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MSI Eclipse Plus Intel X58 Express Motherboard Review

MSI Eclipse Plus Intel X58 Express Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: As MSI Computer knows, sometimes overkill is a good thing. This seems to be the philosophy behind the MSI X58 Eclipse Plus motherboard - a jet black beauty built around Intel's X58 Express and ICH10R chipsets for the Intel Core i7 family of socket 1366 processors.
 95% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Jan 04 2010   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI Eclipse Plus

Motherboard Benchmarks: FEAR and Conclusions

Sierra FEAR 1.08

Source: Sierra

FEAR is Sierra's latest first person shooter which relies heavily on DirectX 9 features. With its "Soft Shadows" feature enabled, even the fastest videocards run at a crawl, FEAR is definitely the new benchmark for future FPS games to follow.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportSierra FEAR 1.08
Minimum 640x480: Points Ranking
Asus Striker II NSE (NF 790i SLI 333/1066 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 553
Asus P5NT Deluxe (NF 780i 333/1066 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 568
Asrock Penryn1600SLIX3 Wifi (NF 680i 333/1066 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 565
MSI P6N Diamond (NF 680i 333/1066 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 545
Biostar TF7150V-M7 (GF 7150 333/1066 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 558
MSI X58 Platinum (X58 133/1066) 646
MSI Eclipse Plus (X58 133/1066) 646
Asus P5E3 Premium/wifi (X48 333/1333) 568
Gigabyte GA-X48DS5 (X48 333/1066) 562
MSI X48 Platinum (X48 333/1333) 567
Gigabyte GA-EP45-DQ6 (P45 333/1066) 567
ECS P45T-A (P45 333/800) 559
Biostar TPower I45 (P45 333/1066) 553
Intel DG45ID (Intel G45 200/800 C2D E6750 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 542
Asus P5Q-EM (Intel G45 200/800 C2D E6750 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 559
Asus Maximus Extreme (X38 333/1333) 563
Foxconn DigitaLife X38A (X38 333/800 DDR2) 575
Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 (X38 333/1066) 554
Asus BLITZ Formula (P35 333/1066) 572
Foxconn MARS (P35 333/1066) 551
MSI P35 Platinum Combo (P35 333/800 DDR2) 545
Maximum 1024x768: Points Ranking
Asus Striker II NSE (NF 790i SLI 333/1066 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 123
Asus P5NT Deluxe (NF 780i 333/1066 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 137
Asrock Penryn1600SLIX3 Wifi (NF 680i 333/1066 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 137
MSI P6N Diamond (NF 680i 333/1066 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 134
Biostar TF7150V-M7 (GF 7150 333/1066 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 122
MSI X58 Platinum (X58 133/1066) 172
MSI Eclipse Plus (X58 133/1066) 174
Asus P5E3 Premium/wifi (X48 333/1333) 123
Gigabyte GA-X48DS5 (X48 333/1066) 135
MSI X48 Platinum (X48 333/1333) 134
Gigabyte GA-EP45-DQ6 (P45 333/1066) 134
ECS P45T-A (P45 333/800) 137
Biostar TPower I45 (P45 333/1066) 134
Intel DG45ID (Intel G45 200/800 C2D E6750 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 133
Asus P5Q-EM (Intel G45 200/800 C2D E6750 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 133
Asus Maximus Extreme (X38 333/1333) 124
Foxconn DigitaLife X38A (X38 333/800 DDR2) 130
Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 (X38 333/1066) 124
Asus BLITZ Formula (P35 333/1066) 125
Foxconn MARS (P35 333/1066) 126
MSI P35 Platinum Combo (P35 333/800 DDR2) 135

Gaming gives the slightest of edges to the MSI Eclipse Plus. The Core i7 lets FEAR scale to even higher levels than were previously levels.

Whew! Reviewing this motherboard has been a big job, but we're finally reaching the home stretch. Let's see just what to make out of MSI's most extreme motherboard.

Conclusion: an X58 Motherboard that's easy to recommend!

The MSI Eclipse Plus motherboard can be a little overwhelming to take in. Overall it's one of the most feature-complete Intel X58 Express motherboards on the market right now, and one of the fastest platforms PCSTATS has tested in the past year. MSI has decided to throw in everything you could possibly want from a motherboard, and more!

The 'and more!' bit is where things get tricky.

The Eclipse Plus does indeed have everything you could want if you bought a socket 1366 Intel Core i7 CPU, starting with the Intel X58 Express chipset. Intel's first chipset for its new Nehalem processors has both connectivity and bandwidth in spades. The 12.8GB/s QPI link between the CPU and the X58 core logic has effectively eliminated the bottlenecks that plague Intel's FSB-based chipsets. The X58 express northbridge no longer has to share any of that bandwidth with memory, thanks to the Core i7's on-board memory controller. Finally, the Intel X58 chipset has 36 PCI Express 2.0 lanes, which can easily handle two-way Crossfire and SLI configurations.

