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MSI

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MSI X58 Eclipse MotherboardThe MSI X58 Eclipse motherboard is the next up for Intel’s Core i7 (Nehalem) processors.  As with all LGA1366 X58 motherboards, it fully supports up to 24GB of triple channel, DDR3 RAM.  The motherboard also boasts APS (Active Phase Switching), Drive Booster, and D-LED 2 (which displays debug messages during boot and system status messages during operation).

As we noted in the MSI P45 Diamond motherboard review, MSI has discontinued use of the circu-pipe heatsink in favor of a more traditional cooling solution.  The layout of the MSI X58 Eclipse motherboard is quite impressive, with all slots and ports being easily accessible.

The Eclipse includes MSI’s DrMOS QPI and chipset, IC 6-phase power system for the QPI, chipset, and memory, as well as a generous array of Japanese-made, solid aluminum capped capacitors, shielded chokes, and ten Hi-C capacitors for the CPU region (six for the CPU, two for the northbridge, and two for the QuickPath memory controller).  The GreenPower Genie is also implemented to offer more efficient power usage and a reduction of acoustic noise.  Flexible temperature sensors are in place to measure heat anywhere in the system.

As with the P45 Diamond, audio is offered in the form of a PCIe x1 based Creative X-FI controller (removable card) that supports EAX 5.0, 8-channel output, and 100dB SNR with a 24-bit / 96KHz range.

The MSI PCI/PCI Express slot placement is excellent.  Three PCIe 2.0 x16 slots, two PCIe x1 slots, and two PCI slots are available.  Crossfire and SLI are both supported.

Extensive storage options are provided, including ten SATA (Intel ICH10R and JMicron JMB322) and two eSATA (JMicron JMB363) ports.

Power, reset, and DLED2 on/off switches are provided, as well as a dip-switch for adjusting base clock speeds between 133, 166, and 200 MHz during POST. The board also offers a few LED status indicators for QPI phase status, standby mode, etc.

Eight of the twelve total USB 2.0 ports are exposed through the I/O panel, and it also provides access to an IEEE 1394a port, two RJ-45 (Realtek 8111C) PCIe Gigabit ports, two eSATA ports, PS/2 keyboard/mouse ports, and a clear CMOS button.

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If you’re looking for a P45 motherboard, the MSI P45 Diamond is an excellent choice.  The Intel chipset (Eagle Lake) based motherboard is laced with incredible features, and is compatible with most LGA775 processors, like the Intel Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Duo, Pentium Celeron Dual Core, and Celeron. The image below showcases the boxing:

MSI P45 Diamond Motherboard Box

General Features Included

The physical dimensions of the product are 9.6 x 12 inch, and it is designed to exhibit compatibility with most current LGA775 processors. Here is the list of other general features one can expect from the motherboard.

  • Dual-core and quad-core support
  • The product is endowed with an 8-pin ATX12V connector, along with a 24-pin main power connector and 4-pin ATX12V connector
  • The motherboard supports dual-channel DDR3 RAM technology (up to 8GB)
  • Up to 2000FSB
  • Two PCI-e 2.0 x16 slots
  • Most importantly, the onboard audio device is a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio

Advanced Features Available

MSI has always made an effort to offer innovation and advanced features in their products, including motherboards. The latest product P45 Diamond motherboard is no exception.

  • The motherboard boasts “Green Power” for the highest level of efficiency compared to rival products
  • The Northbridge features an advanced, 2-phase power design
  • Hi-CAP, the conductive polymerized capacitors, are also implemented in the design
  • A high definition, surround sound audio system is provided that offers 7.1 channels of audio output
  • Networking support is provided via Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, and a Realtek RTL8111C network adapter
  • The BIOS enables ACPI 2.0 as well as DMI support

Circu-Pipe cooling has always been the trademark of MSI motherboards, however MSI has implemented a new liquid 2in/2out NB waterblock for enhanced cooling with this latest release.

Intel’s ICH10R Southbridge offers as many as 12 USB 2.0 ports and 6 SATA 3.0 ports. Also, server-class DrMOS is provided for impressive power efficiency, low temperatures, and enhanced stability with extreme overclocking. The design is able to maintain a working temperature that is as much as 16 degrees C lower than Mosfet-based options.

XpressCool technology is included in the design to offer zero noise and effective heat dissipation. RapidBoost is another new feature that is designed to help in achieving the highest overclock possible.

The packaging includes a large number of cables, including six SATA cables, three SATA power cables, an eSATA converter kit, and IDE and FDD cables. A backup CD and user manual are also provided.

The MSI P45 Diamond sells for about $275 through most sources.

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