MSI Big Bang XPower Review: X58, Military Style

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News Posted: Mon, Aug 16 2010 12:48 PM

MSI's Big Bang XPower: X58, Military StyleThe MSI XPower series of motherboards is clearly designed to curry favor with overclocking enthusiasts and the high-end gamers Asus has targeted with its Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand. The XPower packs full support for all the latest buzzwords and capabilities, but MSI is also claiming to offer certain unique features that other manufacturers can't match currently. We're always interested in new innovations and ideas when it comes to motherboard design; let's take a look at the oomph behind MSI's Big Bang...

MSI Big Bang XPower Review: X58, Military Style

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realneil replied on Mon, Aug 16 2010 9:40 PM

Nice Mainboard!

It's just hard for me to wrap my brain around a $300.00 Mainboard. So many of the ones in the 120-140 dollar range are quite capable of delivering stellar performance. So I must agree that this is a board for enthusiasts,....those with money to burn. I wish them the best with it too.

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I feel the same way Neil, though since this is an X58 board your looking at $160~180 instead of $120~140.  Still a heck of a lot cheaper than $300 though.

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3vi1 replied on Tue, Aug 17 2010 6:38 PM

Agreed.  $250 is the most I ever spent on a motherboard, and what it taught me is that the tiny extra that you get isn't worth the $100 price jump.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Joel H replied on Wed, Aug 18 2010 2:18 PM

I understand the price remarks--I went to some trouble to highlight that lower-cost boards are still quite strong/preferred options, after all--but if you *are* looking for a high-end board, this is a good one. Luxury products always carry price premiums, but at least the premium on this one is smaller than its competition. ;)

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Marc B replied on Thu, Aug 19 2010 10:50 AM

This motherboard has 7 usable PCI-e slots. The other mobos offering this many slots are the ASUS P6T7 WS ($400) and the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD9 ($700). This board is not cheap, but it is still a very good deal for us that require more slots.

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Joel H replied on Thu, Aug 19 2010 12:25 PM

Marc.

Would you mind sharing what you use those slots for? As the article author, I'm quite curious. I can see using, say, four slots + the x1 slot (three video cards, one additional network card, and a separate sound card). Four slot boards, however, aren't too hard to find.

What sort of configurations actually make use of seven-slot boards?

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Aug 19 2010 9:53 PM

Isn't it obvious? You fill them up with PCI-E modems and run a BBS.

Wait... what year is it again?

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Marc B replied on Fri, Aug 20 2010 11:04 AM

Joel H:

The issue is less about needing all Q7 slots but the bandwidth limitations on boards with Q4 slots. On every X58 board with four slots I've looked at, the bandwidth is used up prior to the loading the fourth slot for my purposes. I need the slots for a new hot swap HD server that will also be used for video capture.

Below is my slot allocation:

Q1 PCIe x16 Slots - Video Card

Q2 x Pcie x8 Slots - Raid Card & Host Adapter

Q1 x Pcie x4 Slots - HD-SDI Capture Card

Regards,

Marc B.

 

 

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Joel H replied on Fri, Aug 20 2010 1:02 PM

Marc B,

It's not clear if you're planning to use a Big Bang, but I'm going to assume you will. You may want to refer to this:  http://hothardware.com/Reviews/MSIs-Big-Bang-XPower-X58-Military-Style/?page=5

You can't build a configuration above three cards that maintains an x16 electrical link to any one slot. I don't think this actually matters very much, since PCIe 2.0 x8 = x16 (and should handle the bandwidth needs of a single card just fine). Are there now PCIe x8 RAID cards that actually take advantage of that much bandwidth? Last I checked around most storage cards seemed to top out at x4 PCIe 1.1.

One other note. Depending on your GPU needs, you might be able to use a 4-slot board with attached x1 connectors. Zotac now builds a 512MB Ion video card that uses the x1 interface. This might let you reapportion your bandwidth in a more suitable configuration.

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lonewolf replied on Sun, Aug 22 2010 7:43 PM

Looks like a solid board but I agree lots of the features will never be put to use by the average Joe. With that said its good to see MSI putting out a quality product.

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digitaldd replied on Tue, Aug 24 2010 8:53 AM

Wow This looks like a new Motherboard for Dr. Sheldon Cooper. he can put 6 Nvidia video cards in it an do his quantum physics calculations on the GPUs. Wink

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A lot of MSI's boards actually have most of those features, even the sub $200 boards (including the OC genie and the voltage meter) and the higher end ones are just more overclockable ala EVGA (although I don't think MSI has a V series that is unoverclockable because the bios is limited like EVGA)

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slugbug replied on Tue, Aug 24 2010 8:40 PM

Boards like this are tailor made for the folding@home crowd. Fill up the slots with Nvidia video cards and you'll have your own personal folding farm.

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Joel H replied on Tue, Aug 24 2010 10:49 PM

I hadn't thought of that. Seven high-end GPUs would make for an awful toasty system. ;)

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crowTrobot replied on Wed, Aug 25 2010 10:31 AM

MSI's K9A2 platinum has been king of folding mobos for a while (was MSI the first to put a lot of x16 slots on a non-ws mobo?), although the xpower costs a little bit more than that, the price seems to be a lot better than evga classified or rampage iii extreme.

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slugbug replied on Mon, Aug 30 2010 8:25 PM

And keep your feet warm during the cold Winter months Wink

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AKnudson replied on Tue, Dec 6 2011 10:17 PM

If msi can deliver upon the somewhat heady statements made i those articles, i see no reason why a hardcore gamer wouldn't die for the opprotunity to assemble this with the latest and greatest he can find throw in the sandy bridge i-7 and you have a system that will last you as long as you will change the graphics card.

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3 years on, and i am just able to get my hands on two, of these beasts. i had not the ability or the resources to do it earlier, and am going over this article and committing it to memory. i have installed i960's, and have a good air cooler. Memory is lower cost now. i have 3x8 GB ripjaws, , with everything, installed in a 4U table top rackmount case. . i got these two " little used beasts " at an auction of cctv equipment. So , i pulled the 16 channel video recording card out. a current 900 dollar item, and traded up to WD Red Drives , i am good to go, and i am grinning ear to ear. Thanks all for your comments. Come to Vancouver one day, lets have fun, settle down with a sweet heart, and be prudent and responsible, one system is for Video and JPG's , the other, i have connected to my 100 Mb second, internet provider. i am looking at Day Trading, " a whole other story " OH Yea, this set up, is going to last me a few years, say to 2015 Aug. when i think about, " just think about " getting DDR4, and the PCIe 4.0 ? / Naw Cheers all, Thanks Author,

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