MSI Big Bang XPower Intel X58 Motherboard
Author: Frank Stroupe
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 07-26-2010
Provided by: MSI

I have never had to use an entire page in a motherboard review just for accessories included with the board, but I have never received so many accessories with one motherboard before. The Big Bang XPower has a huge amount of stuff, so much that there is a motherboard sized box just for the accessories.

But on top of the stuff is the coolest thing of all…a clear plastic folder with a sheet called the “Performance Reference Table”, a record of where some MSI tech actually overclocked the motherboard before it left the factory. This is a feature of all Big Bang boards. In his own handwriting, the tech notes the hardware used, which included an Intel Core i7 980X six core processor, the overclock attained (BCLK speed and CPU ratio), and some benchmark scores (3DMark06 and 3DMark Vantage, Far Cry2, Street Fighter TV, Cinebench11, and some Everest scores).

This sheet of paper means that someone actually made sure that a decent overclock could be attained with this board…probably not a big deal to me or anyone else that has overclocked at least one of each of the last few generations of both AMD and Intel's processors including both versions of Core i7, but should be a big boost to someone overclocking for the first time, or overclocking an LGA 1366 CPU for the first time.

Though technically I suppose not an accessory, first is the sound card, an MSI QuantumWave which is a feature of MSI Big Bang motherboards. It is a Realtec ALC889 codec utilizing THX TruStudio Pro, which enables Creative EAX Advanced HD 5.0. SoundBlaster fans will appreciate this card's use of the latest Creative technology. It has 7.1 HD audio, coaxial and optical S/PDIF.

The Big Bang OC Dashboard is a multipurpose LED display that has three functions: In Function 1 it displays the debug information during POST, preventing you from having to bend over and peer into the case to see the digital readout. In Function 2 the OC Dashboard entirely takes over the function of Direct OC. Patched directly into the OC Genie chip, it gives the same instant control as the motherboard controls. It even allows for voltage adjustment, making it a complete external OC control. In Function 3, the Dashboard serves as a hardware monitor checking out voltages, temps, and fan speeds. Of course included in the accessories are the two necessary cables for the OC Dashboard.

M-Connectors are cool little devices where you plug the case header wires into the M-Connector then plug it into the motherboard, making handling the wires a little easier for those of us who need glasses and/or are all thumbs. Also included are four V-Check cables, plug one end into the multimeter and the other end into the motherboard V-Check port.

With all of the different video card capabilities, MSI has thoughtfully included some bridges for some video card scaling goodness. Included is a 3-way SLI bridge, a 2-way SLI bridge, and a couple of Crossfire bridges.

MSI also includes a two-port USB 2.0 expansion bracket if the seven on the I/O panel aren't enough. And you gotta have an I/O shield.

An eSATA expansion bracket is included that has a pair of eSATA ports and a 4-pin Molex connector. Also included is an eSATA cable and an insulated / filtered SATA power cable with a pair of connectors.

And finally, you get six SATA cables, four with straight connectors and a pair with angled connectors; and three Molex/SATA power adapters intended for the interior of the case.

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