EVGA SR3 Super Record 3 Motherboard

Just as its detractors thought they were done with it, and just as people started to think that attrition among some of its "popular" designers cost EVGA dearly, the company hit back with teaser pictures of the Super Record 3 or SR3, it promised back in June, it would deliver to the enthusiast community. And yes, it matches its description! The SR3 is a dual socket LGA2011 2P enthusiast desktop/workstation motherboard in the E-ATX form factor. Socket 0 is wired to eight DDR3 DIMM slots (two DIMMs/channel), while socket 1 to four slots (1 DIMM/channel).

In LGA2011 2P systems, the processor sitting on socket 0 is wired to the PCH (SR3 looks to have Patsburg-T), while the processor on socket 1 is wired to the one on socket 0 using two QPI links, closing the daisy-chain. Socket 0, apart from its 4 GB/s DMI link, has a PCI-Express 2.0 x4 (another 4 GB/s) link to supplement the DMI link, so the storage controllers don't get bottlenecked with just DMI. Both processors contribute to the PCI-Express lane budget of the motherboard. There are seven PCI-Express x16 slots, among which four are PCI-Express 3.0 x16 capable, every slot is PCI-Express 3.0 x8 capable. NVIDIA 4-way SLI is supported. This board will support Sandy Bridge-EP Xeon processors, though we don't know at this juncture if Core i7 Sandy Bridge-E is 2P capable.

The CPU sockets are each powered by a 6+1 phase digital PWM circuit driven by CPL+Volterra components, the memory is powered by 8-phase (1 phase per channel) digital PWM. Apart from the 24-pin ATX connector, power is drawn in by two 8-pin EPS connectors (one per socket), and three 6-pin PCIe connectors (one per socket, and one for PCIe slot electrical stability). Each PCIe slot can be individually toggled (disabled/enabled), by gating its power lane using DIP switches on the board. There are consolidated voltage measurement points, and one can expect the UEFI firmware to pack every option an overclocker could possibly tinker with.

In terms of storage connectivity, there are as many as 14 SATA ports (data rates aren't known yet), and a couple of eSATA ports. General connectivity includes 8+2 channel HD audio, two gigabit Ethernet connections, USB 3.0, Bluetooth, and EVBot support (the gadget could even come bundled). There's no word on the availability, but one thing for sure is that EVGA is ready to dominate LGA2011 enthusiast board market.

MSI X79A-GD65 8D Motherboard

MSI is readying a new LGA2011 HEDT (high-end desktop) motherboard based on the Intel X79 chipset, which features eight DDR3 DIMM slots, two per memory channel, letting you take advantage of the fast quad-channel DDR3 IMC of Sandy Bridge-E Core i7 processors, as well as not letting you fall short of memory expansion. The X79A-GD65 8D, as it's called, makes room for eight DIMM slots, four on either sides of the socket. The CPU is powered by a 5+2 phase VRM, and the memory by a 4-phase VRM.

Expansion slots include four PCI-Express x16, from which four are wired to the CPU socket, two are PCI-Express 3.0 x16 capable, four are PCI-E 3.0 x8 capable (depending on the way the slots are populated with add-on cards), one is PCI-E 2.0 x4 capable and is wired to the chipset. Then there's the lone PCI-E x1. NVIDIA 4-way SLI and AMD 4-way CrossFireX are supported.

Storage expansion includes four SATA 6 Gb/s and four SATA 3 Gb/s ports, all internal. There are no eSATA ports. Other connectivity features include 8+2 channel HD audio, four USB 3.0 ports (two on the rear panel, two via header), one gigabit Ethernet, FireWire, and a number of USB 2.0 ports.

The X79A-GD65 8D will be driven by a UEFI BIOS that's rich in overclocking options, and will be backed by several other MSI exclusives such as OC Genie II, voltage measurement points, and POST readout. The board will feature in MSI's first wave of LGA2011 motherboards.