Return of the X58 - The Best from ASUS and Gigabyte

The ASUS P6X58D Premium

The ASUS P6X58D Premium

Despite having features that would classify it as a premium product, the ASUS P6X58D Premium does not belong to the vendor's enthusiast oriented Republic of Gamers family. But there's no denying that the P6X58D will easily stand among the top boards in ASUS' lineup just due to the sheer number of features. For one, it has the updated SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0 features that older X58 boards lacked. It's a typical implementation, with ASUS opting for the basic Marvell SATA 6Gbit/s controller (with no additional SATA support) and the standard NEC USB 3.0 controller.

There's no issue with bandwidth on the X58 chipset and as such we don't find the bridge chip that ASUS implemented on its P55 version to ensure sufficient bandwidth for the SATA 6Gbps feature. One does find the older ICH10R Southbridge on this board, in keeping with Intel's reference design. This Southbridge provides most of the SATA ports - six SATA 3Gbps versions that are situated at the edge of the board. There are however only two SATA 6Gbps ports available (in gray).

As befits a board of its class, ASUS ticks all the right checkboxes when it comes to features. There's FireWire support and dual Gigabit Ethernet ports. There's a HD audio CODEC with optical and coaxial outputs. A heat-pipe enhanced cooling solution that's not too intrusive. Notable too are the ones that are missing - older interfaces like IDE and floppy.

ASUS' recent blue streak continues with the P6X58D Premium, which comes in a few shades of blue.

 Surprisingly, the rear panel wasn't as crowded as we expected. There's a good mix of various ports, from the S/PDIF outputs to a FireWire port. There's also a small, black Clear CMOS button.

 Due to space constraints, two of the SATA 3.0Gbps ports are shunted at the side with the front panel. Fortunately, it's still at the board's edge. The gray SATA ports are the SATA 6Gbit/s versions.

The standard six DIMM slots on an X58 motherboard.

A closer look reveals that location of ASUS' MemOK! feature and near that, a blue jumper that can extend the maximum limit on voltages in the BIOS when enabled.

It's not just about the features however, as ASUS did a good job of ensuring that the layout was not neglected. The vendor hardly made a wrong step as we encountered no issues during our testing. From the unique ASUS retention mechanism on the PCIe x16 slots to the ample space between these slots and the edge-facing SATA ports, the layout was very well-done. Of course, it helped that this board's lack of IDE and floppy connectors freed up some PCB space.


ASUS has not been too ambitious with the number of expansion slots. Three PCIe 2.0 x16 slots enable 3-way SLI/CrossFireX comfortably with dual-slot cards. They come with ASUS' unique bracket retention clips that are designed for easy removal of installed cards. Buried among the slots is ASUS' Express Gate module.

 Every slot looks usable, even this PCIe x1 that's right next to the heatsink.

 The socket area is relatively clean, surrounded by low-profile heatsinks linked by heat-pipes. Power to the CPU is regulated by what ASUS calls its Xtreme Phase (16 + 2) power phase design.

Besides the features mentioned, a host of ASUS' proprietary technologies are found on this board, from the Xtreme phase design, a 16-phase power design to ASUS' long-standing Express Gate. There are tools for overclocking, like TurboV and tools for stability, like the memory compatibility MemOK!. Practically all of these technologies have been seen in other ASUS motherboards previously. It's quite an extensive list and not everyone of them will be used, but there's sufficient variety that one will use at least one, especially our favorite BIOS flashing tool.

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