When the EVGA X58 SLI was running we initially found it was pleasantly quiet however the chipset cooler rapidly warmed up and the thermally controlled 50mm fan spun into action and stabilised the temperature of the heatsink at 45 degrees Celsius. The fan makes an insistent, annoying whirring sound so we unplugged the power connector and found that the heatsink got unpleasantly hot. Judging the noise to be the lesser of two evils we reconnected the fan. If you have a yen for cooling you'll be glad to hear that EVGA has supplied a total of six fan headers so you can still connect up to four more case fans alongside the chipset and CPU coolers.
EVGA's inclusion of an onboard debug display sounds quite conventional but this is a debug display with a difference. During POST it displays error codes to help you track down problems, which is quite standard, but once the system is running Windows it displays your CPU temperature, which isn't. We were able to see that our Core i7 965 Extreme idles at 29 degrees with the temperature rising to 54 degrees under load.
We had to update the BIOS before we started testing and saw that we had a choice of downloading the BIOS update as a BIN file that we could update from DOS or a USB key. Alternatively we could download an ISO image and burn it to CD. We chose the latter course, booted to the CD and watched the AwardBIOS Flash Utility run automatically. It's hardly a complicated process but we would've preferred to see a Windows installer option.
There are two ways you can overclock your Core i7 with the EVGA X58 SLI. There's the traditional method of diving into the BIOS to click voltages and clock speeds up and down. It works well enough and the BIOS is a fine piece of work but it is left for dead by the E-LEET utility, which EVGA includes with this board. It's based on CPUID so shows the usual system information but in addition there are two tabs; one for clock speeds and the other for voltages. Change your settings, click the Apply button and you're done, just like that. Oh, and it's only a tiny 1.6MB in size as well. Version 1.01 of E-LEET is supplied with the motherboard but we were unable to download version 1.04 from EVGA's website until we had registered a profile with EVGA and then went on to register the serial number of our X58 SLI motherboard.
We were able to clock our Core i7 965 to 3.92GHz at 28x140MHz which is essentially the same speed we achieved with the Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P.
EVGA's first stab at a motherboard with an Intel chipset is a solid piece of work but it lacks any truly outstanding features, has an annoyingly loud cooler on the northbridge, and the price is a little on the high side.