Intel often releases a motherboard or two
along with its new socket architectures and it was no different this time round with the launch of LGA2011.
At first glance, the DX79SI, appears to be just another token Intel motherboard, soon to be thrashed by the likes of Asus and MSI with their offerings battering it into a bloody pulp when it comes to features and overclocking.
However, the DX79SI has a noticeably busy PCB that includes many of the features you’d expect on more enthusiast-orientated motherboards. There are power and reset buttons, a POST code readout display, edge-mounted power connectors and right-angled SATA ports, and the board doesn’t look bad either.
The blue anodised heatsinks look great, and there’s the usual skull logo on the Southbridge heatsink too. It has dual Intel Gigabit LAN ports as well – this is a definite plus point, as they offer superior network performance over those provided by Marvell or Broadcom.
There are enough USB ports to please everyone too; a total of 14 USB 2 ports – six on the I/O panel and a further eight provided by four USB headers on the motherboard. USB 3 is also catered for, with two ports on the I/O panel and a single header on the motherboard, bringing the total to five ports.
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Elsewhere, the specs for the DX79SI tail off a little; there are only four fan headers (although they’re at least spread evenly over the motherboard), only two SATA 6Gbps ports and no eSATA.
Unlike all the other LGA2011 motherboards we've tested, the DX79SI also has no additional SATA 6Gbps controller – the SATA 6Gbps ports are provided by the Intel X79 Southbridge. There are six SATA ports in total, with four more SATA 3Gbps ports, also provided by the Southbridge.
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The sample we received was so new that it didn’t include many extras in the box either – a skull-themed mouse mat and SLI bridge connector were the only inclusions. Intel assured us that the retail product will be equipped with a Bluetooth and WiFi module and thermal probe, but there’s no mention of the usual additions such as SATA cables and the typical niceties you expect with a new motherboard.
Back to the board itself, and the DX79SI doesn’t lose any marks for layout – most of the useful parts such as the power and reset switches, CMOS jumper and numerous USB headers are all located within easy reach at the very edge of the PCB.