EVGA HAS MANAGED to gain a fair bit of fame for its unusual and often quite good motherboards, but its latest creation that was sneak previewed on Twitter a couple of days ago is a monster of a motherboard. Not only does it feature two LGA1366 CPU sockets, but it also has six memory slots and seven PCI Express x16 slots. However, there’s one slight problem with this board, it uses a proprietary form factor.
Every now and then products like this appear, but very rarely do we see a single motherboard manufacturer that decides to go its own way when it comes to motherboard form factors. The server market is somewhat different and with both Tyan and SuperMicro doing their own thing, it seems like EVGA figured it could pull a fast one as well. EVGA has already come up with its own version of the ATX standard which it calls XL-ATX which was used by its X58 Classified 4-way SLI board.
The XL-ATX standard is 1.5-inches longer than your standard ATX motherboard and it seems like this new dual socket board is using the same length. However, it’s also much wider than the 10.3-inches of the E-ATX standard (which the XL-ATX board didn’t go beyond) and we’re estimating that the board is around 14.5-inches wide. This means that it’s going to be extremely difficult to find a suitable case for this motherboard, if you’re one of those people who think having a case for your PC is important that is.
We’re not quite sure how EVGA has wired this board either, but it appears to only have a single chipset. Considering that the LGA-1366 processors still rely on the chipset as the PCI Express lane interface, be it the X58 chipset or one of Intel’s workstation models, it’s easy to see that there aren’t enough PCI Express lanes to cater for seven x16 slots. As such EVGA appears to have implemented a pair of nForce 200 chips on the board and there are at least three sets of digital switches.
The board also has an extremely unusual amount of power connectors and apart from the main 24-pin ATX power connector and two 8-pin 12V connectors – one for each CPU – the board also has three 6-pin power connectors. It would be possible to power this board off a “standard” PSU, but you’d need a second PSU for the graphics cards, as we’re not aware of a PSU with enough power connectors to cater for this board with four graphics cards. EVGA also appear to have gone for a digital PWM solution for the CPUs, but stuck with a more traditional design for the memory and chipset.
Other little titbits include eight SATA connectors, an IDE connector, a set of power, reset and clear CMOS buttons, a debug LED display and a pair of USB headers. It’s unclear what the rear I/O looks like, but an educated guess is that you’ll find at least one PS/2 port, six to eight USB 2.0 ports, eSATA, possibly USB 3.0, a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports (the Marvell chips are clearly visible in the picture), 7.1-channel audio and a connector for EVGA’s proprietary EVBot overclocking tool. If we’re not blind, the board also appears to have three BIOS chips, of which one is mounted in a removable socket, although this seems like overkill.
This is a very peculiar motherboard, but if you want to shock and awe, this is a good start. This might just be a prototype board, but it looks a little bit too close to a final product to be just that. It’s also unclear if this will work with more than one Core i7 processor, although it’s very likely that you’ll have to fit it with Xeon’s. EVGA will be showing off this board at CES, but the question is, will you be able to afford it?S|A
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