EVGA X79 FTW Motherboard Review

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EVGA has been a player in the motherboard game for quite some time now. With Intel’s release of the Sandy Bridge-E CPU’s came with it another chipset, Patsburg (X79). They have again brought to the table its usual lineup for this platform, the SLI (E775), FTW (E777), and the Classified (E779). Today we will look at the formidable FTW and see how it stacks up in the crowded X79 motherboard landscape.

Packaging and First Look

The first thing you would see on the store shelves when looking for this board would be this retail packaging. Like all retail packaging, EVGA notes some major features on the front such as USB3, SATA3/6GB, and PCIe3.0 ready. Flipping the box over shows a picture of the board, as well as some other key features and warranty information. The box is a bit larger than some lesser models as the there are many accessories included as well as the board having its own space below the accessories box.  Opening up the box, you can see the accessories mentioned above having its own box as a partition separating itself from the board for safe keeping.

Retail Packaging - Front

Retail Packaging - Front

Retail Packaging - Rear

Retail Packaging - Rear

Box in a box

Box in a box

Accessories tray, motherboard below

Accessories tray box

Motherboard in the box

Motherboard in the box

Below are the accessories, manuals, and driver disk that came with the board. As is typical with most boards, you see a compliment of SLI Connectors (from single flexi to triple rigid), front panel USB3, rear panel USB2/eSATA, SATA cables, and the I/O plate. Blue-tooth connectivity is surprisingly, and pleasant I may add, not handled by a small 1x PCIe card, but a small unit on the rear I/O above the USB2 ports.

Accessories (1)

Accessories

Accessories (2)

Manual, driver disk, quick instructions

 

Tour de Board

My first impression on seeing this board on the web was wow.. thank God they did not move from their black or black/red theme on the motherboards. Below, in my opinion, is one of the better looking boards on the market with its true black PCB, large black PWM heatsink,  four black DIMM slots and a large flat black cooler for the PCH area and former Northbridge area which lights up the EVGA symbol with a red, slowly pulsing glow.

You can see from the alternate angle this board is equipped with some features expected from a board with a rich overclocking history such as power on/off buttons, reset CMOS button, and voltage read points. You may be able to see the switches for the PCIe lanes to enable/disable to aid in troubleshooting.

Board - Front

Board - Front

Board - Rear

Board - Rear

Board - Alternate angle

Board - Alternate angle

A couple of pretty cool features usually reserved for such high-end boards are onboard switches to help enable or disable PCIe slots (the five DIP switches on the left side). The EVGA FTW has provided those as well as something I have never seen before, switches to disable the DIMM slots. They state this is to ease troubleshooting the memory as you would not have to remove the DIMMs to do so. This would be especially helpful if the ram was under extreme cooling, and just plain old convenient otherwise.

Also pictured below and slightly to the right of the PCIe switches is a mysterious ‘Command Center Port’ which will be ‘…available for power users later’. I’m not sure what exactly this will bring considering EVGA already has the Evbot, but I’m really curious!

A very quick mention since its pictured clearly here is the 24-pin power connector for the board and its orientation. Yeah, EVGA flipped it 90 degrees so you do not have to torque on that garden hosed size power lead coming from your PSU. This should help a bit with cable management for those putting this board inside a case.

Another typical feature for most high(er) end boards are the power/reset/cmos switches which imply use on open benching stations so as not to ‘short out’ the front panel connections for power and reset. The power button glows a nice red when powered on, and the reset button actually doubles as a HDD activity light. I find that addition to be huge when wondering the the PC is even thinking about doing anything when taking a while to boot.

The voltage read points show the typical Vcore, Vtt, VccSA, PLL (right), and has separate read points for the DIMM’s (bottom right) since they are essentially setup as two units.

 

DIP switches from PCIe lanes and DIMM slots (another for the DIMMs not pictured here)

DIP switches from PCIe lanes and DIMM slots (another for the DIMMs not pictured here)

Power/Reset/CMOS buttons and voltage read points

Power/Reset/CMOS buttons and voltage read points

 

So lets strip this board down of all the heatsinks and show whats going on under the hood. Notice the large row of VRM’s just north of the CPU? That screams potential to me. And knowing this platform, it also screams that it needs cooled when overclocking heavily. Good thing the heatsink in that area is pretty large.

Notice the two 8-pin CPU power plugs? Something has to give that row of VRM’s power! How about the (typical) gratuitous use of Thermal Interface Material (TIM) on the PCH chip? Ok that may sound a bit negative in a sea of positives, but figured it was worth a mention.

