Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Platforms Compared

Eclipse SLI BIOS, Software, And Accessories

MSI Eclipse BIOS ranges are more than adequate for extracting the ultimate performance from most components, but the company’s use of plus and minus volts, rather than resulting values, is a little awkward.

BIOS Frequency and Voltage Settings
CPU Reference Clock

133 to 400 MHz (1 MHz)

Clock Multiplier Adjustment

Yes

DRAM Ratios

DDR3-800 to DDR3-2133

PCIe Clock

100 to 200 MHz (1 MHz)

CPU Vcore

Stock -0.32 to +0.63 volts (0.010 volts)

QPI/VTT (uncore) Voltage

Stock -0.32 to +0.63 volts (0.010 volts)

IOH (Northbridge) Vcore

0.78 to 1.73 volts (0.010 volts)

ICH (Southbridge) Vcore

0.70 to 2.13 volts (0.010 volts)

DRAM Voltage

1.20 to 2.77 volts (0.010 volts)

CAS Latency Range

tCAS:6-11; tRCD: 3-15; tRP: 3-15; tRAS: 9-31


MSI bests several competitors by including clock skew controls in addition to VREF, voltage, memory timing, and clock speed settings. XMP Profile settings appeared ineffective, so users should instead set memory speed, timings, and voltage manually.

The menus do get somewhat unwieldy, with a few “detected value” pages that have no settings.

The Eclipse SLI includes four BIOS profile registers, allowing for a variety of configurations to be saved for later use.

MSI OverclockingCenter and GreenPowerCenter provide several clock and voltage controls. Manual selections worked for us, but selecting any of MSI’s pre-defined profiles caused our system to lock up.

Accessories

Accessories
Documentation and Software

Quick Installation Guide

Motherboard Manual

Motherboard Facts Sheet

Audio Card Manual

HDD Backup Guide

Driver CD (Windows Vista)

Driver CD (Windows XP)

Sound Card DVD

MSI HDD Backup DVD

Hardware

1 x Quick Connector Kit

3 x 4-pin to SATA Power Adapter

6 x SATA Data Cable

1 x X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCIe Card

1 x 80-conductor Ultra ATA Cable

1 x Floppy Cable

1 x SATA to eSATA Breakout Plate (2 ports)

1 x USB 2.0 Breakout Plate (2 ports)

1 x eSATA to SATA Data Cable

1 x 4-pin to SATA Power Adapter (External)

1 x GreenPower Genie power monitor

1 x Power Monitor Connector Cable

1 x D-LED2 System Status Display

1 x D-LED2 Thermal Probe

1 x GreenPower Genie data cable

1 x I/O Panel Shield

2 x CrossFire Bridge

1 x SLI Bridge


MSI packs its Eclipse SLI box with accessories, but some are more useful than others. We found the GreenPower Genie adapter particularly questionable since it adds resistance to the circuit through several added connectors and appears to monitor only the 24-pin connection.

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  • avatar_raq
    Nice review..For so long we waited for such comparison.
    1
  • FelixM
    Please: add FSX to the test!
    1
  • avatar_raq
    1. Why adding crossfire bridges when each and every ATI graphics card is shipped with one? When did mobos come with them anyway?
    2. Are the slots of DFI mobo made of UV reactive material? They look so to me
    3. One might think wider bios OC options take into consideration future CPUs but new CPUs usually require bios update, and then the manufacturer may improve the new bios. That said each mobo reviewed here has enough OC potential in its BIOS, question is: which one will endure extreme OC 24/7 for a long period? This is the one thing that can only tested retrospectively. Personally I had 2 cheap ASUS mobos (P35)and they both overclocked well and worked flawlessly.
    4. I see ASUS and Gigabyte mobos take the lead in most of the tests. ASUS has the lead in most games and better customer service in my country and GB having a water block for the NB.
    1
  • avatar_raq
    It would have been nice to mention the net prices of these motherboards to compare their value.
    Quick search on newegg gave the following (not counting the MIRs):
    ASUS ~400 USD (ooph!!)
    GB ~330
    DFI not found !
    EVGA ~270
    Foxconn not found !
    MSI ~350
    After putting everything into consideration I would go for the Gigabyte model if I have net shopping. Nevertheless from a value point of veiw the EVGA one wins since it's the cheapest of the "4" models whose price is found at newegg and the performance defecit is so small. This card do not even fit into the title of the article, it's not $300+ at the time being (perhaps it was so when they started preparing for this article).
    0
  • avatar_raq
    Update:
    DFI ~300 USD
    XFX ~290 USD (not included in the article)
    Foxconn: Still I can't find the blood rage on newegg.
    0
  • mi1ez
    Why are these companies giving the option of taking the PCIe freq to 200MHz?!
    0
  • LePhuronn
    Asus Rampage II Extreme: £321.99
    DFI Lan Party UT X58-T3EH8: £293.24
    EVGA X58 3X SLI: £241.49 (I think)
    Foxconn Bloodrage: £280.59
    Gigabyte EX58 Extreme: £264.49

    Prices from overclockers.co.uk

    Incidentally, isn't the Gigabyte EX58 Extreme the only board here that can handle 24GB of RAM? All other boards are capped at 12GB aren't they?

    Also, I'd suggest to Tom's to review this subject again - they've already mentioned mainstream board reviews, but personally I'd like to see the Asus P6T6 WS Revolution reviewed - always had good experiences with the Asus workstation boards so I'm very interested in this new one.
    0
  • Anonymous
    I think a determening factor could be less in the boards overclockability, and perhaps more in it's functions and price.

    Like, if I'm going to install WinXP or a 32 bit version of vista, having 3 ramslots is more then sufficient (3GB).
    If I want a server, install a 64 bit os, 6 slots (12-24GB) is rather a must.
    I probably won't use a server to play games, though some people might.

    Also pricepoint is a good factor to determine which board could be a snatch.

    Quality of capacitors and boardmaterial, as well as longetivity of hardware play a role in making one board win over another.

    There's no winner when a certain board manufacturer has increased performance for lower power, but when their boards die within their first year of use due to the use of bad components!
    0
  • zebzz
    I think unless your a gaming freak with lots of money or as ProDigit80 has stated that you want to use them for servers, then the current socket 775 and AM2 processors / and DDR2 memory are cheaper and provide the performance about 99.5% people need. Again its all down to specialised needs.
    0
  • Anonymous
    Nice
    0
  • swharth
    It's a pretty cool board. The only complaint I had was that the slots for the Dual GTX280 cards were to close together. Not a lot of room for air circulation. I had to replace mine, and now using a DX58SO. Also a nice board, but missing the "WOW" factor.
    0