Almost all the major motherboard manufacturers have had some form of X79 on display – Anand has already shown you the MSI and ECS offerings, but I stopped by the Intel booth today to a magnificent display.  Almost every X79 board at Computex was on show, so let us play a game of spot the difference.

Of the 12 models on display, ASUS alone have six – the C1X79, C1X79 LE, C1X79 EVO, C1X79 PRO, C1X79 Deluxe and the C1X79 Plus, which covers most of their standard P67 launch model names.  We have one from Sapphire (PB-C17X79N), one from ECS (X79R-A), one from ASRock (X79 Extreme4), and three from MSI (GD65, GD70 and GD80) also. 

All the X79 on show are likely to be early engineering samples or mockups – this is more than clear with the brown PCB shown on the ASUS boards and the lack of cooling on the VRMs across most on display.  The lack of I/O on the ASUS boards adds more to this realisation.

The Sapphire model is interesting given that it contains 6 full length PCIe and an 8-pin 12V connector, whereas the ECS board has four PCIe – possibly color coded for an nForce 200 quad GPU configuration.

The MSI series starts with the high end GD80 having a blue PCB with a PCH fan, an 8-pin power slot and an angled fan cooler.  Unfortunately it seems the display had the GD70 and GD65 boards in the wrong place, as the board above the GD70 said GD65 however where the GD65 was, there was a sticker over the model number and that board required two 8-pin PCIe.  Perhaps it was a new GD90 designation in this spot to confuse us?

It will ultimately be a while before we can get our hands on working boards to let you know how they feel, but stay tuned – this is an exciting time for the CPU and motherboard industry.  Have a look at the gallery for the full X79 line-up from the Intel booth.

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  • cactusdog - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Looks good!! Should look better when they finish them.....
  • cactusdog - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    omg the msi has 2x8 pin 12v connectors
  • dragonsqrrl - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    That's not unusual for a high-end X58 board.
  • cactusdog - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    You're right, it has been done before.

    Anyway, for people complaining theres not enough memory slots, its not going to be a problem when they release 8GB sticks for a total of 32GB.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Looking at the pictures, the only major difference I can see among all the six ASUS boards is... the sticker. LOL. I'm curious what the *real* differences will be when the products are actually finalized. Heatsinks and cooling will certainly be an area where they will vary, but I'd also expect different VRM setups, different IO panels, and maybe variations on the slot arrangements. Right now, I don't see any of that.
  • IanCutress - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    It looks like some models have power buttons, more headers, or clear CMOS on the back. But you're right, maybe ASUS pulled out the clone stamp tool from Photoshop a little too early :)
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Asus has been segmenting their product line this way for the last few intel generations.
  • MWilliamson - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    I'd agree with Ian; if you look hard enough you can spot minor differences like the presence or lack of certain headers, certain utility features like the boot code indicator & power button, and IO panel arrangements. The cases that the samples are in, at least from the photos, are obscuring other possible minor differences, SATA headers (though I could be daft and missing them, I don't have much of an eye for sample boards), and features that ASUS implements for their enthusiast segments. Otherwise it definately looks like the ASUS boards all have a common basis... none of them have legacy PCi slots, and I'm left wondering about that molex connector near the IO panel... time will tell I guess.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    A molex plug somewhere on the board was a semi-common feature in the 4pin 12V power era to get a bit more current than was otherwise available.
  • NordicRuneProject - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Seeing how pathetic the Bulldozers looks like at first sigth, it seems that Intel is the way. I just wish they could release the Sandy Bridge-E before November...

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