Full frontal nudity

Full frontal

First we can take a closer look at the power delivery area sitting just above the CPU (and below the board). I don’t think this board will have any trouble feeding Sandy Bridge – E (SNB-E) all the juice it needs with its 12+2 configuration. Again, remember the two 8-pin CPU power plugs to the North and Northwest of the CPU (only one pictured below). I saw a post on a different forum from TiN stating that one can be left unpopulated until around 5.2Ghz+/1.6v, then both plugs should be used. My favorite descriptor comes in to play here in regard to the power delivery section, robust. As with most X79 boards, active cooling should be used when overclocking to aid in system stability and pushing to the limit.

PWM area exposed

PWM area exposed

Moving on down the board to the exposed PCH area, you can see again the TIM application from the factory was pretty liberal. The heatsink only appears to make contact with the PCH chip only. Second is the chip all cleaned up, and close up. The last picture for this section shows the heatsinks. No fancy guns, no heatpipes, just a heatsink. I do like the passive PCH heatsink which keeps the noise down versus active cooling solutions.

 

PCH area exposed

PCH area exposed

PCH chip all cleaned up

PCH chip all cleaned up

Heatsink base

Heatsink base

 

Pictured below are controllers for the USB (Asmedia, USB3) and controller hub (VLI – 4 ports each), as well as the Marvell controller (SATA). There are two of the Chil power controller chips, one for each set of DIMMs, which is the reason you will see in the bios two separate voltages for the DIMMs.

VLI controller (USB hub), Marvell Controller (SATA), Chil chip (digital power)

VLI controller (USB hub), Marvell Controller (SATA), Chil chip (digital power)

Taking a look at the rear I/O area of the board, starting from left to right, is the blue tooth adapter, 2 USB2 ports, CMOS reset switch, Evbot port, PS/2 port, 2 eSATA ports, 2 1GB NICs, the sound area with an optical out, and a total of 8 USB3 ports spread across the panel. About the only thing missing here is the kitchen sink.

You can see the 6 SATA ports available (2 SATA3 6/GB, 4 SATA2 3/GB) in the second shot. 2 Intel and 4 from Marvell.

Rear I/O area

Rear I/O area

SATA Ports

SATA Ports

 

Specifications and Features

Listed below are the high level specifications for the EVGA FTW.

(Specifications and Key features information is from the EVGA.com website for this board)

EVGA X79 FTW Specifications & Features
Performance Based on Intel X79 chipset
Supports Intel Socket 2011 Processors
Memory 4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
Quad Channel DDR3
Maximum of 32GB of DDR3 2133MHz+
Expansion Slot 5 x PCIe x16/x8, 1 x PCIe x1
Storage I/O 0 x UltraDMA133
6 x Serial ATA 300MB/sec (4x Internal + 2x E-SATA) with support for RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5, RAID10 and JBOD
2 x Serial ATA 600MB/sec (2x Internal) with support for RAID 0 and RAID1
Integrated Peripherals 8 Channel High Definition
2 x 10/100/1000
Multi I/O 1 x PS2 Keyboard
10 x USB2.0 ports (2 external + 8 internal headers)
10 x USB3.0 ports (8 external + 2 internal headers)
Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)
FireWire 1394B (1 external)
Form Factor EATX Form Factor
12 x 10.375 in (304.8 x 263.5 mm)
Product Warranty This product comes with a 3 year limited warranty. Registration is recommended.
Key Features Intel X79 Express Chipset

4 DIMM Quad-Channel DDR3 2133MHz+ (up to 32GB)
8 Channel High Definition Audio + Optical
100% POSCAP Capacitors
12+2 Phase PWM
PCI Express 3.0 Ready
E-LEET Software Support
EVGA EVBot Support
Triple BIOS Support
EZ Voltage Read Points
Onboard CPU Temp Monitor
CLEAR CMOS, Power and Reset
Dual 8 Pin CPU Power
PCIE/DIMM Disable Switches

BIOS

I was excited to hear that EVGA has gone to a UEFI BIOS on X79. I was expecting, like its high-end competition, to have a really nice GUI on it. I have to admit however,  I was a bit disappointed. No fancy pictures, or colors, just plain old black and white with yellow being the highlighted or selected color. Maybe with Z77 we will see it all dolled up, who knows. This does not take away from its functionality of course, and some may even prefer this appearance over the prettied up GUI’s. Maneuvering around the bios was quite easy and unlike other boards with the fancy interface, there was no delay in trying to manually type in numbers.

Basic UEFI interface aside, the latest bios (32) has turned in to a pretty solid one after the few previous ones for my setup had some (significant) issues in my testing. Memory timings wouldn’t save or save incorrectly, overclocking past 4.5Ghz or so was more difficult to find stable and tend to require more voltage than other boards. But with the newer releases (30 and up), most of those issues have been resolved. The only problem I am having now is with a specific set of memory, so I am chalking that up to incompatibility, and hopefully another bios release will let these 2133Mhz sticks work in that board. But the quad channel DDR3 1600Mhz kit now works like a champ in this board.

