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MSI Big Bang XPower review

MSI's motherboard has astronomical power

Just one look at the Big Bang XPower and you can see MSI mean business with this board – the build quality is really top notch. The X58 Northbridge and the major power circuitry are cooled by passive heatsinks connected by thicker than normal 8mm heatpipes (MSI claims that the thicker pipes increase thermal efficiency and therefore aid cooling).

MSI's Big Bang XPower is very well laid out with plenty of room around the CPU socket, which allows for some fairly big third party coolers to be fitted – you might need it if you tackle the plethora of overclocking options MSI have given the board.

The six memory slots – remember the X58 is a triple channel memory supporting chipset – have latches only on the far side of the slot so that they don't interfere with the massively cooled graphics card the Big Bang XPower cries out for.

If you were in any doubt that the Big Bang XPower is a power user's board, there are two eight-pin 12V power connectors, which are handily placed near to the board's edge. There's also an edge-mounted block next to the SATA ports, which enables the use of a voltage meter to check the real time voltage going to various components such as the CPU, memory and both chipset bridges.

The base of the board contains a small panel which holds the OC Genie (automatic overclocking) button and four other touch-sensitive areas; Power, Reset and two Direct OC controls.

We liked

A very well put together board, MSI's Big Bang XPower features top notch build quality and a feature list you've come to expect from a motherboard aimed at enthusiasts. The one nice surprise is the price tag.

Okay, at over £250 you need deep pockets and long arms, but this is actually a very good price for a board like this. Some of its competitors will run you well over £300.

We disliked

Despite all the PCI-E slots, the board doesn't support quad SLI, but it does support quad CrossFire.

Verdict

Yes, it's reasonably expensive even though, to its credit, MSI has tried to keep the price down, but it's a basically a niche product for the enthusiast. It could even make the basis of a decent workstation, because you do get an awful lot of motherboard for your money.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelX58 Express
Multi GPU SupportedCrossFireX, SLI
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots2
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket B LGA-1366
Brand NameMSI
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedCore i7
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory24 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots6
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces10
QuickPath Interconnect6.40 GT/s
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots7
eSATAYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Total Number of USB Ports7
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
Total Number of FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports2
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports2
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
Total Number of PCI Express Slots7
Processor TechnologyEnhanced SpeedStep Technology
Width244 mm
Depth305 mm
ManufacturerMicro-Star International Co., Ltd
Product ModelXPower
Product NameBig Bang XPower Desktop Motherboard
Product LineBig Bang
Controller TypeSerial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part NumberBIG BANG XPOWER
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.msicomputer.com
Marketing Information

The XPower Series mainboards are based on Intel X58 & ICH10R chipsets for optimal system efficiency. Designed to fit the advanced Intel Bloomfield LGA1366 processor, the XPower Series deliver a high performance and professional desktop platform solution.

Limited Warranty3 Year