MSI X58 Pro-E motherboard review: Core i7 on a budget

By on June 11, 2009, 4:46 AM
Perhaps the biggest problem we saw with initial Intel X58 motherboards was their substantial price. Add to that the serious price premium for DDR3 memory, and you ended up with a relatively affordable and fast Core i7 920 processor that nevertheless needed to run on an expensive platform.

The recent drop in DDR3 pricing got us thinking about the affordability of the Core i7 platform, and we began to wonder just how cheap users could build one of these systems.


MSI has quietly been preparing an army of Core i7 motherboards, now with five unique models on offer, we feel they may have what we're after. The MSI X58 Pro-E is an interesting looking motherboard, priced at around $200 which is almost as low as X58-based motherboards will go.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 21

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yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

its a slow news day when the top story is a review of a motherboard that doesnt really cost any more or less than a bunch of other motherboards..

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

yukka said:

its a slow news day when the top story is a review of a motherboard that doesnt really cost any more or less than a bunch of other motherboards..

Of course, its a good read Just means ive had to do more work than usual

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm glad i'm not the only one who stops working just to read techspot =) I to had to do more work today =(

FoReWoRd said:

same here.....

raybay said:

Another interesting and very usefull motherboard review... that is written in a way that will appeal to a lot of people who visit this forum. I would like to see them in a form that could be easily printed or saved.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

This is a great price for a board in this playing field. pci e expansion slots like these are hard to come by, great spacing. There are only about 5 high end boards with the same type of spacing, optimizing space for tri sli while leaving room for pci add on cards.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

I would like to see them in a form that could be easily printed or saved.

Suggestion noted. We used to offer printable versions a long time ago, and should be doable today, just haven't paid attention to the possibility. I will explore the option a bit further and if we decide to go with it you will notice

Guest said:

I recently purchased this board and will actually be assembling tonight. In this review it says you have to purchase a special "SLI" version of the pro-E in order to get SLI, but according to MSI's website the pro-E supports SLI as do all MSI X58 motherboards. Here is the pro-E specs, at the bottom it says "Y" by SLI:

http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=prodmbspec&maincat_no=
&cat2_no=&cat3_no=&prod_no=1804#menu

Also, here is a press release pre-dating this review that says all MSI X58 mainboard's now support SLI:

http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=newsdesc&news_no=802

That said, I guess I will know for sure tonight as I counted on it when I made my order.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Actually technically that press release was produced after I wrote this review. Despite the slight difference in dates the 11th of June was not when I wrote the review but when it finally went live.

Anyway it does appear that MSI has dropped the whole confusing SLI and non-SLI board structure giving all X58 boards SLI and Crossfire support.

If you look at these boards over at Newegg you will see what I meant about the SLI/non-SLI versions.

MSI Eclipse Plus

[link]

This board originally did not support SLI but I presume that it does now.

MSI X58 Eclipse SLI

[link]

This version always supported both SLI and Crossfire.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

May I say that the pci e layout is superior to most x58 mobos' if you're doing tri sli/X fire the last slot isnt all the way at the bottom of your atx motherboard, in which most pc cases dont have the room to let you expand a 2 slot card passed the last slot on the motherboard.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Yeah its the same layout the EVGA 132-BL-E758-A1, ASRock X58 Deluxe, EVGA 132-BL-E758-TR and ASUS P6T boards use for example...

Guest said:

I am the above guest that talks about the press release. It turns out the board does support SLI now. I am not sure how pervasive this is, but fortunately my dual GTX 260's can be SLI enabled without an SLI bridge sense the mobo does not come with one. It is only packaged with a crossfire bridge which did not work despite fitting in the SLI slots.

Thanks for the review, it was quite helpful.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

How do they perform without the SLI bridge?

Guest said:

The only real test off the graphics card I have done is the demo of ArmA 2. With everything on it's highest setting including AA I got a little under 30 fps on average. I am not sure how that compares to SLI disabled sense I didn't test it. Here are the rest of the computer specs:

MSI X58 Pro-E

Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.6 GHz

2X EVGA GTX 260 core 216 in SLI

Cooler Master v8 CPU cooler

Corsair 750TX psu

Cooler Master Storm Scout Case

G.Skill (3x2GB) DDR3 1333

Western Digital Caviar Black 500 GB

Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit

Guest said:

I forgot to add the resolution previously... it is 1920 x 1080.

Guest said:

Again, the usual guest. I ran 3Dmark06 to get some idea of how the SLI is performing. The settings were left at the default 1280 x 1024, no AA, and optimal filtering. Here are the results:

3Dmark Score: 22585

SM2 Score: 9338

SM3 Score: 10319

CPU Score: 6197

Comparing these numbers to Tom's Hardware numbers, it seems the SLI scales well. This combination falls right in between the 9800 gx2 and the GTX 295. I think I remember reading the GTX 295 is essentially a single card SLI of two GTX 275 cores? Thus, it is falling right where is should.

Again this is with the following configuration:

MSI X58 Pro-E

Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.6 GHz

2 x EVGA GTX 260 core 216 overclocked to 600 MHz, in SLI

Cooler Master v8 CPU cooler

Corsair 750TX psu

Cooler Master Storm Scout Case

G.Skill (3x2GB) DDR3 1333

Western Digital Caviar Black 500 GB

Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit

Guest said:

will this card support 2 295s?

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

, post: 771280"]How do they perform without the SLI bridge?

Any cards will work without sli bridges, they dont even have to be identical, people think that things like this will make your pc blow up or something, its not really helpful to you to do it, but it wont hurt anything. Its impossible to run two identical cards in sli w/o the bridge, but I guess this is what you were implying? Both cards will still work, but they wont split the load for max efficiency.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

I think I remember reading the GTX 295 is essentially a single card SLI of two GTX 275 cores? Thus, it is falling right where is should.

That's exactly right.

Guest said:

I just finished my PC together using this board today and I must say I am impressed. I love it love it love it.

Guest said:

what is ur config(im asking the previous guest :D)

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