DFI X58 T3eH8 Ultra Motherboard

Board Layout & Appearance

Board Layout & Appearance

At first glance the X58 looks strikingly similar to it's X48 brethren, using the same Yellow and green slots as well as the black PCB as its forbear. Personally, I'm beginning to tire of UV reactive designs despite the board still looking fresh. I would have liked to see a new colour scheme to go with the new chipset but alas, DFI have seen fit to use up PCIe and memory slots from the X38/X48 parts bin.

Mainboard back
 
The CPU socket ares is remarkably clear of capacitors and Mosfets. This is down to the Volterra full digital PWM system. Digital PWM allows much cleaner voltages to be supplied to the CPU which in turn can enhance overclocking on the CPU but this undoubtedly adds to the cost of the board. The Motherboard runs on an 8 phase power design which, while appearing low compared to some of it's competitors 'claimed' 16 phase design is more then enough according to DFI. 

The DDR3 triple channel configuration is the same for all X58 boards thus far, with slots 2+4 for single channel, 2-4-6 for triple channel and all slots can be populated for a maximum supported 24GB of memory.

cpu area memory

The board has a plethora of jumper settings, most of which will remain unused for all but the most extreme overclocker. The use of the illuminated on-board Power and Reset switches eradicates the need to operate the CMOS clear jumper as, like its predecessors, if you press both together this will reset the CMOS allowing for a fresh start and returning the motherboard into a bootable state should you become too ambitious with your overclocking.

The PCIe layout is very good indeed allowing for Tri SLI use of dual slot cards without any clearance issues. If you do intend on using 3 dual slots cards it is worth considering that, unlike the Gigabyte board we reviewed previously, there will be no remaining PCI/e slots remaining for additional expansion cards. Both Green PCIe slots are 16x until TRI SLI is used and this is where the 8x yellow PCIe slot comes into play. This will throttle the lowest PCIe Green slot back down to 8x with only the uppermost PCIe slot providing the full 16 lanes to the primary GPU.

SB PCIe

The huge Northbridge heatsink is a break from the previous Ultra editions motherboards in that it is anodised black rather than a brushed aluminium colour. The heatsink does not fit in well with the overall aesthetics of the motherboard not only because of the black heatsink but because of the horrid top plate they have stuck on the sink which sticks out like a sore thumb. To the edge of the board we see that an IDE ports is still available aswell as 8 SATA ports. 6 of the ports are controlled by the ICH10R chip while the remaining 2 yellow ports are controlled by the Jmicron JMB363 chip along with the IDE port. While 8 SATA ports appears plenty, it's not as many as the Gigabyte UD5 which supply a whopping 10. Whether you need this many will depend on your own circumstances.

Northbridge Connectivity

The I/O area is sparse compared to some of the other motherboards we have reviewed in the past. No on-board sound, a miserly 6 USB ports, dual Gigabit Lan (with teaming function) and support for PS/2 Keyboard and mouse are all that can be found. Rather than utilise on-board sound, DFI include a separate Bernstein soundcard based on the Realtec ALC 889 codec which, while saving room on the I/O area (which hasn't been utilised), does take up a PCI backplate. Straddling the I/O area is the largest cooler on the board which takes care of cooling the PWM area. One would think this should be plenty to cool this area, DFI however have other ideas as we shall see.

BIOS Closed BIOS Open

A very neat little feature of the board is the replaceable BIOS chip should it become corrupted through an incorrect BIOS update procedure. While no replacement BIOS chip is included in the package, taking the chip out and RMA'ing that is much cheaper (and easier) than RMA'ing the whole motherboard.

Mosfet cooler Backplate

Removing the top of the Northbridge heatsink we come across an oddity. A solid metal bar nestles between the top and bottom of the heatsink yet there was no thermal paste to aid heat transfer. While this was disappointing at first there is method to DFI's madness. The metal bar can be removed and the optional Flame Freezer heatsink can be placed here instead of on the I/O backplate area to decrease temps further should this necessity be required.
 
NB Removal NB Block

Removing the mid section of the Northbridge and the remainder of the whole heatsink assembly was straightforward enough as the whole heatsink is attached to the motherboard via screws . Using screws instead of push-pin ensures that the best possible contact and mounting pressure is achieved.

NB Block 1 Paste
 
Two different pastes were used on the motherboard but all areas had evidence of perfect contact, included the PWM area which is unusual as most manufacturers opt to use thermal tape in this area.

Removed Heat pipe

Fitting the flame freezer to the I/O area was a little fiddly and I do question the need for additional cooling here however nobody can doubt the the I/O cooling and indeed the overall cooling of the T3eH8 is awesome and I have no doubts whatsoever that this is perhaps the best cooling solution a motherboard has seen to date.

Mosfet block removed mosfet

Digital  PWM Flame freezer

Well thats the motherboards aesthetics investigated. Time to get this show on the road and take a look at what performance features this board has to offer...
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Most Recent Comments

29-01-2009, 09:17:32

Ham
Looking for a high end X58 board that can push your shiny new I7 to it's limit? Today webbo takes a look at the DFI X58 T3eH8 Ultra to see if it checks all the boxes.

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...164612695s.jpg

Take a look too see how it fairs here.

29-01-2009, 09:45:57

VonBlade
It's nice to know some things never change.

Amazing layout? Check.

Bulletproof? Check.

Incomprehensible BIOS options? Must be a DFI

Some great clocks coming out of that. Agree that the current high-end X58s are way too steep. Although the high-end 775 stuff was eye-watering too.

Thanks for the review.

