The 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.