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On that same note, if you are looking for the cheapest Core i7 board possible we had to look at the standard X58 Pro. As far as we can tell the only differences between these boards are the updated audio codec, a change in the PCB color and slightly altered cooling. For about $170 the standard X58 Pro is a serious bargain, as it is not only one of the cheapest Intel X58 motherboards on the market, it is also one of the best equipped at under $200. Other competing boards in this range include the Foxconn FlamingBlade, Gigabyte EX58-UD3R-SLI, ASUS P6T SE, and DFI LP DK X58-T3eH6.
Having that said, many online reports indicate that the standard X58 Pro suffers from hot chipset temperatures, something we did not encounter with the Pro-E, not even when overclocking. So while at first glance we didn't like paying extra for what seemed to be a mere aesthetic upgrade, it looks to be a necessary step up for new buyers.
In terms of performance the MSI X58 Pro-E was able to hang with the more expensive Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard throughout our testing. Additionally, when overclocking the X58 Pro-E did not hold back, delivering a staggering 4.0GHz overclock with our Core i7 965 Extreme Edition processor.
In an effort to make overclocking easy, the X58 Pro-E includes a feature called “Easy OC Switch”, though we found this to be rather pointless. What we did enjoy was the BIOS setup which holds a wealth of information, not to mention adjustable settings. MSI also provides the ability to save up to four BIOS configurations, which is another overclocking friendly feature.
For the most part the layout and design of the X58 Pro-E was good, though we did encounter a problem with the ATX power connector and DIMM slots when using memory modules with oversized heatsinks. This is not a huge issue, but something users should be aware of beforehand.
All in all, the MSI X58 Pro-E offers solid stability, a fantastic BIOS, phenomenal tuning potential and excellent performance. But most importantly it brings further value to the Core i7 platform in the way of savings compared to other strictly enthusiast-oriented options.
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