All hail Megatron!... Oh whoops, sometimes when you review hardware you get these weird vibes. See MSI today launches their Big Bang XPower II motherboard, a military themed motherboard for which they took the Intel Sandy Bridge-E chipset called X79, then they started designing a motherboard that will knock you off your feet once you place your first glimpse on it.
With a slight hint towards Gigabyte's Sniper series they took an all black PCB, added all black components and connectors. The they took a Gatling gun themed heatsink and placed some fake bullets in the chipset. Though that gun theme is not very much appreciated by the high-end crown (from what we hear), this implementation was managed with a certain subtlety that we seem to like.
So when the X79 chipset launched weeks ago, all motherboard manufacturers jumped on that bandwagon as they have noticed severe e-peen potential ever since they received their first Sandy bridge-E processors. All of them launched a rather sizable amount of X79 motherboards in different shapes and sizes.
MSI as well launched several X79 motherboards like the entire GD series. The Big bang XPower II however is top dog, the uber flagship, the Ying versus the Yang. A very complete motherboard I must say, with all kinds of gadgets and fresh looks.
The design from ground up has the intention to make your overclocking experience a smooth experience whilst getting the best features and looks. You'll spot the usual Power and Reset on-board buttons, but also a series of more advanced features such as dedicated voltage measurement points, a POST debug display, dual-BIOS, a low temperature boot jumper as well as a series of DIP switches for enabling or disabling one or multiple of the seven PCI Express x16 slots installed.
Four of these PCIe slots are linked into the Sandy Bridge-E processor and are PCI gen 3.0 compatible, while the remaining three are controlled by an added PLX PEX8608 IC chip, which will be good ol' PCIe Gen 2 complaint.
Next to the stunning looks you'll see eight DDR3 memory slots but also 10 SATA ports of which six are driven by the X79 PCH chipset and 4 by an ASMedia 1061 controller. That gives this motherboard a good six SATA3 (6 Gbps) ports (and four SATA2)
Of course two USB 3.0 ports was the hip thing to add in 2011, well in 2012 things get better. You will find six USB 3.0 ports powered by NEC ICs, there are two Gigabit NICs coming from Intel ICs, 8 channel audio with digital and optical S/PDIF out, a Clear CMOS button and a Firewire port. Two USB 3.0 ports are available through an on-board header we must add.
The Big Bang-XPower II is definitely a motherboard that isn't short of anything really.
Power to the CPU is delivered through a whopping 22 Phase PWM Design with a maximum output power of 770 Watts hence you'll spot two 8-pin ATX CPU power connectors (don't worry you can use just one). Anyway, head on over to the next page where we'll discuss the X79 chipset, the respective MSI X79 Big bang XPower II. Then we'll throw a decent photo-shoot and a benchmark suite at the products and get an indication what performance is like with the Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E) and X79 Platform.
MSI X79 Big Bang XPower II review MSI today launches their Big Bang XPower II motherboard, we review and test it. A military themed motherboard for which they took the Intel Sandy Bridge-E chipset called X79, then they started designing a motherboard that will knock you of your feet once you place your first glimpse on it.