MSI Big Bang XPower Review: X58, Military Style

Introduction and Specifications

The 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

The XPower is as much a love letter to enthusiasts as it is a motherboard; the company's verbage occasionally dips into phrasing better suited to a trashy romance novel. Allow us to provide a few examples:

"Through long-standing development and with much energy, MSI formed the state-of-the-art gaming line inspired by the mighty Big Bang...[which] will deliver the shock and awe of unprecedented gaming experience and expand into its own collection of galaxies." The board's military-grade components (more on those in a moment) offer "incredible long...potential." QuantumWave Audio processing "delivers the most powerful and realistic performance" and offers "the fullest...experience."

MSI Big Bang XPower
Specifications & Features

Processor Support 
LGA1366 Socket for Intel Core i7 Processors
Supports Intel TurboBoost Technology

 Intel X58  Chipset
Intel ICH10R Southbridge
 6 x DIMM, Max. 24 GB, DDR3 2133(OC) 1600/1333/ 1066MHz Non-ECC, Unbuffered RAM
Triple Channel memory architecture
Expansion Slots 
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x16 speed)
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x8 speed)
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 speed)
1 x PCIe 1.1 x1
Multi-GPU Support:
Supports  NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI Technology
Suports ATI Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology

Intel X58 Chipset
6 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports
Intel Matrix Storage Technology Support RAID 0,1,5,10

JMicron JMB362 eSATA controller
1 x External SATA 3.0 Gb/s port
1 x eSATA/USB 2 Port

Marvell PCIe SATA 6.0Gb/s Controller
2 x SATA 6.0 GB/s ports (gray)
QuantumWave Audio Card
Realtek ALC889

2 x Realtek 8111DL Gigabit LAN Controller
1 x IEEE1394a (VIA VT6315N) Internal
1 x IEEE1394a External

10 USB 2.0 ports (6 ports at back I/O, 4 ports onboard)
2 x USB 3.0 ports (blue)Back Panel I/O

1 x PS/2 keyboard port (purple)
1 x PS/2 mouse port (green)
1 x Clear CMOS
1 x D-LED2 Panel Connector
1 x 1394 Port
5 x USB 2 Ports
1 x eSATA Ports
1 x eSATA/USB 2.0 Ports
2 x LAN RJ-45 Ports
2 x USB 3.0 Ports
Internal I/O Connectors
2 x USB 2.0 Connectors
1 x 1394a Connector
1 x Chassis Intrusion Detector
1 x TPM Module Connector
1 x Reset Button
1 x Power Button
1 x GreenGenie Connector (Optional)
1 x Over-Voltage Switch
1 x Set Voltage Check Point
1 x OC Genie Button
2 x Base Clock Control Buttons
1 x Set Debug LED Panel

Form Factor
ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30 cm x 24.4 cm )

There's more. The Hi-c capacitors (used in lieu of solid capacitors) are "specially selected for those who want to bring their mainboard to the next level of...performance." They also ensure that a hardcore gamer's "rig" continues to operate "in extreme condition."

Tongues planted firmly in cheek, we move on to the motherboard's accessory bundle.


The XPower serves up a double portion of accessory goodness at a time when most manufacturers have cut back on bundled largesse. Included are six SATA cables, multiple CrossFire bridge cables of varying lengths, eSATA cables, an eSATA PCI bracket that includes external power, cables for the motherboard voltage checks, external overclocking control via breakout box, and an independent sound card designed to fit the board's single PCIe x1 slot.

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