MSI X58 Pro Motherboard

Test Setup & Overclocking

Test Setup
 
To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configuration used in this review can be seen below: 
 
Processor: Intel Core i7 920 (2.66Ghz)

Motherboard: MSI X58 Pro

Memory: 6GB Corsair DDR3 @ 8-8-8-24 1600Mhz

Graphics Card: NVidia GTX280

Power Supply: Gigabyte Odin 1200W

CPU Cooling: Stock Intel Cooling

Hard Disk: Hitachi Deskstar 7K160 7200rpm 80GB

Graphics Drivers: Geforce 180.60 CUDA

Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1
 
During the testing of the setup above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used before the benchmarking began, with a full defrag of the hard drive once all the drivers and software were installed, preventing any possible performance issues due to leftover drivers from the previous motherboard installations. For the 3DMark and gaming tests a single card configuration was used.

LED phase control CPU clearence
 
Above we see the DrMOS in action. the 5 LED's represent the level at which DrMOS is operating (current state full power). The picture above right shows the level of clearance available to the ram slots using the OCZ Gladiator as a guide CPU HSF.

Remember how earlier I hinted at the multi GPU capabilities of the X58 Pro? Well the motherboard is capable of Crossfire as stock but NOT SLI. That is unless you fancy being a little naughty (as I did) and flash the BIOS to the X58's sister board, the X58 Pro SLI version. All that was required was for the BIOS file to be renamed, allowing the motherboard to detect the BIOS as compatible. Using MSI's onboard M-Flash utility the BIOS flash went off without a hitch. I shutdown, installed a 2nd GTX280 and voila!, the board recognised the 2nd GPU, installed the drivers automatically leaving me to enable SLI via the Nvidia control panel. A quick run of 3DMark 06 verified that SLI was indeed working with a good increase in performance and score.

Obviously, it should go without saying that you undertake this procedure at your own risk and neither MSI or Overclock3D will be held responsible for any bad flash as a result.
 
To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities were used:

Synthetic CPU Test
• Sisoft Sandra 2009
• PassMark CPU test
• SuperPI 1m, 8m, 32m

Memory Test
• Sisoft Sandra 2009
• Everest 4.60

File Compression & Encoding
• Sisoft Sandra 2009
• 7-Zip File Compression
• River Past ViMark

Disk I/O Performance
• HDTach 3.0.4.0
• Sisoft Sandra 2009

3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• Cinebench 10
• 3DMark 05
• 3DMark 06
• 3DMark Vantage

3D Games
• Crysis
• Far Cry 2
• Call of Duty 4

Overall System Performance
• PCMark Vantage



Power Consumption

Power consumption is an aspect often forgotten when it comes to enthusiast motherboards but in todays climate, with rising utility bills special consideration needs to be taken when choosing you components as over a period of time, one components can prove to be much more expensive than another over its lifetime.

Power consumption was measured at the socket using a plug-in mains power and energy monitor. Idle readings were taken after 5 minutes in Windows. Load readings were taken during a run of 3DMark Vantage.



 

The MSI X58 Pro was the best performer at idle , consuming less than all the motherboards on test until it was placed under load where it landed in the middle of the pack. Not too shabby a result considering that no additional software was used to control the power phase of the motherboard.
 
 
Overclocking

Here's a couple of the obligatory CPU-Z screenshots at stock:
 
CPU stock motherboard

Note the speed of the CPU. For whatever reason the MSI was incapable of running the CPU at it's rated level overclocking the processor slightly. Consideration therefore should be given to this fact when viewing the benchmark results as this will have had a very slight effect on the scores.

Using a respectable Vcore of 1.40v set in the BIOS, the remainder of BIOS voltage settings were left in their stock state to ensure equality throughout the testing. Here's what I managed out of the motherboard:

Overclocked
 
Yes you are reading that right, I had to double check too as this board clocks beyond any other we have tested so far at OC3D. 4.315 GHz is an amazing feat for a board that does not tout itself as a premium product. It outclassed every X58 board we have in the overclocking department and while I will concede my CPU appears to be exceptional, it's only as good as the motherboard powering it. Talking of power, the X58 Pro does not droop when under load, it overvolts! Setting the Vcore to 1.4v (1.15 stock +0.25) the board seemed to jump all over the place when put under load, jumping from 1.35v to 1.51 and back again which was a little alarming. I then set the BIOS to 1.35v (total) in attempt to curb this fluctuation which resulted in the voltage still rising to 1.44v, a massive 0.09v leap. This obviously had an effect on the overclock possible and should be taken into consideration as the other boards we have tested used only 1.4v.

While I don't profess a 1M SuperPI run to be evidence of stability (it plainly is not), at this speed it would be suicide to attempt a Prime run, as the CPU jumped straight to 90c after 10 seconds. Still, this is a fantastic result for MSI if somewhat very surprising. My only concern is the voltage fluctuation, if they can get that under control with future BIOS releases then they could well be on to a winner here.
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Most Recent Comments

25-03-2009, 16:46:35

w3bbo
Introducing the MSI X58 Pro - A diamond in the rough or just plain dog rough? Find out in our latest X58 motherboard review...

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...170120503s.jpg

Full review here

25-03-2009, 17:00:28

zak4994
I guess this is for people who don't care about looks and want a cheaper alternative.

The opposite of this would probably be a bloodrage in terms of aesthetics and price.

25-03-2009, 17:09:16

Ham
At last! A board UNDER £200!

And its pretty good .

26-03-2009, 05:25:22

PeterStoba
Quite a few sub £200 boards now, 6 iirc. Nice review

26-03-2009, 08:20:44

Rastalovich
I don`t think the esthetics of the mobo should be equally graded as performance. If u have a mobo that works 100% faster than the one that looks "kewl", u'd be a tad foolish to pick the slower one cos the memory slots glow in the dark.

I was gonna slate all the other cards on the list, cos quite frankly I feel this mobo embarasses the lot of them in terms of pricing.

They all peak and trough in various areas, but they don't all cost £50-60 more than this.

No SLI ? Think I could live with that.

Good stuff.

26-03-2009, 09:14:49

FarFarAway
I think some people go on looks more than you would think Rast

Great little board at a price point that motherboard manufacturers should be working downwards in price from. The market is going to die unless others follow MSI's price trend.

26-03-2009, 10:32:54

w3bbo
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'
I don`t think the esthetics of the mobo should be equally graded as performance. If u have a mobo that works 100% faster than the one that looks "kewl", u'd be a tad foolish to pick the slower one cos the memory slots glow in the dark.

I was gonna slate all the other cards on the list, cos quite frankly I feel this mobo embarasses the lot of them in terms of pricing.

They all peak and trough in various areas, but they don't all cost £50-60 more than this.

No SLI ? Think I could live with that.

Good stuff.
The overclocking was great however this was due in part to the board massively overvolting which could have had an effect. Not only that but the board was overclocked in stock state which was a little naught from MSI as this would inevitably had a bearing on some of the test results. Overvolting is something that needs to be addressed as it could degrade the CPU over time.

The looks of the board are very important to some, however the board was not marked down soley for looks but also for the packaging which pales in comparison to some of the other boards on test.

Oh, and the board IS sli capable

26-03-2009, 11:19:01

sprento
Fair play, the board performs well and aside from the voltage irregularities, is a decent all round effort form MSI but who the hell wants a brown motherboard (or anything else for that matter) "Aesthetics (what on earth were MSI thinking of?)" , too right mate, there's a reason brown is the colour of sh*t !
Reply
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