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.
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.
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.