MSI shows next-gen motherboards, fresh graphics cards

CES — Like most motherboard makers, MSI has a boatload of Sandy Bridge products to show off at the Consumer Electronics Show. We’ve already covered the mid-range P67A-GD65 in our initial Sandy Bridge motherboard round-up. The Big Bang Marshall is an entirely different beast. And I do mean beast. Check it out the latest example of high-end motherboard excess:

There are no fewer than eight PCI Express x16 slots on the board—so many that it’s taller than the standard ATX form factor. You don’t get anywhere near 16 lanes of bandwidth to each slot, though. Sandy Bridge only has 16 lanes of PCIe 2.0 connectivity on the CPU, and even with a Lucid chip lending a helping hand to distribute those lanes, additional ones can’t be pulled out of thin air. The eight lanes present in the P67 chipset aren’t going to be much help, either. A good number of them are needed to fuel the peripheral chips behind the board’s eSATA connectivity, auxiliary 6GBps SATA ports, and dozen USB 3.0 connectors.

If the Big Bang Marshall lives a little too large for your tastes, I direct your attention to the midget Mini-ITX model pictured above. We don’t yet know much about the board itself, but the snapshot reveals a few interesting details, such as full-sized DIMM slots, four Serial ATA ports, and a PCI Express connector with an x1 interface. Sorry, no x16 love for folks who want to run a discrete graphics card. This board looks like it might be better suited to small-form-factor desktops and home-theater PCs than shoebox gaming rigs.

Sandy Bridge motherboards weren’t the only ones on display. We caught a quick glimpse of some next-gen AMD hotness featuring a socket referred to as AM3+. If you look closely at the socket, you’ll see a rectangular indent in the center. (It’s much clearer in the larger picture featured in the image gallery below). The socket looks like it might make a good home for one of AMD’s upcoming Llano APUs.

On the graphics front, MSI had plenty of goodness on display, including a tweaked cooler design strapped to GeForce GTX 580 and Radeon HD 6970 graphics cards. We counted five heatpipes in total, and MSI pointed out that the fans have been reshaped to optimize airflow. The cards also feature some of the advanced power regulation circuitry used on recent MSI motherboards. Both models have dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors, so there should be no shortage of power on tap for overclockers.

Comments closed
    • Voldenuit
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]The socket looks like it might make a good home for one of AMD's upcoming Llano APUs.[/quote<] Correction: Llano uses Socket FM1. AM3+ will be for Bulldozer.

    • anotherengineer
    • 9 years ago

    Man there is just something sexy about a mobo with 8 pcie 16x slots, I think if each one was a different colour it would be even sexier. Maybe like the colours of the spectrum?? Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet?

    Hmmmm

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 9 years ago

      Peace, mmaaaan.

      • Grigory
      • 9 years ago

      Sounds manly.

    • burntham77
    • 9 years ago

    Ever since I picked up an AM2 board from MSI, I have been a big fan of them. I like that the motherboard BIOS flash utility works in Windows and has never caused any issues.

    • Game_boy
    • 9 years ago

    Mistake in article: Socket AM3+ is for Zambezi (Bulldozer), not Llano. Llano is Socket FM1 on the desktop.

    • jalex3
    • 9 years ago

    i really like the card looks wise, i generally choose amd i hope make a 6990 that looks like that.
    they have a 80-90s feel to them. 580 is very tempting. but i will most likely get the best value 560-580 when price drops abit.

    • Daveburt714
    • 9 years ago

    Nice to see MSI finally putting (what appears to be) a decent power section on an AMD board…

    Although a heatsink would be nice.

    • Duck
    • 9 years ago

    i haz first?

      • henfactor
      • 9 years ago

      Nope. Points for effort though.

        • Duck
        • 9 years ago

        I never haz first :'(

        • Grigory
        • 9 years ago

        Yeah, minus 10 so far. 😀

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    Eight x16 slots on a motherboard designed for a chip that only has 16 lanes of connectivity.

    All I can hear is Bette Midler droning “Why bothah?”

    • henfactor
    • 9 years ago

    To hell with analogue display outputs.

    That is all.

      • Grigory
      • 9 years ago

      But… but… some video projectors!

      • Chrispy_
      • 9 years ago

      Hell is not punishment enough for analogue [i<]anything[/i<] in the modern PC industry* * - joysticks and steering wheels excepted. [super<]edits: Ugh, BBCode :\[/super<]

        • Thrashdog
        • 9 years ago

        In a lot of cases, those have moved over to digital encoders now too.

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