Advertisement
Advertisement

MSI X58 Pro review

Seth Barton
21 May 2009
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
165
inc VAT

Advertisement

Specifications

LGA1366, ATX, Intel X58 chipset, supports: Core i7, Core i7 Extreme Edition

Intel's Core i7 processors are both powerful and expensive, but it's not only the price of the processor that stings your wallet.

It requires DDR3 memory, which costs around 50 per cent more than DDR2 memory. Worse still, the only motherboard chipset to support Core i7 is Intel's X58, and most X58 motherboards cost well over £200. Thankfully, MSI's X58 Pro is available for a slightly more reasonable £162 including VAT.

The X58 Pro supports the full range of current Core i7 processors. There are plenty of options for overclocking. You can set the processor's base clock speed and tweak the QuickPath Interconnect, which connects the processor to the memory and other system devices. There are also exhaustive menus for adjusting voltage and memory timings.

The board has six memory slots for DDR3 modules, so you can use triple-channel memory kits. It supports memory rated at up to only PC3-10600, although this isn't a disaster as faster memory is expensive. Like other Core i7 boards, the X58 Pro supports up to 24GB of RAM.

We tested the board using a 2.66GHz Intel Core i7-920 processor with 3GB of RAM. The results were impressive, with the scores in every benchmark exceeding anything we've seen before. Its overall PCMark Vantage score of 5,805 is five per cent quicker than any board we've tested before.

As well as being fast, the X58 Pro is well equipped. It has three PCI-Express x16 slots, so you could run three compatible Radeon graphics cards in a CrossFireX configuration. However, in this case the third slot runs at just x4, which could limit the card's capabilities. This motherboard has no SLI support for multiple Nvidia graphics cards, either. These problems shouldn't worry people who are building a fast new PC, but those who already have multiple Nvidia cards may want to look elsewhere.

The board's other slots include two PCI-Express x1 slots and two PCI slots. These are sensibly positioned so that even with two large graphics cards fitted in your PC, you'll still be able to use one slot of each type. The six SATA ports on the edge of the board are easily accessible and won't be blocked by large cards. You can use these to set up a RAID 0, 1, 5 or 10 array.

The rear of the X58 Pro has all the ports you're likely to need. FireWire and eSATA ports sit alongside six USB ports. The six mini-jack audio outputs support 8-channel surround sound audio, and there's also an optical S/PDIF output. The board lacks a coaxial S/PDIF, though, and has only a single Gigabit Ethernet port.

MSI's X58 Pro slices around £50 off the cost of building a Core i7 PC, which is a significant saving. Despite this, it still has all the features that most users are likely to need and is quicker than any other X58-based board we've see. Core i7 still isn't suitable for everyone, with Phenom II-based PCs providing plenty of performance for less money overall, but if you need to build a powerhouse of a computer, this is the motherboard for you.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
Processor socketLGA1366
Form factorATX
Size305x244mm
Processor supportCore i7, Core i7 Extreme Edition
Processor external bus133MHz (3.2GHz QuickPath Interconnect)
Chipset north bridgeIntel X58
Chipset south bridgeIntel ICH10R
Passively-cooled north bridgeyes
Integrated graphicsNo
Supported memory typeDDR3 800/1066/1333
Maximum memory speedPC3-10600
Memory slots6
Maximum memory24GB
Dual-channel supportyes

Buying Information

Price£165
Supplierhttp://www.morecomputers.com
Detailswww.msicomputer.com

Internal Ports

Power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots2
Dual graphics architectureCrossFireX
PCI-E x4 slots1
PCI-E x1 slots2
PCI slots2
Fan headers4
Floppy ports0
IDE ports1
Serial ATA ports7
RAID chipset (max disks)Intel ICH10R (6x SATAII, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)

Features

Wired network ports10/100/1000
Sound (ports)Realtek ALC888S (6x analogue out, optical S/PDIF)
USB2 ports / headers6/3
Firewire ports / headers1/1
Legacy ports2x PS/2
Other ports1x eSATA
Brackets included1x FireWire

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustmentCPU/RAM/chipset
CPU clock max adjustment1,000MHz

Read more

Reviews