Power Consumption and Conclusions
Both MSI boards experienced lower power consumption during load tests than its Gigabyte counterparts. This could be due to the DrMOS technology built into MSI’s X58 boards. Features that focus on energy efficiency are a smart idea, especially with the world economy the way it is today. In fact, with lower nanometer CPUs and GPUs coming on board, we are noticing a larger emphasis on cutting power requirements for these components.
As with our MSI Platinum review several weeks ago, the MSI Eclipse seemed to have the same strengths and weaknesses. We noticed strong showings for both MSI boards in our gaming benchmarks, but lower performance scores in our media encoding and overall system benchmarks. We also had difficulties initially overclocking both MSI motherboards.
After a little bit of elbow grease (and being shipped a new board), we saw significant overclocking potential with the MSI Eclipse. Sometimes you just get a bad board, but the professionals at MSI resolved the issue and we were able to push the new one all the way to 4GHz. If we were using water cooling or phase-change cooling, I’m sure we could have reached 4.5 or 4.6GHz.
A couple features that really stood out with the MSI Eclipse was its ability to support both CrossfireX and SLI video card configurations and having all three PCI-E slots capable of x16 speeds. This is fairly significant because most boards have that third PCI-E slot set at x8 speeds.
The DrMOS and GreenPower Genie really seemed to balance the amount of power our i7 system needed, which should be a huge selling point for MSI and consumers. There was an initial learning curve when we set up the GreenPower Genie, but after that it was smooth sailing and lower overall power consumption.
As a flagship motherboard, we expected the MSI Eclipse to host every new technology and feature available with most high-end X58 motherboards. We also expected some great bundled accessories, and the MSI Eclipse did not disappoint in that arena. The bundled X-Fi Xtreme was an absolute treat for us and I’m sure all our gaming readers will also rejoice that this sound card was included with this motherboard. The DLED2 panel and GreenPower Genie hardware solution were very unique components that won’t be found with any other vendor except MSI.
One slight disappointment for this reviewer was the incorporation of many legacy features on the MSI Eclipse. Why is this a disappointment you asked? Well, to me, a flagship motherboard should only entertain the newest and best technology available. Period. It shouldn’t be catering to lower-end consumers who want to use budget components like PS2 mice and keyboards. It shouldn’t include PATA even. But, that’s just my humble opinion, for what it’s worth.
Overall, this motherboard was exactly what I expected from a high-end LGA1366 motherboard. It had a plethora of USB ports, SATA ports, multi-GPU support, and DDR3 triple-channel support. After getting a replacement motherboard, we can safely say this board is definitely a great overclocker too. The price point might be a bit high for some to pay, but for everything that’s bundled, it’s a decent deal for those who can afford it.
Pricing and Availability
At the time this review was written, prices for the MSI Eclipse were around $320 ($290 after MIR at Newegg). That puts it squarely in the higher-end of the X58 motherboard market.
After reviewing the technical specifications, benchmark results, and overclocking numbers, the MSI Eclipse is quite comparable to the X58 Platinum. But, after factoring in the extra bundled accessories and external sound card, the price point for this board seems pretty close to what you’d pay if you purchased everything separately. Overclocking to 4GHz was also a huge plus for us and definitely put this board among the best available in this price point and form factor.
While there are plenty of cheaper motherboard solutions available, not many have the same set of accessories or features. Combine that with MSI-unique energy-saving solutions like DrMOS and GreenPower Genie, and you have a unique combination of performance and energy-saving goodness.
Overall, the MSI Eclipse’s price might make some consumers cringe, but if they have the green to put down to purchase this motherboard, we can confidently recommend it for any gamer’s high-end computer system.
You can pick up the MSI Eclipse SLI X58 motherboard at Newegg.com!