MSI X79 Big Bang XPower II review -
When we flip the board around a little we stumble into the processor area. Reasonably spacious, the eight DIMM slots draw attention but do cost space. But it makes sense to have them as close as possible to the processor (memory controllers) for optimal signal quality of course. The bullets strike the eyes as well as the 7 PCIe slots. But let's investigate a little further.
Bear in mind that socket LGA 2011 requires a new retention mechanism, meaning you either need often to upgrade the CPU cooler brackets, purchase a compatible cooler or alternatively go with some nice liquid cooled SKU, it's really worth it of you like to overclock a little.
It's subtle, but if you look at the heatsink to the left, that's based of a Gatling gun design.
We spot two 8-pin CPU power headers, placed nicely at the side of the motherboard. That's a lot of power that you can seed into the processor alright, the board has 22 power phases. The two 8-pin headers can, in theory, add 300 Watts just to the CPU.
Components wise we only see good stuff, solid capacitors, Hi-c CAPs, SFC's and of course DrMOS II has been implemented for higher power efficiency and better thermal protection. This all falls within MSI's Military design concept. The components that apply to this follow military standard certifications.
There is 8 x DIMM support for a whopping total of 128 GB memory, default DDR3 memory support there is for unbuffered DIMMs at 1.5 Volts, DDR3 2400/2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules. Obviously, depending on the number of DIMMS in use, you get support for Single, Dual-channel and Quad-channel (four DIMM) mode. XMP profiles are fully supported and confirmed working by us. We used a 16GB Quad channel kit from GSKILL (Ripjaws-Z), 16Gb doesn't seem that much after I just mentioned 128Gb doesn't it? :)
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.