You’d think an Intel chipset would stand the best chance in a board designed by Intel. That’s not the case. The desktop partner to Intel’s crazy-ass Skulltrail platform, the DX48BT2 board is code-named Bonetrail, and of the four boards here, it is the most disappointing. The first misstep stares you right in the face: The six SATA ports are in a silly location and point straight up. Mount any dual-GPU card in the board and you block access to two ports. With a dual dual-GPU configuration, you lose access to four of the six SATA ports. Right-angle cables would help you regain access to two of those ports—too bad Intel doesn’t include them.
The good news is that the board is based on Intel’s hot, new X48 chipset. With support for a wider array of older CPUs than the nForce boards, there’s something to be said for having an Intel-branded chipset. Stability and reliability are hallmarks of the name. On the other hand, those qualities sometimes come at the expense of performance—at least that’s been our experience with Intel-branded chipsets and boards. The DX48BT2 didn’t back our expectations. It trailed the other motherboards in almost every benchmark, albeit not by huge margins.
The DX48BT2 was also the most difficult board to overclock. We just couldn’t push the board as hard as the others without lock ups. More annoyingly, if you blow an overclock, the board falls into a reboot loop instead of just resetting, as the other boards here do. Admittedly, some fault lies with the overclocker, but the unfriendly nature of the BIOS certainly didn’t help us. Don’t get us wrong: Overclocking is possible—you just need to jump through hoops to get there. We would recommend this board as a nice, safe choice for a conservative family member, but we wouldn’t use it ourselves.
x48-based chipset boasts wider CPU support than nForce boards; generally stable.
Not particularly fast; difficult to overclock; unfriendly BIOS.