Introduction and Specifications

Today we have MSI’s flagship X58 motherboard on our test bench – the MSI Eclipse SLI. Several weeks ago, we evaluated the MSI X58 Platinum, which seemed to be geared toward gaming enthusiasts, but not necessarily those looking for overall performance increases in their PCs. Will the Eclipse SLI follow in the X58 Platinum’s footsteps or create a new path with more performance gains in other areas than gaming?

A high-end LGA 1366 solution from MSI

Over the last several weeks, we have reviewed several mid-range and high-end LGA 1366 motherboards from a variety of vendors. Many of them performed on par with their counterparts, but a couple stood out in certain areas like gaming, overclocking, unique features, and overall performance.

On Mar. 15, we reviewed MSI’s mid-range board called the MSI X58 Platinum. It was a full-featured motherboard with decent overclocking potential once we got the kinks worked out. This time around, we are testing MSI’s flagship X58 motherboard – the Eclipse SLI. This $320 board (around $290 with MIB from Newegg) comes with a host of accessories and built-in features that will entice any enthusiast trying to upgrade to the i7 platform.

Some of the most notable features on the Eclipse SLI are its compatibility with SLI and Crossfire graphics configurations, GreenPower Genie power-saving utility (and companion hardware), and a DLED2 panel to monitor system temps, voltages, and CPU speeds directly from the front of the motherboard. To round out the entire bundle, MSI threw in one of Creative’s X-Fi  7.1 sound cards.

MSI Eclipse SLI X58 LGA 1366 Motherboard Review - Motherboards 107
(Graphic courtesy of MSI)

MSI Eclipse SLI Specifications (from MSI)

– Supports Intel® i7 based processors in LGA1366 package

– Intel® X58 Chipset
– Supports QPI up to 6.4GT/s
Intel® ICH10R Chipset
– Hi-Speed USB (USB2.0) controller, 480Mb/sec, up to 12 ports
– 6 SATAII ports with transfer rate up to 3Gb/s
– PCI Master v2.3, I/O APIC
– ACPI 2.0 compliant
– Serial ATA RAID 0/1/5/10
– Integrated AHCI controller

Main Memory
– Supports six unbuffered DIMM of 1.5 Volt DDR3 800/1066/1333 SDRAM, 24GB Max
– Supports 1Gb/ 2Gb/ 4Gb DRAM size
– Supports x8 / x16 data lines per DIMM
– Supports up to 3 channel mode   
– 3 PCI Express gen2 x16 slots
– Two Black PCIE x16 slots (PCI_E2 &PCI_E4) support up to PCIE x16 speed, one Blue PCIE x16 slot(PCI_ E5) supports up to PCIE x4 speed
– Supports ATI® Crossfire™, NVIDIA® SLI
– 2 Black PCI Express x1 slots
– PCI slot, support 3.3V/ 5V PCI bus Interface

On-Board IDE /SATA
– One Ultra DMA 66/100/133 IDE controller integrated in JMicron® 363
– Supports PIO, Bus Master operation modes.
– Can connect up to two Ultra ATA drives.
SATAII controller integrated in ICH10R/JMicron® 322 / 362 chipest
– Up to 3Gb/s transfer speed.
– Supports six SATAII ports by ICH10R.
– Supports four SATAII ports by JMicron 322, support SATA RAID 0/1/JBOD
– Supports two eSATA ports by JMicron 362
– Supports AHCI controller with SATA RAID 0/1/5/10 by ICH10R

– Creative® SB X-Fi Xtreme H/W Audio Card (MS-4132)
– 24-bit / 96KHz audio quality
– 100dB SNR clarity
– Up to 7.1ch EAX 5.0 Surround Sound

– Supports two PCI Express LAN 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Realtek 8111C.

IEEE 1394 / FireWire
– VIA® VT6308 chipset
– Supports up to two 1394 ports. (Rear panel x1, pinheader x1)
– Transfer rate is up to 400Mbps

Internal I/O Connectors
– ATX 24-Pin power connector
– 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
– CPU / System x 5 FAN connectors
– CD-in connector
– Front panel audio connector
– Front panel connector
– 1 x chasis intrusion connector
– 1 x serial port pinheader
– 2 x USB 2.0 connectors
– 10 x Serial ATAII connectors
– 1 x ATA133 connector
– 1 x IEEE1394 connector support additional 1 port
– 1 x GreenPower Genie connector
– 1 x Reset Button
– 1 x Power Button
– 1 x SPDIF-out connector
– 1 x D-LED2 connector
– 1 x TPM module connector

Back Panel I/O Ports
– 1 x Clear CMOS button
– 1 x PS/2 Keyboard
– 1 x PS/2 Mouse
– 2 x eSATA ports
– 1 x IEEE1394 port
– 8 x USB 2.0 ports
– 2 x RJ45 LAN jacks 

– 12.0in.(L) x 9.6in.(W) ATX Form Factor
– 9 mounting holes

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