Another great feature on this board is the ability for it to hold/use three Bios’. You can corrupt two of them and still have an extra to flash them both back. This is accomplished by a switch on the bottom right hand side of the board. In order to flash the alternate bios’ one would boot to a functional bios, then flip the switch to the bios you want to flash, and flash away. The method I used was in windows and it worked flawlessly every time… and trust me I flashed A LOT. The earlier bios’ that came with this board had a terrible debug 67 code lock when pushing the memory or even high overclocks. It was such a hard lock in fact that you either, A- had to remove sticks of memory and then flash the CMOS, or B- reflash the bios itself. Thankfully EVGA has been diligently working on their bios’ and the latest release, 32, has improved things dramatically from the version that came with the board.

Look at the actual bios below, you can see its not quite as pretty as the other UEFI bios available from others. That doesn’t at all take away from its effectiveness however. Some people prefer the new look others, like their trusty blue, or in this case, black and white bios. The Overview shows high level statuses of CPU speeds, voltages, and temperatures, and some fan speeds (not pictured). Moving over to the left on the top menu bar to Advanced, you can see the options to change ACPI settings, Onboard devices such as NIC, Audio, USB3 ports, firewire port, to enable or disable these features. Digging deeper in this section to the H/W monitor area, it shows CPU/Vreg/System temps as well as all the fan header speeds/settings.

Bios - Overview

Bios - Overview

Bios - Advanced

Bios - Advanced

Bios - Advanced - Onboard Devices Configuration

Bios - Advanced - Onboard Devices Configuration

Bios - Advanced - H/W Monitor

Bios - Advanced - H/W Monitor

Continuing to slide to the right, we have the Chipset option. Underneath this you can control IOH configs, QPI config, ME subsytem as well as enabling/disabling the CPU temperature monitor. If this is disabled, the debug LED will not show the temperature, but that FF post code. I prefer to leave it on the temperature setting.

Bios - Chipset

Bios - Chipset

Now the part I’m sure everyone web wheeled down to, the Overclocking section (upper left below). In this area is where you control all of the overclocking functions on the board. In the main screen you see options to change Memory configuration, CPU configuration, Bclk configuration, as well as being able to change all the major voltages.

Drilling down in the Memory configuration (top right below) it has options for all the major timings, several sub-timings, and (not pictured) are things I have never seen before in memory. Remember that X79 supports XMP1.3 profiles and is generally what will work best on this platform are XMP1.3 enabled sticks.

In the CPU Advanced features area (bottom left) is where you enable/disable hyperthreading and cores among other items. Inside this menu is the CPU Power Management Configuration section (bottom right). Once inside this you can see the power saving features, turbo mode, and manual adjustment of each core for turbo. Turbo MUST be enabled here to overclock.

Bios - Overclocking (main)

Bios - Overclocking (main)

Bios - Overclocking - Memory

Bios - Overclocking - Memory

Bios - Overclocking - CPU Advanced Features

Bios - Overclocking - CPU Advanced Features

Bios - Overclocking - CPU Adv Feat - CPU Power Management

Bios - Overclocking - CPU Adv Feat - CPU Power Management

Last up are the Boot and Security headers. Not too much to say here as all the options one needs to switch/override boot priority are available and quite frankly, I never use any board security functions, but they are there if needed.

Bios - Boot

Bios - Boot

Bios - Security

Bios - Security

One thing that you may notice is missing in all of this is the power limits that most boards have. These features were available in older bios, but with newer releases they are gone. I’m not sure if there is no limit, or just a high enough one that users do not have to worry about it. I’m actually thankful these are gone as the way they were worded was incredibly confusing to me. It said something like “1/8” watt power limit… I was never sure if it was 1/8 the value you entered or not, but its gone now, so no worries there. It was a peculiar naming convention, that is for sure. One other item to note in this bios which isnt a big deal but certainly a departure from the norm is the F4 to save and exit the bios. I don’t know about you guys, but F10 is save and exit. Of course, its not a big deal, but something worth mentioning.

 

Overclocking Software

EVGA has their own product aptly named ELeet. This tool has been around since at least the P55 days and hasn’t really changed much since then. Recently they have added a splash screen upon start up, as well as supporting the new chipset of course. I had a bit of trouble using the utility with a couple of bios, but with recent releases, that has since gone away and is a great utility to make adjustments from within windows.

You see the familiar CPUz front end (and there is a back-end submission for validation button on the Options tab) and memory tabs. Eleet goes a step further here with a monitoring tab showing all the most important voltages and as well as temperatures including the voltage regulators and fan speeds.

