used. All benchmarks and stability overclocking we will be utilizing the services of Windows Vista x64 SP1.</p>

Stability Overclocking Methodology

<p style="text-align: justify;">Since nothing has changed to our stability testing methodology from the DFI X58-T3eH8, we might as well cut and paste that description of our stability testing methodology since it sums it up quite well. Testing for true system stability is an arduous task and one that is hotly debated in open forums all the time. We have many years of experience watching these debates and have tried to put together a strong collection of stability tests to accommodate all schools of thought on the subject. Our stability testing methodology has also been a great success in finding a number of 24/7 overclocks on all kinds of systems. A lot of us here at HWC, myself included, use this same type of testing when setting up our own daily use machines and those that we setup for friends and family. This methodology is sound and shouldn't be taken lightly. We are definitely not like other sites that post a CPU-Z screen shot and then say the system passed all of our benchmarks. Our results should be considered a realistic sample of what one can expect from this motherboard for 24/7 operation.</p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/setup-5.jpg" alt="" border="0"></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Obviously we won't be able to test everything for a literal 24/7 overclock because of time restraints with a review, but our virtual recipe equates nicely to a 24/7 stable overclock. The following is a run-down of programs used for our stability testing. All overclocked results in the next section have passed this testing, with screen shots to outline settings used:</p><p style="text-align: justify;">As mentioned, this testing methodology legitimizes the overclocks we are about to look at. We have no ambition in posting fantastic overclocking results that aren't stable for anything other than a screen shot of CPU-Z. We want to present accurate results based on traditional overclocking methods. For more fantastic benchmarking results with exotic cooling methods, you will want to browse the Extreme Overclocking section where we see how the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified handles the enormous load of liquid nitrogen cooled i7 processor. Those results can be seen towards the end of the review.</p>

Benchmark Methodology

<p style="text-align: justify;">Unlike the last couple motherboard reviews, we have full access to the XMP profiles of the Corsair Dominator modules we have scheduled for testing.<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/method-1.png" alt="Just a sample graph outlining where the results will be coming from in the up-coming benchmarks" style="float: right; margin: 4px 0px 4px 7px"> The EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified motherboard came out of the box with working XMP profile support. This is a nice feature that we feel is very important as it allows average users to enjoy the benefits of performance modules without having to learn how to overclock their system. This simply means that our <b>stock</b> results will be actual "stock" results with no changes to in the BIOS being made aside from enabling the Corsair Dominator-GT modules to run at specification through the use of their XMP profiles.

The other two sets of results that we are going to be looking at will be designated by the grey and <b>red</b> bars in the graphs. Both of these results are from our 24/7 overclocking section with one small difference. With the grey set of results, we are going to going to be running our overall 24/7 stable overclock, but at the timings of 8-8-8-24-1T which are easily handled by our Corsair Dominator PC3-12800 modules. With the <b>red</b> results in the graph, we will be showing our results from the overclocking section with the timings shown there of 6-7-6-20-1T. Effectively, we have decided to use this review to look at the performance difference between 6-7-6 and 8-8-8 at nearly 900MHz or DDR3-1800. There is always a discussion on how much memory performance influences a systems performance, this review will simply add more data to that discussion. Here is a breakdown of the method in which the OS will be setup for each configuration:

  1. Windows Vista x64 w/SP1 is installed using a full format
  2. Intel Chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) are installed followed by a defragment and a reboot
  3. At time of benchmarks the latest drivers were downloaded from their official web sites as the latest drivers, most notable, NVIDIA GeForce Release 181.20 WHQL
  4. Programs and games are then installed followed by another defragment
  5. Windows updates are then completed installing all available updates followed by a defragment
  6. Benchmarks are each ran three times after a clean reboot for every iteration of the benchmark unless otherwise stated, the results are then averaged
</p>
 
Last edited by a moderator:

3oh6

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
1,049
Location
Edmonton, AB
Stability & Overclocking Results

