While we were browsing through the infinite feed of Twitter updates this morning, we sighted some very special Computex 2010 updates from our friend Jacob Freeman, Product Manager and Professional Enthusiast at EVGA. Although very brief in context, he revealed some upcoming product refreshes for the EVGA X58 SLI and EVGA X58 SLI Classified lineups as well as an upcoming full-tower chassis with an embedded EVGA Control Panel (ECP) on the front panel.
Last Monday, the company decided to optimize its Intel X58/ICH10R chipset combination by introducing a product refresh named the EVGA X58 FTW3. Today, Jacob has hinted at two new motherboards to join the new X58 “3” Series family with the names EVGA X58 SLI3 and EVGA X58 Classified3.
The X58 SLI3 motherboard is essentially identical to the EVGA X58 SLI released in November 2008, including the same analog PWM layout, with the addition of two USB 3.0 ports and two SATA 6Gbps ports. However, the heatsink layout has been modified to a passive chipset cooling design which should be welcomed by prospective consumers.
In addition, the X58 Classified3 is nearly identical to the EVGA X58 Classified E760 released in May 2009 with the addition of two USB 3.0 ports and two SATA 6Gbps ports. However, it features a slightly different southbridge heatsink design. Unfortunately, we wish the company would have followed the path of the Classified E759 Limited Edition model and included an NForce 200 bridge chip on this refresh. On the bright side, that just means that E759 owners gain additional worth to their boards, which were only sold for a very limited two months.
The product guide also reveals a PCI-E x1 add-in USB 3.0 hardware accessory for current EVGA motherboard owners. Dubbed the EU30, this card will provide an additional two USB 3.0 ports that can transfer up to 5 gigabits per second.
The final product that Jacob hinted about is a full-tower chassis with an embedded EVGA ECP on the front panel. In fact, Cooler Master has been hinting this same chassis on its Facebook fan page for the past few days. When asked about the details, we were told that EVGA had partnered with Cooler Master to release a full-tower chassis capable of fitting the EVGA Classified SR-2 dual socket motherboard as well as four dual slot GeForce GTX 480s in Quad-SLI configuration. We hope to find more details on this soon.
In all honesty, we were not expecting EVGA to introduce new products in its high-end X58 lineup. But given the atmosphere of the industry at the moment, it doesn’t seem to be a bad marketing strategy. Consider the fact that the Intel Nehalem / X58 chipset platform launched in November 2008 and will not be replaced until Sandy Bridge E releases in Q3 2011. This gives the LGA 1366 platform a full two and a half years of dominance as the high-end desktop platform.
When EVGA launched its X58 SLI motherboard in November 2008, it made sure to include all the basic necessities for performance overclocking, adequate power management and GPU expandability. As time progressed, lead motherboard engineer and technology evangelist Peter Tan ‘Shamino’ decided to take matters two steps further with the introduction of the EVGA X58 SLI Classified series. The first model that released in March 2009 featured almost every possible specification that any overclocking enthusiast could want. The power management layout was completely overkill, the four PCI-Express 2.0 slots ensured Tri-SLI + PhysX would be possible, and the color scheme promoted the board’s famous appeal to the enthusiast community. At the end of August 2009, Shamino stepped up the company’s game even further by creating a Classified masterpiece with 4-way SLI capability, a board that has only recently come under fire by several competitors appealing to the same market.
By the time EVGA had announced its absolutely overkill Classified SR-2 dual socket motherboard at CES 2010, the question to be considered was if the company could possibly innovate its single socket Classified lineup any further than it already had. With a company motto promoting “Intelligent Innovation,” we could only hope that it had at least one small thought in mind for the quarterly product cycle. Within the past 9 months since the introduction of Intel’s P55 chipset, the only hardware improvements that have been made in the motherboard business are the introductions of the USB 3.0 standard and the implementation of SATA 6Gbps controllers. As such, EVGA decided to include these features in its product lifecycle refresh in order to show loyal customers that it is willing to provide the most up-to-date hardware specifications in its motherboard feature set, despite an incredibly lengthy wait until the next platform refresh in Q3 2011.
Pricing and availability of the EVGA X58 SLI3, EVGA X58 Classified3, EVGA EU30 and Cooler Master chassis with EVGA Classified SR-2 support will be announced shortly.