Testbed Setup
Overclocking / Benchmark Testbed
Processor Intel i7-980X ES - 3.33GHz, 6 cores, 12 threads. 12MB L3 Cache
Intel i7-980X Retail - 3.33GHz, 6 cores, 12 threads. 12MB L3 Cache
CPU Voltage Various
Cooling Intel air cooler, Heatkiller 3.0 waterblock, 2 x PA120.2 radiators and 2 x DDC ultra pumps (with Petra top) in series, 1/2 ID tubing for watercooling.
Power Supply Corsair HX950, PCP Turbo Cool 1200W
Memory Corsair Dominator GT 8-8-8-24 2200MHz 4GB kit
G.Skill Perfect Storm 8-8-8-24 2200MHz 4GB kit.
Memory Settings Various
Video Cards MSI N275 Lightning
Video Drivers nVidia 197.45 WHQL
Hard Drive Western Digital 7200RPM 1TB SATA 3/Gbps 32MB Buffer
OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD
Optical Drives Plextor PX-B900A, Toshiba SD-H802A
Case Open Test Bed - Dimastech Benching Station
Lian-Li V2110
Operating System Windows 7 64 bit

We utilized memory kits from Corsair and G.Skill to verify memory compatibility on our test boards. Our OS and primary applications are loaded on the OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD drive and our games operate off the WD Caviar Black 1TB drive. We did a clean install of the OS and applications for each motherboard. For graphics duty, MSI’s GTX N275 GPUs are used to provide performance comparisons between boards during gaming benchmarks.

For our test results we set up each board as closely as possible in regards to memory timings, Uncore, QPI frequency and also match up C-state parameters.  The X58 boards utilized 6GB of memory throughout the course of benchmarking compares. Memory timings are set to 7-7-7-20 1T @ DDR3-1333 for the stock benchmarks and 8-8-8-24 1T DDR3-1600 for the 4GHz processor overclock compares.

We’ve recently updated our graphics drivers to nVidia’s WHQL 197.45 so are a little thin on platform compare results. However, there are a few reviews where gaming performance of X58, P55 and AMD platform compares have been made here and here.


Power Consumption

Our power consumption testing utilizes the same batch of components under similar circumstances in a bid to monitor variances between idle and CPU load conditions. We install the vendor supplied power saving utilities on each board and enable power saving modes that don't involve any kind of underclocking or CPU core frequency modulation in order to run an apples to apples comparison.

ATX PSU switching losses are absent from our figures because we monitor power consumption directly at the DC rails of the PSU. These figures measure only the CPU, motherboard, memory and GPU PCIe power draw via the motherboard and exclude any other peripherals, such as cooling fans and hard drives etc. Actual AC power consumption for the motherboard will be anywhere from 15~40% higher than these figures depending upon the efficiency of your power supply and choice of GPU.

Motherboard DC Power Consumption - Idle

Motherboard DC Power Consumption - Linpack

Motherboard DC Power Consumption - HD Video Playback

Unsurprising that the MSI board comes out on top in these tests. Gigabyte’s UD9 fares well in comparison to the ASUS Rampage III Extreme with DES power saving modes engaged (considering it has two NF200 chips in tow). EVGA trails in all tests behind the UD9 for raw efficiency because the Volterra VRM used for CPU Vcore duty operates at a base switching frequency of 800KHz.  

MSI Big Bang-XPower Overclocking Results


View All Comments

  • Rajinder Gill - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link


    The rev 1.0 change is an input inductor change (to support the OCP increase), a default OCP for VCC increase to 360 amps. plus a small change for PSU startup. These modifications were performed by MSI (by hand) to our second board before they shipped it out to us. Further, there are retail consumers with rev 1.1 boards reporting memory issues like ours.

    Hope this helps.
  • eva2000 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Shame bclk hasn't improved much with those sample boards. Interesting to see if you got 4 samples of each model and averaged their max bclk, how would each brand/board do. Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Probably the same as four samples from first gen boards. Reply
  • mapesdhs - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    These prices do seem a bit wierd given there are dual-socket boads starting at around $300 (eg.
    Tyan S7002G2NR-LE) though of course such boards don't boast RAM speeds or other features
    that enthusiast boards have. On the other hand, a Tyan with two i7s is going to stomp all over
    an enthusiast board with just one i7 for any task that can exploit the higher thread limit, eg. rendering,
    scientific apps, etc.

    Flip side of course is such boards don't normally support SLI/CF. All depends on what one wants
    to use it for. A fair chunk of the enthusiast market might be bragging rights and downright fun, but
    if there's a demand for such things (and there is) then what the heck. :)

  • Zombie1914 - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    Nice review as always.
    Could you post some infos on the temperatures of the Northbridge/Southbridge in standard and overclocking modes?
  • Triple Omega - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    Google Translate much?
    Well at least your stuff doesn't cost $700.
  • laosaaaa - Thursday, July 22, 2010 - link

    ((((((surprisefirms.com))))) This is a great online shopping site. Reply
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  • nyran125 - Thursday, August 19, 2010 - link

    So far ive got a ASUS P5B Deluxe Wi-Fi and its outlasted everything and still running everything smooth 4 adn a hlaf years later with no issue and the ASUS video cards seem to be more vigilant and outlast the rest... This is from experience with various boards adn video cards and ive been happy with every ASUS product ive bought thus far. Reply
  • Rare.human - Sunday, October 03, 2010 - link

    Hey guys, what's the best motherboard currently available that I could buy? Reply

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