As with any software, sometimes the voltages are not so accurate, so if possible, use a Digital Multi Meter at the voltage read points on the motherboard to get the most accurate number.  Surprisingly however, outside of Vcore, it was accurate within .02v. The Vcore was almost .05v volts off on the low side (load) of the software reading.

Eleet 1.09.9 - CPU tab

Eleet 1.09.9 - CPU tab

Memory

Memory

Monitoring

Monitoring

For windows based overclocking, your basics are covered with BCLK, and multipliers. Moving on to the voltage side of the house you can see everything needed is available including VccIO, VccSA, DIMMs/DQ VRef, and of course Vcore.

Overclocking

Overclocking

Voltages

Voltages

With the latest version, they added on a splash screen so at least you know its thinking about starting when you are pushing the limits. Prior to that, due to the applications load time (around 5-10 seconds), I found myself wondering for a few seconds if it froze, or if I even double clicked it properly. That said the application does its job.

Overclocking

Test Setup

Evga FTW on the bench

EVGA FTW on the bench

Well, after some better bios’s were released I found getting up to what appears to be the CPU’s ambient limit of 4.8ghz was pretty easy. It of course helps that I have a bit more experience under my belt and knowledge of the chip, but that shouldn’t take away from this board actually benchmarking just the same at this speed. In the UD7 review I completed, the voltages used were a bit higher for these tests as well, especially in the multi-threaded benchmarks. Again one could say this is a function of knowing the CPU better, and that has a bit to do with it, however I dropped the CPU back in the other board and found very similar, higher voltages required for for the same clockspeed.

As was noted earlier I am still having trouble with the memory I have (GSkill RipjawsX 2133 CL7) even posting past 1600Mhz, but other, quad channel kits are having no issue with its stock speed of 1600Mhz, and overclocking those to 1866Mhz. So again, looks like its a memory compatibility issue with those specific sticks as others work past 1600Mhz.

As you can see from the overclock results below, I was able to knock out 4.8Ghz with all the CPU based benchmarks below. This compares, with both clockspeed and results, with the other boards I tested. At the time of publishing, I was not able to take it cold yet to see if it could beat my 5.3Ghz I achieved…I will update in the comments section once that is done. I have no worries this board will take it there, and possibly further so long as the power limits that were removed are set high enough or taken out all together in the background.

Pifast - 15.46

Pifast - 15.46

Wprime- 32M - 3.613, 1024M - 107.766

Wprime- 32M - 3.613, 1024M - 107.766

Super Pi 1M - 7.840

Super Pi 1M - 7.840

SuperPi 32M - 7:23.228

SuperPi 32M - 7:23.228

 

Conclusion

I have to admit I’m personally a bit soured on the entire X79 platform at this point in time. There really wasn’t one board in my hands that worked perfectly out of the box. I was having overclocking issues, or memory issues, or both for that matter. Though I’m well aware these are natural growing pains with new platforms, its still frustrating to deal with. As time went on for each of these boards, things did improve and I wouldn’t stray from the platform if I needed, ok wanted, all this horsepower. My experience with the EVGA X79 FTW was no different, but admittedly better than some boards. I can say the support efforts to get the bugs out has been top notch. So when you go out and purchase this board, be sure to go to EVGA’s website and download the latest bios.

With that being said, the latest couple of bios releases really helped knock out some of the issues I and others had with this board as far as memory overclocking/compatibility and overclocking in general. As time goes on and more bios’s are released, things should continue to improve for the board and platform in general.

Negative points aside, you have, per usual from EVGA in my opinion, are very sharp looking boards with its true black PCB, red PCIe slots, and overall appearance. Being able to troubleshoot both your GPUs and DIMMs via DIP switches on the board make doing so while extreme overclocking much easier as you do not have to swap out the parts to see which one went bad. The FTW has what overclockers need to get the job done. The FTW has what extreme overclockers need to get the job done. This board can simply get the job done for those wanting to spend the money ($389.99 + SH @ newegg.com) to jump up to the monster X79 platform.

 

 

~Earthdog

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Discussion
  1. You should read more reviews here and also check the definitions of approved, meh, and fail to get a better handle on why we rate things the way we do. But I would say the vast majority of products are approved.

    Nothing wrong with bumping the thread its the content that already had hte answers you seek or perhaps that were painfully obvious in responses already listed that was perplexing

    You never directly call us shills but a couple of posts and an inquiry in chat I shot down certainly make me(and others) feel this way (in reference to recommending the z77 extreme4). Since the answers were in front of u here, I could only come to one conclusion. My apologies if I was off in this case.

