MSI X58 Pro-E - A Mainstream Intel X58?

Searching for a Mainstream Intel X58

Searching for a Mainstream Intel X58

Not to sound like a broken record here but the high cost of Intel's high-end CPU microarchitecture, the Core i7, remains a considerable barrier to entry. Almost exactly seven months have passed since the Core i7 debuted, but the situation has only improved slightly.

Ignoring the highest SKU, the newly launched Extreme Edition Core i7-975, and taking what most enthusiasts would regard as the practical option with the Core i7-920, one still has to factor in the cost of the motherboard and realistically, a triple channel kit of DDR3 memory. While DDR3 memory is increasingly more affordable nowadays, the same can't be said of the Intel X58 motherboards however.

Even the cheaper models will easily set you back by at least US$200. Contrast that with AM3 motherboards that are generally less than US$150 and one can see a significant difference in cost for what is essentially a rather similar set of features. After all, one gets more or less the same number of ports, expansion slots and even DDR3 memory and ATI CrossFireX support on both platforms.

Hence, consumers either have to pay for these more expensive X58 motherboards, or opt for a lesser known vendor which may have competitive prices, but compensates perhaps with a slightly inferior feature set. Well, that's set to change with the MSI X58 Pro-E, which goes for around US$189 and unlike its few competitors in that price range, hails from a top tier motherboard vendor.

We can't fathom why MSI went with such an ugly brown for its PCB. Besides that, it appeared to share similar design traits with recent MSI boards, from the design of its passive cooler to the layout.

A very decent selection of ports at the rear of this motherboard, including six USB 2.0 ports, eSATA, FireWire and an optical S/PDIF output.

In our package, we found the following accessories included with the MSI X58 Pro-E:

  • 2 x CrossFireX bridges
  • 1 x IDE cable
  • 2 x SATA data cables
  • 2 x SATA power cables
  • I/O shield
  • Utilities and Drivers DVD
  • User manual
  • Quick Start guide

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