A Closer Look
Unfortunately, I don’t have three nVidia Tesla C1060s and an nVidia Quattro FX5800, all costing somewhere in the neighborhood of $8200, to demonstrate the Tesla Personal Supercomputer aspects of the X58 SuperComputer. If you didn’t know, this GPU computing technology is capable of producing computing power up to 250 times of a single PC. Some pretty incredible stuff.
Overall, the motherboard looks pretty standard for a mainstream level board. A few differences stick out, I’ll mention them as I get to them. I do like the SB cooler, the graphics leave no doubt as to what you’re running in your rig.
First thing I noticed is the CPU socket is much closer to the upper edge of the motherboard than most, obviously to accommodate the quad PCI-E slots. This may affect the placement and orientation of the CPU cooler, we’ll see later. Missing is the SATA slot that ASRock normally places between the CPU and the rear of the I/O panel. Not needed on this board.
The X58 SuperComputer has four x16 double-spaced PCI-E slots to accommodate the Tesla system, no single-spaced slots here. It will also support Quad-SLI and CrossfireX. ASRock has sandwiched three PCI slots in there too. Though they are placed in the center of the motherboard, we find four 3-pin fan connectors here, I just recently started using them, and find the pair of them that ASRock usually places on a motherboard cramping my style. A long video card will hide the wires going to the fanbuses.
ASRock has used side-facing SATA ports on the X58 Supercomputer. Very nice. Looking at the lower front edge of the board, we find the case header connectors missing, only the speaker port is here, along with probably the easiest accessible CCMOS jumper I have ever seen. The board sports six SATA ports.
ASRock has placed a label over the memory slots explaining memory placement. X58 memory placement isn’t what we are accustomed to with the LGA 775 boards. Besides triple-channel, the board also supports dual-channel memory configurations, though Intel highly recommends that memory voltage is set no higher than 1.65v.
The board supports up to 24 gigs of memory as provided by the X58 chipset. It also supports up to DDR3-2000, though be aware that any memory speed over DDR3-1600 involves overclocking the CPU.
Here we find the case header connectors and the internal USB ports. If you think about it, this is where they should have been all along, being probably the hardest wires to hide for those of us that are anal about cable management.
Some nice additions are on the I/O panel, these definitely aren’t ASRock’s typical external connectors. Most notable is the powered eSATA port. I haven’t seen one yet personally, but there are external drives out there popping up that are powered via the eSATA port rather than a brick or wall wart. There are also dual LAN ports, something you don’t normally find on ASRock’s boards. There are also PS/2 ports, coaxial and optical S/PDIF, six USB ports IEEE 1394a, and HD Audio.
The bundle is also pretty significant for an ASRock board. Included is six of ASRock’s great locking SATA cables, a pair of SATA power adapters, a pair of very long CrossFire bridges, a regular 2-way SLI bridge, a long 2-way SLI bridge, and a 3-way SLI bridge. Also included are a pair of ribbon cables.