    I along didn't state x79 boards were trash. Not remotely did I allude to that. I am dissapointed that the boards I reviewed had (correctable) issues out of the box. In fact the only board that worked well out of the box was ASRock x79 extreme 4-m. I suggest you reread the first paragraph in the conclusion again. ;)
    Fair enough, you made your point, and now I can see how Horsehead's response did get under your skin, and rightly so considering how he stuctured his post. Perhaps he would have been better to use the FYI as you stated instead of his other words. By him saying it wasn't an honest review, that was a poor choice of words and blatant attack, but it should be noted that I do NOT share Horsehead's feelings on this review, and my comments on it are my own. I know you didn't lie and you know you didn't lie, as well as many others know who responded. On a sidenote, I can't think of one review I've ever read here (or much anywhere) which sheds light on a negative outcome, as most all reviews are optimistically focused, yet may distinguish some negative factors, but those are usually very few.

    I did state that I do support the fact you showed an UNBIASED review, even though I don't agree with your conclusion to infer all X79 boards are trash by saying you're "disappointed with them". I also didn't bump this thread, as it was already bumped by someone else and just happened to notice it. When old threads are bumped, I don't see the harm in responding to them,(or is that prohibited as well?) and in no means did I ever call anyone here a shill, so please don't put words in my mouth I have NOT said. You're the only one who keeps bringing that term back up, not me.

    The getting paid remark by Horsehead was a question, followed by what HE thought was the reason, hence the "?" marks, or maybe I'm wrong for seeing it for what it is.

    I'm only responding here (again) because you asked me questions in your response to my response, but won't dare to bump this thread again. Let's "Let sleeping dogs ly":)
    FTW = For The Win

    ...and this thread is 8 months old as you noted, but you are bringing that point up AGAIN? Did Hokie's (and my) post(s) not already show you the reasons? Let me break down your post and answer this stuff though.....:bang head

    Getting paid for writing a review clearly isnt the issue here, its getting paid to give the review a positive outcome which is what I(and Hokie) took exception to.

    Is that what it is though? Is that the best way to get your point across the first time you post? Is stating the review sucks which COMPLETELY disregards my experience with the board? Would you think a 'hey, just an FYI, I saw this review and wanted to share my different experience. I had problems with the USB ports dropping, and...................just wanted to let the site know'. Dont you think that would have been received better and noted as opposed to what actually happened here? Let's look at his post in detail and see how his post was structured....and then look at the other guy's reply that had an issue. I have to imagine you can see a difference there, especially in the responses towards the bad experiences.

    This is a blatant attack on the credibly of me as a reviewer and this site as a whole. I mean, his first line states this isn't an honest review. That means I lied about my findings...I lied in my review. Does it get any worse???????

    He also goes on to state, with terrible grammar no less, that we are paid to give positive outcomes. This is also false. He also tears apart my conclusion to which you, PoleP, appear to support it as it supports what the body states/my findings.

    I guess I'm just left wondering something. WHY this would be brought up AGAIN, when there are clear answers to what you asked already in the thread? Why are you dredging up and beating on this long time dead thread when the answers are already on the page? This is no the first, second, or third time you have inferred that our reviewers are shills either...

    EDIT: Heh, thanks BobN, thats what I get for not refreshing before I post!
    FTW = For The Win.

    Making offensive accusations generally generates offense, strange as it may seem.

    The accusation that a reviewer is being positive because they were paid is pretty much the worst possible insult. I can't think of a worse one right now anyway.

    While groundless accusations may not annoy you, the vast majority of the world does not appreciate them at all. Legal system included!

    The method used to criticize a review, or anything, is extremely important. There's a line between genuine constructive criticism and just being a Bad Person, he who cannot find that line should not try to leave constructive criticism.

    Getting paid to write a review is a very different accusation from being paid to write a good review. Similarly being paid by a newspaper to write a review is very different than being paid by a manufacturer to write a review.

    Lastly, I see no reason to revive drama that was put to rest eight months ago. Not helpful, that.

    As to the question of whether issues have been fixed, time is far from the best way to guess at that.
    Boulard83
    Hope the board comes in and work out of the box, seems to have few people that had issue with this board.


    Considering this review was done in 2/12 and now its 10/12, I would tend to think any previous issues were resolved by now.

    Does FTW mean "For The Web"? Meaning it was designed and built for web surfing but not so much other applications or benching? This is probably a dumb question but still I'm curious to know what is the meaning.

