Moving up the right side of the board, we find six SATA connectors in stacks of two along the edge of the PCB. The four blue connectors are regular SATA 3 while the two white connectors are for SATA 6 drives. The ICH10R controller supports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. The Marvell 9128 controller handles the two SATA 6 ports.
Further up is the 24-pin ATX power connector, a 3-pin fan header, a 4 pin header, DRAM LED, MemOK! button and a jumper to overvolt the CPU.
The MemOK! feature allows your motherboard to boot even if there might be some compatibility issues between the board and the memory you are using. I have personally run into this issue in the past and had no choice but to boot with different memory then relax the timings in the BIOS in order to accept the original memory.
If your memory won't boot in the board, the LED beside the MemOK! button will light up red. Press and hold down the MemOK! button until the red LED beside the button begins flashing, meaning it is entering the compatibility tuning mode. During this process the system loads and tests failsafe settings. The system may reboot a few times as it cycles through its battery of tests. If successful, the system will boot up. If not, the LED will change to solid red and you need to try different memory.
The P6X58D-E supports up to 24GB of triple channel DDR3 memory at speeds of 1066/1333/1600/2000. For three stick triple channel configurations, you will want to use the blue DIMM slots. Other configurations are outlined in the user manual.
Across the top of the board is another 4-pin fan header and the 8-pin power connector.
The area around the CPU socket is pretty clear and will allow you to mount most any heatsink or water block without clearance issues.
The VRMs (voltage regulation modules) are covered by two large passive heatsinks connected with a heatpipe. VRM chips regulate how much power the CPU and other components receive from the system's power supply. This board uses a 16+2 Phase Power Design that allocates 16 phases for the VCore and 2 phases for the memory controller inside the CPU. ASUS claim this provides greater power efficiency, reduces heat on power components and extends the overall life of the motherboard.
You may have also noticed the 100% high quality conductive polymer capacitors and ferrite core chokes scattered across the board. These capacitors are a huge upgrade from the traditional ones that populated boards of the past and should help extend the life of the board for many more years.
The rear panel I/O connector includes the following, from left to right: PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, clear CMOS button, two USB 3.0 ports, coaxial S/PDIF out, optical S/PDIF out, two USB 2.0 ports, 1394 FireWire, Ethernet Jack, two more USB 2.0 ports and a 6-jack audio panel.
On the back side of the motherboard is a single blue heatsink, part of ASUS' Stack Cool 3+. Stack Cool 3+ is what ASUS has named the passive heatsink cooling system we saw on the front of the board earlier.
You may have noticed that there are no IDE / Floppy drive connectors on this board. I can't remember the last time I used a floppy drive and its been at least a few years since I last had an IDE-based optical drive. These are both well behind us at this point and I'm glad to see that ASUS have done away with them on this board.
This covers the physical layout of the motherboard. Let's move ahead and check out the hardware we will be using.