MSI teases X79 motherboard family

As Intel’s Sandy Bridge-E processors draw nearer, companies are eagerly sending out snapshots of their matching X79 motherboards. After Asus and ASRock, we’ve now gotten choice pictures depicting no fewer than five X79 offerings from MSI. The shots show boards spanning the gamut from a diminutive microATX design to a tricked-out “Big Bang” model that has only PCI Express x16 expansion slots:

That behemoth also boasts 10 internal Serial ATA ports, some type of Creative X-Fi-branded integrated audio, SLI and CrossFire multi-GPU support (duh), and a total of eight DIMM slots. Since Sandy Bridge-E will support four memory channels, the board ought to let you stuff each channel with two DIMMs—a handy way to cram your next state-of-the-art desktop with 32GB of RAM or more. I’m not really crazy about ammunition-style heatsinks, though. They already looked cheesy on those G1-Killer boards Gigabyte unveiled in January.

The rest of the MSI X79 lineup includes four boards with varying port, slot, and heatsink arrangements, presumably with price points in decreasing order from left to right in the picture above. You’ll find high-resolution versions of all the photos above in our image gallery below.

Comments closed
    • michael_d
    • 8 years ago

    If I am not mistaken X79 officially does not support PCI-E 3.0 but I read [url=http://www.legitreviews.com/news/11808/<]here[/url<] that this MOBO includes PCI-E 3.0. Does that mean that some manufacturers will include it? How will it affect graphical performance with cards that support PCI-E 3.0?

    • jackbomb
    • 8 years ago

    Anyone know if IB-E will work on these s2011 boards?

      • shank15217
      • 8 years ago

      Whats IB-E now?

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        guessing sandy bridge e with a typo.

          • UberGerbil
          • 8 years ago

          Or the “I” stands for Ivy and somebody is already worrying about future compatibility with a chip that might not ever exist (as a desktop SKU, anway).

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    Nice Cranyon radiator… ‘big bang’ indeed.

      • NeronetFi
      • 8 years ago

      The all black Big Bang is smexy, minus the crayons…I mean bullets 😛

    • no51
    • 8 years ago

    Pan flutes galore!

    • swaaye
    • 8 years ago

    Look like Crayons to me. 😉

    • Oldtech
    • 8 years ago

    Hmmm…i thought those heat sinks looked like crayons. They would fit right in with Microsoft’s new operating system made for pre-schoolers, Windows 8.

      • Meadows
      • 8 years ago

      And what are you talking about.

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      You know, back when XP was introduced the internet was full of people pulling on their curmudgeon hats to complain about the “Fisher Price” OS and swear they were never going to leave Win2K (or even 98) for a dumbed down UI. And now the whole thing starts all over again, except this time it’s Windows XP that is the OS for adults.

      Little secret: just as folks discovered with XP, there’s plenty of “adult” complexity available if you choose to go looking for it. Heck, even OSX has a command line if you want one (and honestly, shouldn’t a real techy stick with text commands and a blinking cursor exclusively?) Just because it’s better hidden doesn’t mean it’s not there; if anything, the fragile ego you’re so intent on protecting from an easy-to-use UI should be more stroked by the obscurity of it.

        • Anarchist
        • 8 years ago

        I think the “pre-schooler” reference to w8 has to do with their phone UI getting into the desktop OS. No need to go off on a rant.

          • Meadows
          • 8 years ago

          Your error lies in the fact you’re trying to argue with someone who’s right.

          • Oldtech
          • 8 years ago

          Correct. And now we have Mr Frowny Face on the BSOD. Give me a break

            • no51
            • 8 years ago

            they’re doing it to be ironic.

        • travbrad
        • 8 years ago

        The Win8 “metro” UI is the biggest change we’ve seen since 3.1/95 basically. That’s hardly comparable to 2k/XP, which were almost identical. XP was basically just a “home” version of 2k that added some pretty colors as the default theme, and made installing/updating drivers more automatic, but the actual interface was pretty much the same.

        The previous “Home OS” at that time was Windows ME too, so you can understand how people might be wary of a new version of Windows. On the business side of things 2k was working flawlessly, had plenty of security patches, and was “tried and tested”. It’s very rare that businesses adopt a new OS right after release (as evidenced by the current XP market share)

          • smilingcrow
          • 8 years ago

          “The Win8 metro UI is the biggest change we’ve seen since 3.1/95 basically.”

          For me the biggest change was when 2K and ME were both replaced by XP.
          It was the start of Home users finally getting a much better O/S and business users starting to get a weaker O/S.
          I like Win7 feature wise but the base O/S has so many more bugs than any of the ‘pure’ NT releases. It’s really pissing me off.

        • crabjokeman
        • 8 years ago

        I don’t remember the complaints about XP so much. A lot of home users were coming from (*shudder*) Win ME, and the new XP interface sure beat the heck out ME’s interface (which was a mix of .dll errors interspersed with BSOD’s).

          • ludi
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]I don't remember the complaints about XP so much.[/quote<] Oh, but [i<]I[/i<] do. The size of the title bars on the default installation was horrendous, especially since many CRTs of the time were limited to resolutions of 1280x1024 or less. Until you discovered that "titlebar font size" setting in Display Options that also shrunk the size of the bar back to something practical, the titlebars occupied a big fat stripe of screen real estate in all of their rounded, airbrushed glory.

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    awesome layout on the msi board, but it could do without the crayola crayons. the x-fi audio is a nice replacement to the usual ac97 audio.

    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    I actually kinda like the look. Too bad I have absolutely zero use for high end PC equipment anymore. I may be putting together something low power to run my W7MCE server, but that will most likely be a Phenom 2 or something I can get dirt cheap.

