MSI Big Bang X58 XPower review

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Performance - Dhrystone | Whetstone

Setup your monitor

Before playing games, setting up your monitor's contrast & brightness levels is a very important thing to do. I realized recently that a lot of you guys have set up your monitor improperly. How do we know this? Because we receive a couple of emails every now and then telling us that a reader can't distinguish between the benchmark charts (colors) in our reviews. We realized, if that happens, your monitor is not properly setup.


This simple test pattern is evenly spaced from 0 to 255 brightness levels, with no profile embedded. If your monitor is correctly set up, you should be able to distinguish each step, and each step should be roughly visually distinct from its neighbors by the same amount. As well, the dark-end step differences should be about the same as the light-end step differences. Finally, the first step should be completely black.

Note on overclocked results - typically we do not include overclocked results anymore into the baseline benchmarks. However, we felt that the Extreme3 obviously is deigned purely for the more extreme experience and thus decided to throw in the overclocked results at 4.2 GHz on the processor as well.

To us it would have made no sense to exclude the overclocked results.

DhryStone CPU test

We make use of a multi-threaded Dhrystone test from SiSoftware Sandra, which is basically a suite of arithmetic and string manipulating programs. Since the whole program should be really small, it fits into the processor cache. It can be used to measure two aspects, both the processor's speed as well as the optimizing capabilities of the compiler. The resulting number is the number of executions of the program suite per second.

First up, The SANDRA DhryStone and Whetstone tests. These two tests are pure unadulterated 100% CPU tests that run completely within the CPU + cache memory itself. A perfect test to see the general efficiency per core. Though one of the oldest, Dhrystone remains a simple yet extremely accurate and effective ways to show you RAW CPU processing performance making it a very good indicator. The rest of the processors are in the charts just for scaling.

So then, let me first explain how and what we will be testing and comparing in this article. Due to the nature of changes in our benchmark software we'll try and add many processors per benchmark title for you to compare to.

Your main focus should be on the dark orange bar. That is the Core i7 980X with default clock frequency and system BIOS defaults on the MSI Big Bang XPower. In light orange we added the processor overclock results at 4.5 GHz; to prove we were not kidding around with stability, we'll include these results in ALL our tests today.

You constantly compare to the other 980X entry in the benchmarks like the reference test and even the Rampage III Extreme. That is your default baseline, as that is the 980X processor on other Intel X58 motherboards.


The Whetstone benchmark is a synthetic benchmark for evaluating the performance of computers. It was initially written in Algol 60, back in 1972. The Whetstone benchmark originally measured computing power in units of kilo-Whetstone Instructions Per Second (kWIPS). This was later changed to Millions of Whetstone Instructions Per Second (MWIPS).

The Whetstone benchmark primarily measures the floating-point arithmetic performance. A similar benchmark for integer and string operations thus is the Dhrystone. As you can observe, the processing performance is just downright ridiculous (in a positive manner) if you have an application that can utilize six cores.

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