Stability & Overclocking Results

<p style="text-align: justify;">We have talked a bit about the overclocking results as of late and how they don't really rely heavily on the motherboard with Intel i7 and the X58 chipset. The changes made to the processors and thus the chipsets, changes the balance of what limits a particular overclock. At one time when FSB was heavily dependent on the motherboard, the base clock (BCLK) of the X58 chipset seems to rely more and more on the CPU used than the motherboard in question. At around 220BCLK, most - if not all - motherboards tend to run out of gas for 24/7 stability. The processor we have used seems to not like much over 200BCLK when cooled by air.</p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/setup-6.jpg" alt="" border="0"></center><p style="text-align: justify;">We have had this particular processor on a number of motherboards and all of them have been limited to just over 200BCLK with normal air cooling for 24/7 stability. We have also found that memory overclocks are being limited by this chip as well for 24/7 clocks, which is likely more a result from the uncore frequency needed to run high memory clocks than anything else. It is these reasons that this overclocking section isn't so much about how far we can push a motherboard, as it is a question of whether the motherboard in question is up to the standard of the others. We of course will also see if the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified manages to miraculously break some of the limits we had found on previous motherboards with this processor.</p>

Corsair Dominator 3x2GB PC3-12800 8-8-8 (TR3X6G1600C8D) XMP Stability Testing

Click for full size...
<center><a href="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/ocing-1.png" target="_blank"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/small/ocing-1.png" alt="Maximum Memory Stability Testing" border="0"></a></center><p style="text-align: justify;">As always, we start with some of the more basic testing which involves the XMP profile testing of a pair of Corsair memory kits. Up first is the extremely popular Corsair Dominator 3x2GB PC3-12800 8-8-8 kit. This kit seems to be the talk of a number of forums as the standard kit of memory for any motherboard. That streak definitely continues in our testing as the modules had no problem running their XMP profile on the Classified. It is nice to see XMP profiles not only implemented on the Classified from EVGA, but also working 100% with a staple in a number of i7 builds.</p>

Corsair Dominator-GT 3x2GB PC3-15000 7-8-7 (TR3X6G1866C7GTF) XMP Stability Testing

Click for full size...
<center><a href="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/ocing-2.png" target="_blank"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/small/ocing-2.png" alt="Maximum Memory Stability Testing" border="0"></a></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Moving up the performance ladder, we step into the upper echelon of memory kits with the blistering fast Corsair Dominator-GT 3x2GB PC3-15000 7-8-7 kit. Like its darth vadored nephew, the Dominator-GT's ran as smooth as silk on their XMP profile. Having the ability to simply go into the BIOS and adjust a single setting - choosing XMP profile - and being able to be up and running at DDR3-1866 with timings of 7-8-7 is an absolute treat. Manually setting up memory to run at these settings takes some knowledge and effort. The Classified, and Corsairs solid XMP profile, handled the task quite easily. It really was nice being able to report smooth sailing with this combination as we were a bit apprehensive with this high performance memory going into testing.</p>

Base Clock/QPI Stability Overclocking Part 1

Click for full size...
<center><a href="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/ocing-3.png" target="_blank"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/small/ocing-3.png" alt="Maximum BCLK/QPI Overclocking" border="0"></a></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Step one for the QPI/BCLK stability testing was to ensure that we could run 200BCLK with low memory frequency. We decided to give an uncore frequency of 4GHz a run at these memory clocks and as easily as any motherboard we have tested, we zipped through our stability testing with ease. We are able to run this with all voltages at their lowest selectable in the BIOS, aside from vDIMM, vTT, and vCORE which needed to be adjusted appropriately for each component. Like the first X58 3X SLI and the DFI X58-T3eH8 before it, the Classified got up to 200 BCLK with this processor with next to no effort...going over proved near impossible though.

We were really hoping for some miracle that the Classified could pull out of its hat and turn this CPU into a higher BCLK'ing one but it just wasn't meant to be. So with that bubble burst, we wanted to see if it could handle this high of a BCLK with high memory frequency and tight timings. Our Dominator-GT's were up for it, but was the Classified?</p>

Base Clock/QPI Stability Overclocking Part 2

Click for full size...<center><a href="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/ocing-4.png" target="_blank"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/small/ocing-4.png" alt="Maximum BCLK/QPI Overclocking" border="0"></a></center><p style="text-align: justify;">The answer was a resounding yes. In fact, the Classified needed absolutely no adjustments going from DDR3-1600 to DDR3-2000. All voltages remained the same, we simply changed the memory ratio and the timings. Again, going much higher with memory obviously was an option at this BCLK, and we did attempt to clock this kit higher with the 2:12 ratio but it ran out of gas right around 1005~1010MHz @ 7-8-7, much like it has on all other motherboards. With more volts it might be stable higher but for 24/7 clocking we don't really want to go much higher with vDIMM.