    Also, I don't see why its such a big deal when somebody like Horsehead suggest a reviewer might have been paid. Surely people who work for newspapers, magazines, and perhaps some technical sites such as Tom's Hardware or Hardware Secrets get paid to write columns, news articles, and reviews. It is possible that some of them may be biased toward some things yet write articles which do not reflect their personal opinions, as their jobs could be in jeopardy for such behavior when certain facts are not true. A reader can sometimes tell when the writer is favorable or passionate about what they are writing, particulary when the reader has studied courses in creative writing. Clearly, this review had both positive and negative points which is a fair assessment in any review, as noted in both the body and conclusion. Occasionally though, someone comes along who has actual bad experiences with the product and stumbles upon the article which he or she feels must be addressed to warn others or at the very least show dissent.

    I grew up with the notion of "sticks and stones..........." and if someone made an accusation for which I knew/know it isn't true, it doesn't offend me. However, such things can put others on the defensive to refute such claims.

    What I'd like to know is, are all reviews required to be followed by comments of only praise and appreciation where negative comments are forbidden? Surely I can appreciate the time and effort that goes into writing and presenting the content and praise the author for his/her efforts, but sometimes critics can come out and feel or have a negative impression.
    Well, I've had my laugh for the day:rofl:

    I think the FTW means "For The Web" and not intended to be used with other applications.

    It was interesting to read the positive points about this board, but to say in the conclusion that you're disappointed across all X79 boards is something I interpret as being a platform hated with a passion.

    I will digress though and continue to walk on pins and needles with comments for fear that I too could be an endangered species like Horsehead.

    "When you have the power, you can silence the critics"

    undisclosed leader
    EarthDog
    Wait.. Im a bit confused... The 7970, 7950, etc have been out for a few weeks now that take advantage of PCIe3...X79 has PCIe3. This bios has options to switch PCIe2 or 3. It says PCIe3 in GPUz with my 7950 in it. Am I not in PCIe3?

    So I ask, again I guess, does this nomenclature matter at all when bandwidth is effectively doubled with the proper gpu in place?

    It seems like from the post that you are not even sure if you are at the limit of anything to be honest. Is that a fair assesment? I would like to somehow capture that bandwidth number and see what it is... Just seems like a lot of your concern is based on assumption (in which those assumption are a logical few steps away).

    @ Lv - It will be nice to check out other reviews on the board and thank you for your support. :)


    They have support for 8GT/s, which is PCIe 3 speeds. For some reason intel refuses to give officially give PCIe 3 branding though. If you go look up any SB-E CPU the intel website will only list PCI-e 2. But you should still get PCI-e 3 speeds though.
    Sorry for taking this thread out of the dust.

    I just ordered this board cause the low price for an higg end X79 board. its the K2 revision, supposed to have some issue fixed and ill flash to latest bios on the fisrt boot. I may go for a SLI in a near futur so the 32 lane are perfect for me.

    Lots of the other X79 board use a PLX chip as soon as you go for multiple GPUs and this add some latency, i prefer not to pass through it as long as i dont need it.

    Hope the board comes in and work out of the box, seems to have few people that had issue with this board.
    Wait.. Im a bit confused... The 7970, 7950, etc have been out for a few weeks now that take advantage of PCIe3...X79 has PCIe3. This bios has options to switch PCIe2 or 3. It says PCIe3 in GPUz with my 7950 in it. Am I not in PCIe3?

    So I ask, again I guess, does this nomenclature matter at all when bandwidth is effectively doubled with the proper gpu in place?

    It seems like from the post that you are not even sure if you are at the limit of anything to be honest. Is that a fair assesment? I would like to somehow capture that bandwidth number and see what it is... Just seems like a lot of your concern is based on assumption (in which those assumption are a logical few steps away).

    @ Lv - It will be nice to check out other reviews on the board and thank you for your support. :)
    I should have a review finished in about a week or so on this board, EVGA will be sending one out on Monday. It will be posted at OverclockersTech.com when done.

    I've done several reviews for EVGA over the past few years and trust me, I never get paid for any of them either.....LOL.

    You reviewers here at Overclockers do a fantastic job, keep up the great work guys!!
    EarthDog
    I just read the thread you linked... not sure how you came to that conclusion (batches) with the information there, but, I digress. Oh well.....lets move on. Thanks again for pointing out the actual configuration of this motherboard vs Intel available lanes on the CPU. :thup:


    You're correct. That was my pure assumption based on living on their forums 18 hours a day waiting for the "next shipment" statements that they are ready to order - and I'd miss it again and have to wait for the "next shipment" statement.

    The base for my statement of "first batch or two" because the first batch of "now available! Go and get 'em!" first reported the missing cpu socket protector part. And then a 2nd batch was released, and 4 days later someone else claimed the same missing cpu socket protector. Hence the "First batch " cause of the timing of the resupply of stock.

    :)

    Purely my assumption, but close you have to admit, as it seems no one else reported the issue since.

