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Intel i7 3960X EE / Gigabyte GA X79 UD3 / 16GB GSkill Ripjaws Z (2133mhz) Review

Even though we aren't using it for the review today, Intel supplied us with the DX79SI motherboard which is shipped in a very ominous looking box. More than a passing resemblance to the Skulltrail products of yesteryear.

Intel include a backplate, a 2 way and 3 way SLI bridge and a mousemat. Our reviewers sample didn't have any literature, but you can expect this with a retail sample.

The motherboard is an attractive design built around a black PCB with blue slots and accented heatsinks. The board is populated with Solid State Capacitors and a ‘power supervisor' for enhanced stability. It has six SATA ports, 2 x 6.0 GB/s (blue) and 4 x 3.0 GB/s (black). Board dimensions are 29.46 cm x 24.38 cm.

The motherboard has three PCI Express x 16 slots for triple card CrossfireX and SLI configurations. If used in tri mode they run in x16/x8/x8 mode. There are also two PCI express 2.0 slots and one PCI slot.

Along the bottom of the board is an infrared receiver and transmitter which supports receiving, learning and emitting capabilities. It can control up to two additional CE devices and eliminates the need for a USB based CIR dongle. Intel have included diagnostic LED's with this board to help with troubleshooting. and there are tweaking switches for overclocking, power on and reset functionality. There are the usual plethora of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 header ports.

The DX79SI supports Quad Channel memory across eight slots. It can accept a total of 64GB of non ECC system memory with speeds up to 2400mhz O.C.

The rear I/O panel has several GB lan connectors, two USB 3.0 ports and six USB 2.0 ports with a Firewire connector positioned in the middle. Eight channel audio is supported from this panel along with an optical cable.

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