The last step is to bring it all together for our overall overclock.</p>

Overall Stability Overclocking

Click for full size...<center><a href="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/ocing-5.png" target="_blank"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/small/ocing-5.png" alt="Maximum Overall Stability Overclocking" border="0"></a></center><p style="text-align: justify;">This is where things got interesting, and the Classified started to show us where it was superior to all others. When we started overclocking the CPU to find its maximum frequency, we were quite surprised to find the climb over 4GHz to come rather easily. In fact, we pushed this 965 up to 4.1GHz without too much trouble, which we haven't done on any other motherboard. This is the first time we have gotten the CPU stable over 4GHz on any motherboard and we were only held back by temperatures being on air. The ability to run higher volts and still stay stable is a testament to what kind of PWM power center this Classified is home to. Our obsession with tight 6-7-6 timings shows up again as we opted for a combination of BCLK and CPU multiplier that has us near the 900MHz mark again with memory.

With a marked improvement in CPU overclocking, we are really excited to see the Extreme Overclocking section where we feel other boards just haven't been able to supply the stable power needed to get any more out of this CPU. If we see any kind of gains from this motherboard when benching under liquid nitrogen, there will be some fun benchmark results to look at.</p>
 
Last edited by a moderator:

3oh6

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
1,049
Location
Edmonton, AB
Memory Benchmarks

Memory Benchmarks



Everest Ultimate v4.50<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Everest Ultimate is the most useful tool for any and all bench markers or overclockers. With the ability to read most voltage, temperature, and fan sensors on almost every motherboard available, Everest provides the ability to customize the outputs in a number of forms for display on your desktop. In addition to this, the memory benchmarking provides a useful tool of measuring the changes to your memory sub-system when tweaking to measure the differences.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/mem_bench-1.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">We have quite the cross reference of data being presented here in the benchmarks today. At the top in blue is our bone stock setup combined with high end DDR3-1866 memory and tight timings. Then in the middle are our grey bars that represent a hefty overclock on the CPU, combined with decent memory frequency, but comparatively pedestrian memory timings. On the bottom in red we have the same hefty CPU overclock combined with very tight timings and rather substantial frequency for said timings. The Everest memory numbers are a bit of a mixed bag because of this odd combination of results. We aren't really going to determine much about the Classified motherboard looking at these results, but we do get an interesting look at how CPU frequency and memory timings can effect memory bandwidth in Everest Ultimate.</p>

<center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/mem_bench-2.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">The latency results are a little more standardized with the ultra tight 6-7-6 timings showing a decided advantage. It is interesting to see the rather close race between the stock setup and the middle overclock. CPU frequency is evidentially not that large a factor in Everest latency measurements.</p>

SiSoft Sandra 2009.SP2<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>SiSoft Sandra is a popular and well used benchmark in the industry but not really a friend of serious benchmarkers. The results SiSoft Sandra produces have been suspect at times basing the numbers it comes up with on system specs and not actual testing. The latest version of Sandra seems to be one of the few programs that appear to calculate memory bandwidth consistently so we decided to include it in today’s benchmarks. Like we have always said with SiSoft Sandra though, take these results for what they are and nothing more.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/mem_bench-3.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">SiSoft Sandra paints a completely different picture when talking about memory bandwidth with these setups. Sandra has the stock setup pulling slightly ahead in the bandwidth department which indicates that Sandra does not factor in CPU frequency at all, and memory timings seemingly play a small role as well. It appears that memory frequency is the end all say all for Sandra. This is the primary reason for having to take memory bandwidth benchmarks with a grain of salt. Each seems to have different factors in their results, and even with the large discrepancies in timings and CPU clocks, all three setups are very similar in some tests.</p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/mem_bench-4.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Despite the bandwidth numbers from Sandra not matching up, the pattern in latency results is virtually identical to Everest latency. This would show a strong sign that both programs take memory timings into factor in this benchmark and indicate that our 6-7-6 setup is really ahead of the crowd when it comes to memory latency.</p>

ScienceMark v2<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>ScienceMark is an almost ancient benchmark utility at this point in time and hasn't seen an update in a long time. It is, however, still a favorite for accurately calculating bandwidth on even the newest chipsets.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/evga/x58sliclassified/mem_bench-5.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">We like to think of ScienceMark as that old uncle who only shows up to obscure family gatherings. He may not be around all of the time, but when he does, he straightens out the young kids and tells it like it is. No fluff, not political correctness, just straight forward facts. With memory bandwidth, I like to rely on ScienceMark primarily for testing to see what is working and what isn't when testing the memory sub-system for 32M SuperPi benchmarking. It never steers me wrong and the numbers seem the most consistent of any bandwidth benchmark.</p>
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Latest posts

Twitter

Top