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MSI Eclipse SLI X58 LGA 1366 Motherboard Review

Author: Steve Grever
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI
Tagged:

Features and Layout

Features



• Help end-users upgrade CPU FSB directly

• Buy an essential CPU but want to reach higher performance

• Skip the complicated BIOS OC setting and enjoy the higher level CPU performance

  

• APS is Active Phase Switching is complete function to Control Power Demand With Switcing Dynamically, it’s for CPU, Memory and Chipset PWM.

• Saving Power under Variable Loading.

• Power Usage More Efficiency.



• Excellent energy-saving capability and offers high-computing performance.

• Provide superior energy-saving function and maintain an ultimate low temperature operation.

• Comes with three incredible features.



• Longer lifespan than electrolytic capacitors

• Endurable to operation under higher frequency & temperature

• Avoid exploding capacitors to cause mainboards failure



• A choke is an inductor responsible for storing power and regulates the current.

• All shielded choke could reduce core power loss, lower EMI interference.

• Store energy longer at higher frequency, achieving higher efficiency.



• Hi-c CAP (Highly-conductive polymerized Capacitor)

• High voltage derating / heat resistance ? higher over-voltage / overclocking possibility

• Best stability & long lifespan ? Average life 44800 Hrs @ 85? chamber



• Easy connect to front panel & chassis cable

• 2x USB, IEEE 1394, front panel (JFP1/2)& audio(JAUD1) M-connector in the package

• Easy to tell the definition of each pin



• Functions designed with button to be easy use.

• Help power-users tweaking process in-chasis enviornment

• Onboard SATA ports are stacked on the mainboard to avoid mechanical issue with giant graphic cards like 8800 Ultra.



• Equip with 2 or more PCIe x16 slots, ATI CrossFire Ready.

• The ultimate multi-GPU performance gaming platform.

• Provides 2.7x faster performance than single graphic card solution.



• NVIDIA 3-way SLI® Technology build the fastest gaming solution available with NVIDIA nForce® chipsets and three NVIDIA® GeForce® high-end graphics cards.(*Note:For Windows Vista Only.)

• Compared with single graphic card solution, it brings 2.8X faster performance gained.



• Make MP3 music sound better than CDs

• Transform to surround sound (speakers/headphone) from stereo audio source

• EAX ADVANCED HD 4.0 provides the fidelity of gaming audio effect

• World’s 1st PCIe interface X-Fi audio card

 

The MSI Live Update online is designed to automatically download and update the BIOS and driver when there’s a new version online. It helps reduce the risk of getting the wrong file and minimize the trouble of searching the files from MSI website.



• Key components status hardware monitor.

• Monitor the Dual Core CPU each unit status.

• Optimize System status define.

• Auto speed up with system loading change.



Live Update 3 is a single utility software that automatically checks BIOS, driver and utility updates and installs for you , which can save your time for searching and lower the risk while updating.

Layout

The MSI Eclipse SLI comes packaged in a very attractive retail box with a nice graphic of an enhanced “eclipse” scene. Not too much information is included on the front panel because it actually swings out to reveal more information about the motherboard.

 

The back panel of the retail box is not very detailed either. But, as I stated before, there is an inner flap with more information about the motherboard’s specifications and features.

 

Here’s is the MSI Eclipse SLI mobo in all its glory. The entire layout of the board is pretty solid. I don’t see a lot of room being wasted on it either. All of the key features are carefully placed on the bottom and right side of the motherboard. Overall, this board doesn’t seem to have any glaring issues to discuss.

 

The back of the board has one small aluminum plate secured behind the processor. Nothing else to discuss here so let’s move on.

 

The back I/O panel is interesting to say the least. I’m not sure why MSI went with this configuration, but it looks pretty sloppy and not well thought out. There are eight USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA ports, two Gigabit LAN jacks, one firewire 400 port, one CMOS button, and mouse and keyboard PS2 ports. In this humble reviewer’s opinion, a flagship motherboard shouldn’t have many legacy features because they should feature the company’s best and brightest technology. Putting a legacy firewire port and PS2 ports doesn’t scream “top of the line” to me.

 

One technology worth noting is this board’s ability to use SLI and CrossfireX and support triple video card configurations. There are also two PCI-E 1x ports and two PCI ports available.

 

This mobo also has a couple nifty buttons for power, reset, D-LED 2, and for basic overclocking. The red overclocking buttons can be configured to change the BCLK from 133, 166, and 199 respectively.

 

This board only has one firewire 400 header. Why hasn’t many vendors adopted the new firewire 800 standard?

 

The JCOM1 header is a high speed communication port that can be used to attach a serial device. The JTPM1 header connects an optional Trusted Platform Module.

 

These two headers are used to for all the available options on your PC’s front panel. It is color coded and separates the speaker and power LED header from the other front panel connectors.

 

This board features 10 SATA headers and one parallel header that support two parallel devices.

 

These six unbuffered DIMMs can handle DDR3 800, 1066, and 1333 SDRAM. One of the main selling points with these X58 motherboards is their support for three-channel RAM. Each DIMM can handle 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB DRAM modules.

 

The layout around the CPU is not cramped with capacitors and lends itself to any high-end air cooler on the market. Copper heatsinks  and heatpipes are used over the X58 Northbridge and DrMOS. DrMOS has an integrated driver IC, top MOSFET, and bottom MOSFET. It uses GreenPower technology, XpressCool, and RapidBoost to provide solutions for lower temperatures during idle, and delivering consistent power during overclocking.

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