TechSpot: Intel X79 Motherboard Roundup

Those wanting to build the ultimate performance system will naturally turn to Intel’s new LGA2011 platform which recently made its debut with the Sandy Bridge-E processors. This highly refined architecture takes the original Sandy Bridge design and pumps it full of steroids, while adding a few new things. Moreover, the platform is expected to support enthusiast-level Ivy Bridge processors that are slated for release by the end of 2012, adding to the platform's longevity.

The current series' flagship CPU known as the Core i7-3960X boasts a massive 15MB L3 cache and six cores clocked at 3.3GHz. As we found on our review last November, the i7-3960X is 20-30% faster than the Core i7-2600K, though at $999 it's over 3 times more expensive. There is also a slightly slower and considerably more affordable option. The Core i7-3930K is already selling for $599, and a third alternative, the Core i7-3820 is set to be released in the coming months.

So if you're already spending $600+ on a processor alone, you'll want to make sure your motherboard is equally impressive. Today we are checking out five high-end X79 motherboards from Asus, Asrock, ECS, Intel and MSI.

Read: 5-Way Intel X79 Motherboard Shootout

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And what about PCI ports? I can't put my external audio card on most of those mobos, let alone another ethernet controller or something else. All I see there are PCI-e slots.

damn, and i wanted sandy-bridge-E... not worth it... no gaming increase from 2600k to 3960X... well few frame rates but not even 2%...

Would like to have seen a larger scale comparison with the Asus Rampage IV Extreme or Asus Sabertooth and Gigabyte offering too.