MSI Mobos and Graphics @ Computex 2010 - Wooing the Enthusiast

After the Big Bang - MSI's Motherboards @Computex 2010

After the Big Bang - MSI's Motherboards @Computex 2010  

Unless you're a creationist, it's pretty much widely accepted that the universe came into being after a Big Bang. It is hence an appropriate term that a new motherboard series earlier this year from MSI bore the name 'Big Bang'. One of the earliest examples of the Big Bang series is the Fuzion, a very interesting board that utilized the Lucid chip to enable multi-GPU configurations between graphics cards from incompatible rivals, ATI and NVIDIA. While the initial implementation left much to be desired, Lucid and MSI have been working constantly to improve the driver support. Additionally, MSI has built on the Big Bang series, notably releasing the XPower, an extreme, Intel X58 enthusiast board that we previewed here.

MSI's work at refining the Fuzion has apparently paid off and the board has been recognized with a 'Best Choice' award at Computex 2010. The company however is moving along with its wooing of the enthusiast: the recently released trailer of 3DMark11, the upcoming version of the popular benchmarking suite prominently features MSI's logo. This is a product placement that will be seen by enthusiasts all around the world, and will raise the company profile even further.

With these developments in mind, we check out MSI's components- motherboards and graphics cards - at its Computex 2010 booth to find out what the company has up its sleeves for the rest of the year and beyond.


For those who don't understand Chinese, the electronic banner here says MSI welcomes President Ma. The President may not be there when we toured the booth but pro gaming team, Team Fnatic was there to promote MSI's gaming notebooks. Our focus in this article however will be on MSI's impressive range of components, basically your motherboards and graphics cards,

Indeed, it's a world's first as MSI gets first dibs at showing off the latest, pre-release build of a new iteration of popular benchmark 3DMark11. While the exhibit here was mostly running the trailer, the actual application was installed.

This is 3DMark11, with three presets similar to what's found in 3DMark Vantage. You can adjust the tessellation quality, something that's touted for DX11. This is of course an early build and there are no scores after the benchmark run. According to MSI, the full version will be bundled with some of MSI's products in Q3.

Designed for the extreme user, the MSI Big Bang Fuzion gets the Best Choice of Computex 2010 and it is showcased prominently at MSI's booth of course. Its main claim to fame is the Lucid chip onboard that allows for mix and match of rivaling graphics chipsets, with the proper software drivers and support.

MSI's Big Bang motherboard series (Fuzion, Trinergy and XPower) has some of MSI's highest end features, including the use of top quality, military grade components.

The centerpiece of MSI's 3DMark11 demo is the system powering it, which uses a MSI XPower motherboard with its high-end ATI Radeon HD 5870 Lightning.

And what have we here? This appears to be an early board based on Intel's 6 series chipset. From what we can tell, it will be a P67 Express board, with native SATA 6Gbps and dual CrossFire/SLI. MSI's own unique features, like OC Genie and DrMOS are all present. Interestingly, there are two OC Genie buttons onboard. We wonder why....

MSI is also ready to expand the Fuzion concept further with the 870A Fuzion, which would make it the first AMD-based board to have the Lucid chip. It's however targeted at the entry/mainstream level, as seen by the choice of the AMD 870 chipset. According to MSI, GPU support is also limited to more mainstream graphics cards, like the Radeon HD 5700 series or NVIDIA's GT250.

To prove that the technology and board is more than ready for the market, MSI was demonstrating a system configured with the 870A Fuzion along with two MSI graphics cards, using a NVIDIA GT250 and an ATI Radeon 5770.

MSI was a bit slower to get into the 3rd party controllers for USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps, which meant that the Big Bang Fuzion lacked these, the company has rectified the situation with the P55A Fuzion. This is an Intel P55 Express motherboard with SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0. It also comes with advanced enthusiast features like V-Check Points for measuring voltage.

Another new MSI feature responding to Intel's recent announcement of new Core processors with unlocked multipliers is found on these MSI boards, though you'll probably need a BIOS update to enable them on existing models. This Super Unlock feature will automatically unlock the multiplier during OC Genie's auto-overclocking process, enhancing the amount of overclock possible.

MSI claims that with Super Unlock, it will be capable of much higher amount of automatic overclocking than its rivals.

To make its point, here's a GTX 465, one of NVIDIA's latest GPU paired with a P55-GD85 motherboard and automatically overclocked for greater performance.

This is another board based on Intel's 6 series chipset. From its configuration, we presume that it's using Intel H67 chipset. It's a compact mATX size but equipped with MSI's own technologies, including Super Ferrite chokes and OC Genie.