    EarthDog
    @ Eduncan911 - I was just thinking. These are PCIe3 slots and have double the bandwidth of PCIe2 slots, right? So even if its 8x/8x/8x/8x, thats like 16x PCIe2.


    Technically, they are PCIe 2.0 as of today, but is supposed to support 3.0 with "future updates". But no EVGA BIOS, nor video hardware, is available at this time to enable that speed. And if you want to get very technical, Intel did not finish their PCIe 3.0 specifications in time before they "released" the Sandy Bridge-E chipset to RTM. But, it didn't stop Intel from stating that "Future X79 chipsets will support PCIe 3.0 " meaning it physically can support it, but something is missing (no one is clear why Intel didn't finish the 3.0 release in time, nor do they know what is 'missing' to enable PCIe 3.0 on these boards). They actually backed off the support for 3.0, as well as the 8 SATA 6Gbps port. (only 2 SATA 6Gbps are native to the X79 chipset, and the other 4 SATA 3Gbps. Any additional 6Gbps ports have to be enabled via additional controllers. This is a chipset limitation.

    You are also correct that the bandwidth doubles yet again moving from 2.0 to 3.0 (it doubles from 1.0 to 2.0). This would make everything mute, yep.

    EarthDog
    Does CUDA use more bandwidth than in PCIe2 16x or something?


    Depends on the application. I'm using it to tinker for data mining performance, which is extremely intensive on the data packets I send to it and what I want back (read: bandwidth).

    EarthDog
    Does it really matter outside of not following Intel spec in your case since there is plenty of bandwidth for your setup in the first place?


    Now, this is where we start to venture into the "Let me throw $X at a new part, and see if I fix the lag in Y" guessing game. So, it's my assumption that the every so slight "jittery" or "lag" when spinning very quickly in a FPS, or when playing Batman Arkham City and trying to move the camera is enough to be extremely annoying. It does not exists in single or 3-way SLI on a single monitor - only in tri-monitor gaming mode.

    It's tri-gaming mode that eats up a lot of bandwidth.

    1920x1080 = 2,073,600 pixels

    2650x1600 = 4,240,000 pixels (30" Dual-Link monitor)

    5760x1080 = 6,220,800 pixels (tri-monitor 2D Vision Surround)

    And that's per frame that has to transfer through the PCIe bandwidth.

    So, we have to start playing the guessing game at what this lag could be.

    GPU usage? Perhaps, and its high around 85% and a few peaks to 95%. But in single monitor, they hit 100% so I know it's not the limit.

    CPU bottleneck? Perhaps, but usually the CPU bottlenecks manifests themselves as shark drop in frame rates or "stalling" as some reviews I've read proved CPU bottlenecks. What I am experiencing is a noticeable "lag" during all sequences in all scenarios.

    My #1 guess: The X58 chipset has the PCIe controller on the Northbridge itself (can't recall the controller, I want to say PCH or QPI but can't remember all of those IOH, MCH, QPI, etc). With the P67/Z68 and the X79 chipsets, they moved this PCIe controller onto the processor (CPU) die itself, which removed the latency. It was a core reason for the new architecture of LGA1155 and LGA2011.

    This PCIe controller latency is what I suspect I am reaching the limit of, since it was completely constant during all scenarios, unlike CPU bottlenecks that would come and go (noticed those too, usually around extreme debris since BF3 does not use Nvidia's PhysX but built their own that runs off of the CPU).

    With the tri-monitor setup I have, that's a resolution of 5760x1080 and over 6.2 million pixels (6.5 million with 6000x1080 bezel corrected resolution).

    With that said, I wanted to increase the links of x16-x8-x8 to x16-x16-x8. This was the reason I bought the EVGA X79 FTW, and then later found out about the actual link assignments. "I just spent $1000 on what?" <- including the 3930k that is.

    But as mentioned, it's resolved now.
    I went through several EVGA X79 Classifieds trying to get one to work right, and finally gave up. This, and the Gigabyte X79 UD-7, were 2 of the worst motherboards I have ever had the misfortune to attempt to set up and use. I know this is an EVGA FTW review, but on the EVGA website forum, EVGA says the FTW and X79 Classified are identical except for form factor and SLI/Crossfire support. They are also pointing to this review for people looking for X79 Classified reviews, so I think my comments here are appropriate.