Not content with just two-way SLI support, MSI includes the NVIDIA nForce 200 SLI processor for three way SLI support. This is an extra that we could frankly do without. This bridge processor doubles one of the Intel X58 Express chipset's PCI Express 2.0 x16 lanes, so that 32 lanes of bandwidth are crammed into a 16 lane pipe. This obviously introduces a bottleneck for anyone trying to take advantage of this motherboard's advertised 3-way SLI x16/x16/x16 performance. It also introduces a little bit of latency in regular two-way SLI and Crossfire performance, which doesn't help overall performance.

There's also a lot of more storage options on this board than you'd get on the standard X58 platform. While the Intel ICH10R southbridge has six SATA II ports that can operate in RAID 0/1/5 and JBOD modes, MSI has added on another four SATA II ports, as well as a pair of eSATA ports. Altogether that's 12 SATA devices that can be connected to this system.

As a contrast though, there are no IDE ports anywhere to be found on the MSI Eclipse Plus, a particularly annoying omission. While high-performance users may turn their noses up at legacy controllers, there are still a huge amount of IDE optical and hard drives in circulation, and an on-board controller is preferable to mounting them externally.

Love them or hate them, MSI has thrown in an astounding amount of extras with this motherboard. Look at this list:

8x click-connect Serial ATA cables, 4x Molex to Serial ATA Power Cables, X-FI Audio Card, Green Power Genie, MSI D-LED 2, 24-pin Power connector Brige, 2-port USB Bracket, 2-port eSATA bracket, eSATA power cable, eSATA data cable, mid-board connectors, thermal sensor, I/O shield, 3x SLI connectors, 3x Crossfire connectors.

...while I do enjoy some extra goodies thrown in the box as much as the next guy, this has gotten silly. Especially since some of the on-board indicators, dials and lights make things like the PORT 80 display redundant, and it's unlikely people who have shelled out for a wattage-sucking core i7 processor, a three-way SLI motherboard and a trio of high-end videocards that require their own nuclear generator will care about shaving off a few Watts with MSI's Green Power Genie. Considering that each of these baubles inflates the price of the MSI Eclipse Plus, the novelty factor starts to wear thin pretty quickly.

In the end, the MSI Eclipse Plus motherboard and all of these extras will set you back a hefty $400 CDN, ($389 USD, £245 GBP) which, if you've been paying attention, is actually pretty close to the complete price of an entry-level computer system. While the extras and goodies alone certainly don't justify the extreme price, the overclocking performance of the MSI Eclipse Plus may yet have you reaching for that Platinum Visa card.

Without any major voltage tweaks or fine-tuning, PCSTATS was able to overclock the MSI Eclipse Plus base clock from 133MHz up to 215Mhz. Couple that with the Core i7 920s x20 CPU multiplier, and you're looking at theoretical performance of 4.3GHz. Of course, this means your CPU also has to be able to handle these kinds of speeds/heat levels, and as always overclock performance will vary from motherboard to motherboard. Stock performance on the MSI Eclipse Plus was pretty much on par with MSI's $268 CDN X58 Platinum board.

Everything else about the MSI Eclipse Plus was as good as you'd expect from a top-tier motherboard. The construction and build quality are superb, with all-solid-state capacitors being used, heat chipset thermal solutions and plenty of on-board buttons and controls with lights and displays for constant system feedback.

Ultimately, MSI's Eclipse Plus motherboard is designed for those who want more than just the best performance numbers. They want the bragging rights of owning an X58 motherboard with the longest list of features possible, and they don't care about the price. MSI has complied by throwing in every extra they could think of, some of them more useful than others. If you're the type of person who has already built a three-way SLI system for the purpose of bragging about your 3DMark scores online, the MSI X58 Eclipse Plus is an excellent Core i7 motherboard to consider.

It's not intended for the faint of heart nor light of wallet. However, fence sitters will quickly find the allure of MSI's X58 Eclipse Plus motherboard hard to pass by when installed with an eight-core Intel Core i7 920 matched with 6GB of Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D DDR3-1600 RAM!. Recommended!

PCSTATS Editor's Choice Award

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< Previous Page © 2017 PCSTATS.com Motherboards News»

 

Contents of Article: MSI Eclipse Plus
 Pg 1.  MSI Eclipse Plus Intel X58 Express Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Performance Tuning Features and Controls
 Pg 3.  Motherboard Highlights Photo Gallery
 Pg 4.  Intel X58 Express / nForce 200 Chipsets and Power Draw Tests
 Pg 5.  Overclocking and BIOS Screenshots
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SYSmark 2007
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PCMark Vantage
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sandra 2008 Processor
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sandra 2008 Memory
 Pg 10.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 06
 Pg 11.  — Motherboard Benchmarks: FEAR and Conclusions

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