The Sapphire Pure Black X58 arrives in a fantastic looking box which exudes a serious, yet high tech appearance.
Inside, the upper layer holds the cabling, accessories, backplate and manual.
The manual is well written, if a little brief. Additionally there is a software disc, branded sapphire IDE cable and a plethora of SATA cables. Not the most exhaustive bundle we have seen, but as this is a pre production board there are possibilities that this may be enhanced.
The board itself is an attractive black and blue colour scheme, complete with sticker offering ram installation guidance.
The overall design of the board is first class with substantial, heavy duty heatsinks offering enhanced PCB cooling. Sapphire are using high quality Japanese polymer solid capacitors with super low ESR and high heat resistance. Always good to hear as we are going to thrash it within an inch of its life later.
Sapphire highlight their use of new ‘Sapphire Diamond Chokes’ (patent pending) which greately improves the board power regulation. This has an integral heatsink and runs cooler than a standard choke used on many other motherboards.
Sapphire are using gold plated contacts across the whole board design. The CPU socket even contains gold plated connectors up to 15u and the Sata,Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 connectors get high grade 30u gold contacts.
The board supports up to 24GB of memory via the 6 triple channel slots. The blue slots should be populated first in a tri configuration, then the black.
The Pure Black X58 has four PCI-E 2.0 slots which are all x16, unless used in multiple card CFx configurations. PCI-E2 and PCI-E3 will be x8 link and PCI-E4 x4 link (Gray slot in image above). The single PCI slot supports a variety of expansion cards such as a LAN, USB or SCSI card, although it will block the second PCI-E slot if you wish to use more than one (dual width) graphics card.
There are a total of six SATA ports included on the Pure Black X58 board. The black coloured connectors are controlled by the South Bridge Chipset and operate at a speed up to 3GB/s. The red ports are 6Gb/s capable and are controlled by the Marvel 9128 chipset. An IDE port sits to the right of these connectors.
Across the bottom of the board is a diagnostic LED to report any issues for verification. There is a reset CMOS button here next to reset and power buttons. The use of a CMOS button is a great option as there is no fiddling for jumper positions. Sapphire have also incorporated a dual bios switch which not only offers peace of mind, but means you can boot from two entirely different configurations without even having to enter the bios. There are several fan headers in this area and an additional sata and USB 3.0 header for external devices. There is also an IEEE1394a Firewire port in the vicinity.
Connectivity at the rear of the board is exceptionally strong. There is support for older technology with a PS/2 keyboard and mouse port, above two USB 2.0 ports. There are six more USB 2.0 ports on the back as well as two USB 3.0 ports, which are coloured blue. eSATA is also offered, as well as BlueTooth 2.1, Optical S/PDIF-out, coaxial S/PDIF out and another IEEE1294a Firewire port. There are audio ports on the right and a 10/100/1000 LAN port. This is an extremely capable board if you demand the highest levels of connectivity.