MSI X58M - Feature Set



MSI includes the standard array of components like the Realtek ALC889 HD audio codec, Realtek RTL8111C, VIA VT6315N IEEE 1394a chipset, JMB363 chipset for eSATA, IDE, and SATA, Intel ICH10R for SATA and RAID, along with full support for the Core i7 processor series. With the latest 3 series BIOS, the board fully supports both CrossFire and SLI operation.

MSI also includes an accessories bundle. You get the standard rear I/O panel cover along with 1 x IDE cable, 1 x SATA cable, 1 x USB expansion bracket, and an external Molex power cable. MSI provides a well-written and informative manual and software CD.

BIOS

MSI has a well optioned BIOS that belies the fact this is an "entry level" X58 motherboard. The BIOS is set up for the general enthusiast and includes all the settings one needs to get the most out of this motherboard. Two strengths of the BIOS are the abundant voltage settings and memory timing options. For those who do not wish to tinker that much, MSI provides several auto overclocking options that can take the guesswork out of most of the BIOS settings. We found that these settings will get you about 90% of the way there when overclocking.

We did have a couple of slight disappointments with the BIOS. In the voltage setting options, MSI does not disclose the base voltages that the board defaults to at startup, instead offering a possible range in the text field descriptions. Speaking of the text fields, MSI did a good job on explaining several of the settings and voltage ranges, but inexplicably left out these descriptions in other areas. Our other complaint has to do with the limited control over the CPU and System fan headers. The CPU fan header can be set to control fan speed based on temperatures and the system number one fan header offers three speed adjustments, but the two chassis headers offer nothing in the way of control.

There's a bit more good news and bad news on the BIOS front. There are six Overclocking profiles and M-Flash actually works. We flashed our BIOS twenty five times without an incident, though we still feel safer flashing from a DOS boot disk. MSI also provides their GreenPower technology on this board that allows the BIOS to dynamically control the number of power phases in operation based on load if the CPU Phase control option is enabled. The bad news is that while S3 resume and wake on USB work perfectly, but only up to around 150 Bclk speeds. They system would not resume properly with the Bclk set higher than ~150 in our testing. MSI is working diligently to fix this problem. Other than that, we were very impressed with the BIOS.

Software





MSI’s Overclocking Center application provides monitoring, system information, and basic overclocking capabilities. This application has a come a long way in the past few months but is still a step or two behind Gigabyte’s EasyTune6 and EVGA’s ELeet applications; still, it provides a reasonable number of options and controls. This application is useful for extracting a decent amount of performance improvement out of the system after booting into Windows via the four basic voltage setting changes (really about all you need for i7 in most cases) and Bclk changes up to 265MHz. One benefit of such an approach is that you can reduce or increase performance - along with power requirements and the stress on a system - without rebooting. MSI also provides some presets for various system setups and the ability to save profiles. We did find that the application would not properly identify several four-pin CPU fans.

DPC Latency



We receive a lot of requests for DPC latency results on each board we test. The MSI X58M passed with flying colors using our stock settings at 21x133, but with 12GB of memory at DDR3-1600 at 8-8-8-24 1T timings.

Index The Board
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  • harbin - Friday, July 24, 2009 - link

    This mobo turbo throttles, if that gets fixed, I'll buy one for sure. Reply
  • kenco - Friday, July 17, 2009 - link

    I think it's brilliant that the holes are there to use s775 coolers. I have a Scythe Ninja (rev.B iirc) sat doing nothing. Do you reckon this'll be okay for a spot of overclocking? I'm a bit loathe to try on the retail hsf as I can see a wall (temperatures) being hit fairly quickly. Also - would Artic Ceramique work okay to replace the gunk under the chipset heatsink? The only other thing that concerns me is there's no pwm heatsink.. and there are no holes around there either. Would thermal tape be enough to transfer heat to a few dinky little heatsinks?

    A lorra questions - hope someone's tried one or more already and had success :)
    Reply
  • RagingDragon - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    It has mounting holes for a PWM heatsink - according to the article this board is compatible with the PWM heatsinks used on MSI's full size X58 boards. Reply
  • AsYouWish - Sunday, June 14, 2009 - link

    On page 2 of your article you list the bios revsion on this board as 3.1. I have recently purchased the MSI X58M and no voltage adjustment options are available and the board overvolts the cpu terribly on overclocks (1.35+ volts). The only bios that I see available on the MSI website is revision 1.2 and that is the version that shipped on the board. I am curious as to where you acquired 3.1 bios. Reply
  • Tomzi - Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - link

    I can see BIOS 3.0 on MSI support. Try this, maybe it helps.

    http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=downloaddetail&a...">http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=downl...bios&...
    Reply
  • AsYouWish - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    Thanks for replying, the 3.0 bios did show up the day after I wrote that (or that's when I noticed they were there). I'm starting to think that I'm missing something here. I updated to the 3.0 and still have the same issue. Reply
  • AsYouWish - Friday, June 19, 2009 - link

    Just to assure anyone considering this board, silly mistake on my part. I do have all the control over voltages that I require. This is what I get for taking a year off from pc building and tweaking. Reply
  • wetwareinterface - Thursday, May 28, 2009 - link

    Too many reviews of Gigabyte products or a brain fart probably but on page 1 you state it has "RTL8111C Gigabyte LAN". You do mean Gigabit lan correct?

    Otherwise interesting article and an interesting budget core I-7 motherboard (never thought I'd be saying that this year).
    Reply
  • ICBM - Tuesday, May 26, 2009 - link

    It is a shame SiS is not making any chipsets for Core i7. I assume they do not have a license. Talk about the perfect chance!

    I would think it would be similar to the situation when the i850 was Intel's main chipset, and before i865/875. SiS really offered some great alternative solutions, and motherboard makers actually offered decent motherboards based on their chipsets.

    Competition is greatly needed in the Core i7 chipset market(or lack there of).

    Just a thought....wish.
    Reply
  • AssBall - Monday, May 25, 2009 - link

    Does MSI have any plans for a board like this with integrated video? Getting a uATX board without integrated video seems strange. I'd love to see some cheap x58 with intel IGP. Reply

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