    • glacius555
    • 8 years ago

    8-pin power connector near PCIe slots and two 10-pin power connectors near CPU..

    Any idea what requires all that juice?

    Or is it just to find use for ALL the extra connectors of my new 2000W PSU?

      • JMccovery
      • 8 years ago

      I think it is one 6-pin PCI-E power connector for the PCI-E slots, for multiple card stability, and two 8-pin EPS/SSI power connectors for the CPU, for ‘extreme’ overclocking…

      • FuturePastNow
      • 8 years ago

      Seven PCIe x16 (physical) slots, if all of them are occupied by graphics cards, may require all that juice. To comply with the PCIe 2.0 spec, those slots must be able to supply 150W (not sure if 3.0 slots must be able to supply even more power).

      If you only use one or two graphics cards, you can probably safely ignore the 6-pin connector and maybe even the second EPS connector.

      • ludi
      • 8 years ago

      It may be to keep the motherboard’s power plane(s) stable, rather than absolute current delivery. Adding an external source near the load point can give better stability under transient loads.

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    Am I the only one who finds the chaingun and bullet-clip heatsinks pathetic?

    Just [i<]imagine[/i<] how much cooler your components would be if the heatsinks had that all-important heatsink feature: large surface area......

      • FuturePastNow
      • 8 years ago

      I agree, the ammunition heatsinks looks cheesy. I’d be embarrassed to own this, if I bought cases with windows, which I don’t.

      These chipsets are just southbridges with fancy names, though, they produce so little heat they don’t even need cooling.

        • crabjokeman
        • 8 years ago

        The X79 PCH produces plenty of heat. (Why do you think lots of X79 mobos have a fan on it?)

          • FuturePastNow
          • 8 years ago

          I assume some of the high-end X79 boards have an NF200 chip, too. I see no reason to expect the X79 PCH to require more cooling than Z68. Or ICH10, for that matter.

            • crabjokeman
            • 8 years ago

            Something has to power all those PCIe lanes…

      • kroker
      • 8 years ago

      MSI always had a thing for weird heatsinks:

      [url<]http://images.hardwarezone.com/upload/files/2010/04/69393535eb.jpg[/url<] [url<]http://www.ixbt.com/mainboard/msi/p35-platinum/heat-pipe-side.jpg[/url<] ...but yes, this is their cheesiest one yet...

        • zoom314
        • 8 years ago

        So far less so than Gigabyte of course. At least this black X79 motherboard once in a case, will not be too bad, as then It won’t be seen as often, especially if there is no window.

      • ModernPrimitive
      • 8 years ago

      I like the color scheme, but I agree. I think i would buy an aftermarket sink if the board belonged to me….

      • crabjokeman
      • 8 years ago

      gim·mick [gim-ik]
      noun
      an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, especially one designed to attract attention or increase appeal.

      verb (used with object) –
      to equip or embellish with unnecessary features, especially in order to increase salability, acceptance, etc.

      [url<]http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gimmick[/url<]

      • CB5000
      • 8 years ago

      hahaha… I thought those were crayons at first! Go Crayola! Those chaingun rounds… they look really strange. They are supposed to look more like… [url<]http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/609820/609820,1289460792,1/stock-photo-gun-belt-rounds-for-gun-on-acu-background-64874965.jpg[/url<]

        • UberGerbil
        • 8 years ago

        You know, a Crayola™ branded board would be pretty amusing, and match well the mental age of the folks they seem to be targeting with this thing.

        It would also give the mobo makers a [i<]good[/i<] reason to revisit the [url=https://techreport.com/r.x/ecs-ka1mvp/board.jpg<]froot-loops-puke[/url<] color "schemes" they were so in love with about a decade ago.

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      I laughed and thought “Well, there’s probably at least one person out there that appeals to” — but then I wondered how many 12 year olds are buying x79 motherboards?

      • Cuhulin
      • 8 years ago

      Actually, I think they are a cute marketing trick, targeting a market that is not you.

      As for surface area, they have more of it than would be the case with a large flat surface — the vertical areas count too. They simply have tried to use a design ethic — think BF3 gamer — that does not suit you. Whether that is the right marketing idea or not, it does avoid everything being the same.

        • Waco
        • 8 years ago

        I was thinking it was more for MW3 gamers. 😛

        • pedro
        • 8 years ago

        I feel this is being aimed squarely at the FarmVille crowd.

    • mthguy
    • 8 years ago

    as much as I like bleeding edge hardware, I cant see myself going the -E route. a better equipt option will be available on consumer boards if I just hold out a while longer.

    And, I am probably never going to use SLI/Crossfire, so that doesn’t really seem to make much of a difference.

    • elmopuddy
    • 8 years ago

    8 dimm slots is the way to go, 8gb sticks are still way more expensive then 4gb.. my next system will definitely have 32gb

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      Samsung it suppose to have new die-shrunk memory coming out spring time, I think in both low voltage and high density variants.

        • mczak
        • 8 years ago

        I wouldn’t hold my breath for that. Currently samsung does 30nm 4 gbit chips, but they are expensive. They should do 20nm-class (samsung doesn’t tell the exact size) 2 gbit chips now and 4 gbit at the end of the year.
        Elpida also claims doing production of 25nm 4 gbit memory chips (just like Samsung they produced 25nm 2 gbit chips earlier).
        That said, market forecasts say 4 gbit chips will only be 10% of all shipments in 2012. This likely means it will remain expensive at least in the first half of the year but possibly even the second half imho.

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