29-01-2009, 09:46:49

Kerotan
Just spotted a typo:

while at first appearance appears very thick is that that daunting once you realise it is a multi language manual.



Probably wanna replace one of the "thats" with "not". Made for an awesome read though- day I can afford kit like this is the day I win the lottery lol.

29-01-2009, 10:03:02

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kerotan'
Just spotted a typo:

Probably wanna replace one of the "thats" with "not". Made for an awesome read though- day I can afford kit like this is the day I win the lottery lol.
Sounds like he was overcome by the 'Chinglish' manual.

29-01-2009, 10:48:48

soapsupah
its an amazing mobo, it looks pretty good, it has a lot of good points but i still dont know its price, also the asus / msi board results were as good as the DFI mobo, and sometimes even better and i expected more from it afterall DFI is pretty famous, but still its a great mobo

29-01-2009, 14:42:09

w3bbo
Although the results showed the boards to be fairly even (they are afterall all based on the same chipset and run at the same settings), when scoring the boards there are many more points to consider.

The DFI board is not a board to run at stock settings, it isn't designed to do that, anyone who buys this board for that is only after e-peen glory and not using the board for what it was intended for - overclocking. In this area it excels. Therefore DFI have completed what they set out to do. The price they charge reflects the niche market they are aiming for. After all Lamborghinis arn't exactly in the same marketplace or have the same customer in mind as Diatsu.

If you want a board that covers all bases then the Gigabyte board, for me at least, is the better board.

For hassle free 'it just works', reliability then look no further than the Asus P6T.

The MSI, while not a bad board by any stretch of the imagination, offers nothing over the others for the price they are asking.

29-01-2009, 15:00:25

HypoglossalXII
DFI's X58 review! Gonna take my time reading this one. But yes, I love the flexibility the DFI bios offers, however sometimes, most of their settings seem rather redundant, or unnecessary.

But hey, the more there is to tweak, the double the fun.

-HypoG

29-01-2009, 15:09:02

Rastalovich
Don't like it tbh. May sound outrageous, and I do respect the DFI history a great deal.

From the stats, I don't see a separation for any of these mobos. One will show a meager % over another, then on the next line-up it's beaten by one of the other mobos in another respect.

To this end, u could base a decision on price and ease of use. The bios is what it is, does it need to be overly expressive with the apparent limitations in what u can and can't do - probably not. w3bbo's above post iterates what for what.

The challenge I guess would be to get 4g+ from each of the mobos... that being done, which was the easiest (in terms of getting into the bios and changing things easily, getting out, and being stable equally easily) - if more than 2 of them can do that.. do u need the other features today ?

Bottom line for me, the big-arse sink out of the rear is a no-no, and 287 - no thanks.

Great review btw.

29-01-2009, 15:11:46

soapsupah
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='w3bbo'
Although the results showed the boards to be fairly even (they are afterall all based on the same chipset and run at the same settings), when scoring the boards there are many more points to consider.

The DFI board is not a board to run at stock settings, it isn't designed to do that, anyone who buys this board for that is only after e-peen glory and not using the board for what it was intended for - overclocking. In this area it excels. Therefore DFI have completed what they set out to do. The price they charge reflects the niche market they are aiming for. After all Lamborghinis arn't exactly in the same marketplace or have the same customer in mind as Diatsu.

If you want a board that covers all bases then the Gigabyte board, for me at least, is the better board.

For hassle free 'it just works', reliability then look no further than the Asus P6T.

The MSI, while not a bad board by any stretch of the imagination, offers nothing over the others for the price they are asking.
i understand, but then, the review could be updated someday when you have time, with some "basic" overclock settings and compared with the asus /gigabite if possible, because at stock like you said, it just runs like any other , its hard to get a good opinion of it by the stock, if i understand right, but anyways good review man

29-01-2009, 16:34:00

VonBlade
I think it's vital to test things at stock. That's what the public are buying.

29-01-2009, 21:24:27

fruityness
Sexy. But sexyness comes with a chunky price tag too.

30-01-2009, 05:46:26

valor
Yea...have to sell my entire c2d rig now in order to buy this mb.

Anyway this would be nice to have it in a next contest...

30-01-2009, 05:51:02

valor
Yea...have to sell my entire c2d rig now in order to buy this mb.

Anyway this would be nice to have it in a next contest...

30-01-2009, 07:33:55

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='VonBlade'
I think it's vital to test things at stock. That's what the public are buying.
Taking this point up with Mr VonBlade. At the same time as agreeing that testing stock is vital, OC3D does have it's roots in an enthusiasts approach to hardware, whilst regular reviews may be found all over the 'net, I don't think I'm alone in wanting the testers to hammer the hardware if possible.

Then again, u may expect that after the dust settles, a shoot-out between mobos may be reviewed.

EDIT: Seen the MSI X58 Platinum for 226 today, it's a bit of a difference.

31-01-2009, 04:34:50

Hodgstar
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'
Taking this point up with Mr VonBlade. At the same time as agreeing that testing stock is vital, OC3D does have it's roots in an enthusiasts approach to hardware, whilst regular reviews may be found all over the 'net, I don't think I'm alone in wanting the testers to hammer the hardware if possible.

Then again, u may expect that after the dust settles, a shoot-out between mobos may be reviewed.

EDIT: Seen the MSI X58 Platinum for 226 today, it's a bit of a difference.
or the Boistar Tpower X58 for 218.49

I agree with both sides of the arguement TBH

I deffinately want to see "the testers hammer the hardware"

but a quick look at base settings performance would not do any harm as some people only overclock to game and/or bench, leaving things at or close to base settings for a large percentage of the time.
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