With a relatively low price and blistering performance, the X58M is the ideal motherboard if you want to build a performance PC.
LGA1366, microATX, Intel X58 chipset, supports: Core i7, Core i7 Extreme Edition
Building a Core i7 PC is expensive, but motherboards such as MSI’s X58M – the cheapest Core i7 motherboard we’ve ever reviewed – make it a little easier on the wallet.
As you’d expect from a performance motherboard, it has two PCI-E x16 slots with CrossFireX support, which will satisfy gamers who want to squeeze every ounce of performance from an already powerful system by using a pair of matching Radeon graphics cards.
It’s a microATX board, so there’s less room for expansion slots than you’d find on a larger motherboard, but it has a PCI-E x4 slot and a PCI slot. If you fit only one graphics card, you can use the second PCI-E x16 slot for other expansion cards. Six triple-channel memory slots occupy a large part of the motherboard, and can handle up to 24GB of RAM. MSI still manages to find room for seven SATA ports and an IDE connector.
The rear I/O panel is generously equipped with ports. It has six USB connections, a pair of PS/2 ports, eSATA and FireWire connections. If six USB ports aren’t enough, the motherboard comes with a USB bracket that can be connected to one of the three free internal USB headers.
If you’re planning to build a Core i7 PC, you’ll be concerned about speed, and the X58M has that in spades. It gave us one of the fastest benchmark scores we’ve ever seen. At £124, this board could never be described as a bargain but it’s incredibly cheap compared with every other Core i7 motherboard out there.
|Processor support||Core i7, Core i7 Extreme Edition|
|Processor external bus||400MHz (1,600MHz quad-pumped FSB)|
|Chipset north bridge||Intel X58|
|Chipset south bridge||Intel ICH10R|
|Passively-cooled north bridge||yes|
|Supported memory type||DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600 (overclocked)|
|Maximum memory speed||PC3-10600|
|Power connectors||1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin ATX|
|PCI-E x16 slots||2|
|Dual graphics architecture||CrossFireX|
|PCI-E x4 slots||1|
|PCI-E x1 slots||0|
|Serial ATA ports||7|
|RAID chipset (max disks)||Intel ICH9R (6x SATAII, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10), Jmicron JMB363 (2x eSATA, RAID 0, 1, JBOD)|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Sound (ports)||Realtek ALC888 (6x analogue out)|
|USB2 ports / headers||6/3|
|Firewire ports / headers||1/1|
|Legacy ports||2x PS/2|
|Cables included||1x SATA, 1x IDE, 1x Molex to SATA power|
|Brackets included||1x USB|
Setup and Overclocking
|CPU clock max adjustment||400MHz|