MSI Big Bang X58 XPower review

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Final Words & Conclusion


Final Words & Conclusion

There is a lot we can conclude on with the XPower motherboard. Fact is .. I like it, I really like it a lot. The sheer performance, the component usage, the layout and design all works out just really well.

The baseline performance is top notch, and when you start to overclock, then that's where things really take of. If you use the OC Genie then you can expect a  very spicy overclock, with the motherboard arranging that all by itself.

You power down the PC. Then push the OC Genie button. And power on the PC. Now within a second or four your PC will start to post at its new impressive overclock. Our 3.33 GHz clocked Core i7 980X processor was then overclocked to 4.1 GHz while our memory was tweaked to its rated 1866 MHz CAS 8 -- pretty close to its optimal XMP profile. So yeah, that's enchanting. I really like the OC Genie function. If you need some extra power, use it. If you like to preserve power and do daily things on your PC, leave the PC at default (as if that would be slow with a system like this).

Manual overclocking does not suck either, enforcing liquid cooling on the processor allowed us to drive it even further than what we would normally achieve on air-cooling. We got to 4.5 GHz and that my friends is just a really good result. Reaching even higher performance would require us to use phase-change cooling, dry ice or liquid nitrogen. We did reach 4.7 GHz as well, but temperatures really became an issue for the processor. Well, we where happy @ a 100% stable 4.5 GHz.

Any negatives? Two dislikes I stumbled into. I am not fond of the touch buttons. I prefer the good old fashions button and not electro magnetic sensing stuff. Especially during overclocking you want a certain feel.

The second negative has to be the fact that MSI decided to not include NVIDIA NF200 ICs. The result is that we have six (!) PCI-Express slots, but we can't even use quad-SLI. The NF200 ICs are a mandatory requirement from NVIDIA, locked at driver level. Now I understand the logic of sheer added cost of the chips, which made MSI drop that option. Then again, if you chunk down so much money for a motherboard you certainly do not mind spending a little more. The fact that this motherboard is not supporting Quad SLI, much like the ASUS Rampage III Extreme, is a bit of a bummer for the professional overclockers trying to break records.  These motherboards are supposed to be the best of the best, breaking 3DMark records and what not. As such you'll immediately stumble into that limitation. Quad Crossfire however IS possible, but scales worse than NVIDIA's latest and greatest.

These two things are the only remarks really for what otherwise seems to be a near perfect motherboard. Grand performance on everything, plenty of bandwidth for the USB 3.0 and SATA3 6G controller ... yeah we are very much impressed as the feature set is just astonishing.

The MSI Big Bang XPower motherboard is spectacular in all its ways, the really nice design, the exceptional arrangement of all apparatus used, the high class components, the functions, the wide variety of options, the overclockability, the OC Dashboard, the extra audio options with that added  PCIe x1 Quantum Wave audio card that supports THX TruStudio PC and Creative EAX Advanced HD 5.0

besthardwareaward4.jpgThe Big Bang series motherboards are seriously impressive, the XPower being the most impressive one of them all. Now you'd probably expect a motherboard with these features and kit to rise to 400 EUR and above, availability is limited right now, but we spotted it as low as 300~325 USD/EUR already. And that's cheaper than other brand X58 enthusiast class motherboards with a whole lot more features all right.

It is a lot of money for a motherboard, true. But well worth investment we say. Two quirks aside, it's worthy of our best hardware award that we hand out very rare and only so often. Well done MSI, what a pleasure this motherboard was to work on.

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