We were speaking with MSI a few weeks ago about their upcoming product plans and one item stood out in the conversation. No, it was not the excellent 790FX-GD70 motherboard that has earned our admiration and soon our praise, nor was it the new N260GTX-Lightning Black Edition GTX 260 video card or their updates to the Wind Netbook line. Now, all of these and some we cannot discuss are actually very interesting products for their market segments. However, when we heard X58 and $150 in the same sentence, our ear lobes tweaked and sly smiles developed on our faces. We were told that MSI was hard at work on delivering an X58 motherboard as close to the $150 mark as possible.

We thought this idea was really interesting and certainly made sense when looking at the current Intel product lineup - a lineup that currently means either going Socket 775 and buying into the P45 chipset in the $85~$130 range or smartly bypassing the now defunct X38/X48 lineup for the X58 product along with its processor and RAM upgrade requirements. The mere mention of X58 typically means a $300 ringtone goes off in our minds. Lately, that ringtone has become softer as several boards are available in the sub $200 range including MSI’s X58 Pro and various models from ECS, Foxconn, DFI, and Gigabyte.

Well, MSI tried their best to hit the $150 mark and might still make it if rumored price cuts on the X58 hold true in the near future. The board MSI is targeting into the entry level X58 market is the X58M and it arrives in a uATX form factor with an MSRP of $169.99. It's close to the eventual $150 price point but this motherboard is anything but entry level in many ways. The board features the X58 IOH, ICH10R with six 3Gb/s SATA ports, JMicron JMB363 for an additional 3GB/s SATA port, IDE support, and an eSATA port. Also included from the land of Crabs is the Realtek ALC 889 HD audio codec and RTL8111C Gigabyte LAN. MSI even tossed in IEEE 1394a support along with a great layout and overclocking friendly BIOS backed up by some excellent electrical components.

We are starting to see significant interest in the uATX form factor again in the higher end SFF market. In fact, the Core i7 runs cool enough and draws low enough voltage that a user can design a top performing multi-use system around this combination. We expect to see several new uATX designs when P55 hits the market later this year, if not mini-ITX designs based around it. As such, the MSI X58M joins the DFI LANParty JR X58-T3H6 and ASUS Rampage II GENE in the current X58 uATX market, with others set to join shortly.

We are providing a first look at the X58M today, with the goal of providing enough information on the board to make an informed purchasing decision before we complete our next X58 roundup. So, let’s look at the board and initial performance results and see if we have a Mighty Mouse or Mallrat on our hands.

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  • harbin - Friday, July 24, 2009 - link

    This mobo turbo throttles, if that gets fixed, I'll buy one for sure.
  • 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 :)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tomzi - Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - link

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

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