Today we take a look at MSI's flagship X79 motherboard. This feature packed overclocking board is aimed at anyone who wants something extreme. A 22 phase VRM coupled with quad SLI capability and every OC feature from direct OC buttons to manual PCI-E switches this board packs a strong punch, but does it live up to all the hype?
The MSI X79 BigBang X-Power II (X79 BigBang) is MSI's top dog motherboard. Combine a very rich and abundant set of components and team it up with some cool overclocking features and then add some sugar and spice and you'll have something nice. The X79 BigBang doesn't cease to impress, whether it be in raw performance or innovation, MSI has done their best to put out a very special board within its own respects. If you are an overclocker this board really hits all the main points, yet it also has features for gamers and hardcore workstation people as well.
The X79 chipset has all the goodies one could ever imagine, except for a few things. First off it is missing USB 3.0, something we hope to see with Intel's Z77 chipset. Second it is missing all of those additional SAS or SATA6GB/s ports we saw on earlier X79 prototypes. That was a lot of SATA/SAS ports and now we have none of it, so we basically have a redo of the Z68 chipset just without SSD Caching and iGPU support.
What is more interesting about the LGA2011 platform is what is the CPU has in store for us. Even though the current LGA2011 CPU's lack virtualization and PCI-E 3.0 certification, they still have many features. Quad channel memory controller with supreme overclocking abilities is a plus as is PCI-E 3.0 which can't be claimed until the second stepping gets PCI-SIG certification. We seem to take for granted the 40 PCI-E lanes and native Quad SLI/CF support. With LGA2011 we have Intel moving back to satisfy the overclocker, of course not how we would like, but BLCK straps are nothing to push to the side. Today we will take a look at MSI’s top LGA2011 board for overclockers, gamers, and enthusiasts, let’s see how it does.
MSI X79 BigBang X-Power II
Supports 2nd Generation Intel® Core i7 processors in LGA2011 package.
Intel X79 Express
Supports eight unbuffered DIMM of 1.5 Volt DDR3 1066/1333/1600/1866*/2133*/2400* (OC) DRAM, 128GB Max
Supports NVIDIA® 4-Way SLI™ Technology
• 4 PCI Express gen3 x16 slots
– PCI_E1 supports up to PCIE x16 speed
SATAII controller integrated in Intel® X79 chipset
• SATAIII controller integrated in Intel® X79 chipset
• SATAIII controller integrated in ASMedia® ASM 1061 chipset
Supports dual PCI Express LAN 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Intel 82579V and 82574L.
• Chipset integrated by Realtek® ALC898
• 1 USB 3.0 internal connector by NEC® D720200
-• VIA® VT6315N chipset
– Supports up to two 1394 ports. (Rear panel x1, pinheader x1)
Back Panel I/O Ports
– 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard port
– 1 x Clear CMOS button
Internal I/O Connectors
– ATX 24-Pin power connector
– 2 x 8-pin Power connectors
34.5cm(L) x 26.4cm(W) XL-ATX Form Factor