    My EVGA X79 Classified experience could not have been more difficult. The first board was a direct order from EVGA, and when it arrived it had a red tag attached to it that said DEFECTIVE in English, with a lot of Chinese words I could not decipher on the tag as well. The board would not POST no matter what I did, and I had to RMA it. The second board would hang with different POST codes and I could never successfully boot it. I RMA'd that as well. The third board arrived with a broken PCIE connector, and I RMA'd that as well. The 4th and final board I did get to boot, but I had memory problems with that and could not get any memory I tried to run past 1600. I downloaded the EVGA approved memory QVL and bought 2 different sets of memory, one from G.Skill, and one from Kingston that were on that list. Both were DDR3-2133, and neither set of memory would run past 1600. Attempting to set the XMP profile would result in a no-boot situation. In discussions with their tech support, I was told that the XMP profiles were a suggestion, and that manual settings would be more reliable. I was also told to download the 32 BIOS. I did download and install the BIOS, and there was not much difference except that I could manually set the memory and coax it to 1866. I did try some CPU overclocking on liquid cooling, but could not get past 4.8 GHz, and had severe stability problems.

    What really makes me angry is that EVGA claims these boards support DDR3-2133 memory, and when you go into the BIOS to set the XMP Profile, there is a message that says the XMP Profile is "approved", and yet it does not work. Even with memory specifically on their approved list. And yes, I bought 2 different sets of memory from 2 different manufacturers in anticipation of EVGA claiming I had bad memory.

    I have subsuquently set up 2 systems, one with an ASUS R4E, and the other with an MSI Big Bang Xpower II, and the contrast could not be more different. Both the ASUS and MSI boards worked right out of the box without any problems whatsoever. Both motherboards ran G.Skill DDR3-2400 memory XMP Profiles without my having to do any extra tweaking. I overclocked the CPU's on both boards to 5.0 Ghz within 30 minutes of power up. Both boards have been running stable since the initial setup. I would also like to add that the BIOS's on both of these motherboards are very well designed and work with both keyboard and mouse. I could only get the EVGA BIOS to work with the keyboard.

    All I have to say is that I love EVGA Graphics cards, and was very anxious to try their motherboards. I had high expectations, and these were not met. For a motherboard in this price class to perform so poorly is unexcuseable. From perusing the EVGA forums, I can see that I am not alone in my bad experience.
    @ Eduncan911 - I was just thinking. These are PCIe3 slots and have double the bandwidth of PCIe2 slots, right? So even if its 8x/8x/8x/8x, thats like 16x PCIe2. Does CUDA use more bandwidth than in PCIe2 16x or something? Does it really matter outside of not following Intel spec in your case since there is plenty of bandwidth for your setup in the first place?
    You missed the point. I was just noting memory incompatibility....across that EVGA board and others.

    I dont. And I use USB2 and USB3 devices... plugged in at 4.8Ghz for testing! With a USB KB/Mouse even! No signs of the ports dropping or spiking on this specific FTW.

    Again, it fixed the problems I had. :shrug:

    I did not mention that this was a preferred board over the same, just approved.

    First, its 'no' not 'know' :rolleyes:. Second, I and many others disagree with your opinion on this review. Some did not like the price for what you get and I understand that. All I know is after a couple of bios' the board works 100% for me. No bad USB ports, no overclocking issues (matched my giga!)...just a single memory compatibility problem, which again, is across all boards in some form or another.

    My sample and the bios I used is. That is my testing not what others have experienced. Its not a bios recall like gigabyte which is a WAY worse issue IMO. Or a board that NEVER worked and STILL doesnt work (its not even on the market anymore that I can see in fact).

    Now we finally have something we agree upon. EVGA shouldnt charge a restocking fee for a borked mobo. I see eduncan had a similar issue, but what is peculiar about that is no motherboards I know of are wrapped in shrink wrap when new so that story doesnt make sense.

    Not sure what to say here. I have never had to RMA an EVGA motherboard, they all worked fine.

    I cant help that we have a good relationship with EVGA due to meeting the people at CES (which a lot of sites do), and having enough traffic to warrant them seeding us a board. Im not sure why other sites didnt get one. But again I assure you that I, scratch that, WE at overclockers.com are not shills for ANY vendor. If I was you, I wouldnt mention that again without any proof... at this point I am considering your words slander/libel since its wholey unsupported. :fight:

    I guess I could care less about who is selling more boards. The fact is Asrock NOW makes some quality boards, and most of them are cheaper than the others. Most people worth a lick also dont NEED a board like this in the first place. Least we forget that they have around 6 boards in their lineup one of which starts UNDER $200...So its a cheap in to a very expensive platform.

    You are entitled to your opinion, as I am entitled to mine...at least however, I have support for my assertions. I have no problems standing 100% behind the results I achieved and experience I had with the board. :attn: :comp:

    EDIT: Crap team.. sorry, I didnt see the replies come in as I was drafting this...
    Horse Head. I am really baffled at how/why you are lashing out at the reviewer here, in fact you are attacking all the reviewers and the site as a whole. Not sure what your real gripe is but you are one sad individual.