Asus P6T Deluxe Intel Core i7 motherboard
Intel's X58 chipset makes an early appearance
The rest of the layout is classic Asus, which is to say that it's very well done and also fairly predictable. Asus has used a 16+2-phase power design with 16 phases for the core voltage and another two phases for the memory controller, which is, of course, inside the CPU. That’s an awful lot of hardware to pack in around the CPU socket but Asus has made a very neat job of the task.
Six DDR 3 DIMM slots and PCI aplenty
There are three PCI Express 2.0 slots but the spacing of the slots and distribution of PCI Express bandwidth - 16+16 or 16+8+8 lanes - means that you’ll be effectively limited to using two graphics cards. Which isn’t much of a limit, of course.
The big news, in case you’ve been asleep under a rock for the past few months, is that X58 supports both Crossfire and SLI. The motherboard manufacturer has to cough up an SLI licence fee to Nvidia which unlocks SLI as an option for that particular model of motherboard without any need for the horrible nForce 200 add-in chip. Asus has done the deed and included a copy of GeForce 178.20 drivers with our sample so no doubt the retail boxes will include both SLI and CrossFire connectors.
The other expansion slots are one PCIe x4 slot and two PCI slots, with the SATA, SAS and IDE connectors neatly arranged along the edge of the board. For some reason, Asus felt the need to include a floppy connector at the foot of the board alongside the Firewire and USB headers and the Power and Reset micro buttons. If it had ditched the antique floppy connector, perhaps it would have seen fit to include a Clear CMOS button.
Longer bars are better