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MSI Eclipse Plus Intel X58 Express Motherboard Review

MSI Eclipse Plus Intel X58 Express Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: As MSI Computer knows, sometimes overkill is a good thing. This seems to be the philosophy behind the MSI X58 Eclipse Plus motherboard - a jet black beauty built around Intel's X58 Express and ICH10R chipsets for the Intel Core i7 family of socket 1366 processors.
 95% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Jan 04 2010   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI Eclipse Plus

Performance Tuning Features and Controls

MSI's X58 Eclipse Plus has a whole lot of ways to keep you informed of the current system status. The board is covered in LEDs that show the current power usage and status; LEDs on the CPU show its current power phase mode, QPI Phase LEDs, LEDs indicating CPU loads, LEDs on the DDR3 memory banks, LEDs on the southbridge, LEDs on the PCI Express slots... it's actually a little easier to list what doesn't have an LED indicator on it.

In addition to the on-board light show, MSI has placed a 2-digit Port-80 card on the I/O panel to display error codes. It's an invaluable tool for overclockers making diagnosis much easier. This is great for troubleshooting problems at bootup without having to figure out what those POST beep codes are trying to tell you.

The MSI D-LED 2 is an auxiliary LED display that can be controlled using the on-board DLED button, which toggles between debug messages and system messages during normal operation. It also includes a flexible temperature sensor that can be used to measure heat levels anywhere in the system.

DrMOS, paging DrMOS

MSI's X58 Eclipse Plus motherboard uses a 6-phase driver-MOSFET(DrMOS) design for the CPU that can actively switch between power phases depending on CPU load. This phase switching behaviour can also be applied to the motherboard's 2-phase QPI, chipset and memory power controllers, and of course have accompanying lights to indicate their power states. The DrMOS system should also keep itself cooler than other MOSFET designs, since it uses a split copper design that allows heat dissipation to take place both above and below the motherboard's PCB.

MSI include the Green Genie, a power monitoring solution that can potentially give more accurate readouts of overall power usage. It's placed between the power supply and the motherboard, and feeds information directly into the system for real time reporting vis the BIOS or the MSI DLED 2 display. Like you probably will, we tossed this aside during the benchmark period with the Eclipse Plus motherboard.

PCI Express slots and other expansions

The MSI X58 Eclipse Plus is designed to support up to three nVidia Geforce PCI Express x16 videocards on the three PCI Express x16 slots, or a pair of ATI Radeon videocards in CrossFireX mode. On the far south edge of the motherboard there's a fourth physical PCI Express x16 slot that has four lanes of PCI Express bandwidth. Rounding out the the expansion slots are a pair of PCI Express x1 slots and a legacy PCI slot so that older peripherals can be plugged in.


From left to right: a short black PCI Express 1.0 x1 slot, a blue PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot, another short black PCI Express 1.0 slot, another blue PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot, a legacy black PCI slot, the final blue PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot, and a fourth PCI Express 2.0 slot that x4 bandwidth.

MSI accomodates for multiple graphics modes by including all of the possible SLI and Crossfire adapters you could possibly need. There are two short SLI bridges, one long SLI bridge, and three Crossfire bridges. Why is there a third Crossfire bridge when MSI says the motherboard only supports two-way Crossfire? No one knows for sure.

The physical layout of the expansion slots means that there's still room to wedge the X-FI Xtreme audio card even when running in triple-SLI mode with three Geforce graphics cards. In the more-common dual graphics modes, there would still be room for an extra PCI device, or a few PCI Express based cards.

Everything else...

If you decide to run three-way SLI on the Eclipse Plus motherboard it's a good idea to invest in additional system cooling. The MSI Eclipse Plus is predictably overflowing with system fan headers, there are five scattered around the outside of the motherboard, in addition to the CPU fan header.

MSI rounds out the goodie box with eight click-connect SATA cables, extra USB and eSATA brackets (with additional cabling for power and data transfer) and four molex to SATA power adapters. There's also a pair of driver and utility discs, five manuals, and a tiny, spare X58 motherboard so you can boot while you boot. Okay, that last one was a lie.

Follow along as PCSTATS takes a detailed walk around the MSI Eclipse Plus and get a better look at the motherboard layout.

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Contents of Article: MSI Eclipse Plus
 Pg 1.  MSI Eclipse Plus Intel X58 Express Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — Performance Tuning Features and Controls
 Pg 3.  Motherboard Highlights Photo Gallery
 Pg 4.  Intel X58 Express / nForce 200 Chipsets and Power Draw Tests
 Pg 5.  Overclocking and BIOS Screenshots
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SYSmark 2007
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PCMark Vantage
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sandra 2008 Processor
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sandra 2008 Memory
 Pg 10.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 06
 Pg 11.  Motherboard Benchmarks: FEAR and Conclusions

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