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MSI Big Bang XPOWER Review

ccokeman    -   July 8, 2010
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Testing:

Testing the MSI Big Bang Xpower motherboard will consist of running it at the baseline clock speeds to get an idea how it performs in stock trim and then it will be overclocked to see if putting the screws to my well worn DO stepping 920 will result in a higher clock speed than some of its contemporaries. To keep the results consistent and have a measure of repeatability, Intel's power savings and performance enchanting technologies will be disabled in the BIOS. The video card control panel settings will be left at the factory default settings with the exception of disabling PhysX for the 3DMark Vantage testing. Will the Xpower deliver a Big Bang or will it fizzle out and drop a dud? There's only one way to find out!

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Motherboards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked Settings:

  • CPU Overclock: 213 x 20 = 4259Mhz

Overclocking the Big Bang was much like all the rest of the X58 boards I have put my hands on. This was through adjusting the same parameters, just with different names attached to each BIOS and board. My 920 is a little stubborn when it comes to bclock overclocking and usually falls flat at 208Mhz. On the Big Bang Xpower, I was able to push to 212Mhz. That's only 4Mhz on the bclock but it pushed the overall clock speed up past 4.2Ghz for a nice 1.25Ghz above the baseline testing, and a solid 1.6Ghz over the stock cpu speed of the Core i7 920. That is well over a 50% improvement in clock speed that does not always pan out to a performance improvement of that magnitude. Working in the BIOS is just one of the ways you can overclock the Big Bang Xpower motherboard. You can use the Overclocking center to do some general overclocking to test the waters, you can use the bclock up and down buttons on the motherboard to raise the base clock speeds or you can use the OC Genie switch on the motherboard. Push the OC Genie switch when the power is off and then boot into your new overclock. On the last board I tested this feature out on (MSI P55-GD65), it worked like a champ and gave me a solid, Prime95 stable overclock of 3.7Ghz on the Core i7 870. While the overclock that the OC Genie set was indeed stable it seems that the programming for the OC genie was a bit less aggressive on this board. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? That depends which side of the fence you are walking on. While you get a less aggressive overclock you also get an overclock that just about any CO or DO stepping chip can reach with stability. So for those who want the most from the board, stick to the BIOS. For those that want to dabble in overclocking, the OC Genie is a great way to get your feet wet. Safe and simple!

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Each CPU has been tested for its maximum stable clock speeds using Prime95. To gauge the maximum stability level, each processor had to be able to perform at least a one hour torture test without any errors.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Geekbench
  4. Office 2007
  5. POV Ray 3.7
  6. PCMark Vantage Professional
  7. Sandra XII
  8. ScienceMark 2.02
  9. Cinebench 10
  10. Cinebench 11.5
  11. HD Tune 3.50
  • Video:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  3. Batman Arkham Asylum
  4. 3DMark 06 Professional
  5. 3DMark Vantage



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