With all of these announcements and sneak peeks at these X79 boards, most of the board availability these days and board choices appear to be set in stone. While there isn't much we can say about the Intel X79 chipset as a whole, MSI's offerings at first appeared to be nothing short of mediocre and predictable.
Don't get us wrong, MSI's boards are definitely solid and dependable, but this initial offering of board pictured below just didn't excite us in ways that other manufacturer's boards did.Board from Left to Right, X79A-GD65 (8D), X79A-GD65, X79A-GD45, X79MA-GD45
After we saw all of those boards we could not help but be a little disappointed by the monotony. and somewhat odd PCIe x16 layout, which sees 3-Way SLI or CrossFire going below the motherboard line, as well as severe difficulties connecting the lower Molex connector if a dual-slot GPU is used. That was until MSI decided to send a follow-up email with one more board that they seemingly had left out (on purpose or not, we'll never know).
This little gem pictured below is the MSI Big Bang Xpower II motherboard which features 7 PCIe slots and an aggressive motherboard design.
As you can see from the picture above, this board is definitely one that is designed for serious GPUs and serious GPU overclocking. In addition to that, they have some not-so-serious motherboard accents in their design. We're not sure who necessarily started this trend, but we believe that it has to stop. Both MSI and Gigabyte have decided that their customers want parts of guns or whole guns designed into their motherboard's heatsinks.
The truth is, we haven't spoken to a single person that likes the idea of having a magazine of ammo or a bunch of fake bullets on their motherboard. Everyone seems to agree that alluding to such things in the heatsink design is fine and actually preferred. To many of the industry professionals, system builders, and other reviewers we've spoken to almost everyone agrees that these boards look cheesy and don't really make their owners any more proud of their boards. Carbon fiber, all-black, gunmetal black, subdued coloring is what most of our readers asked.
Hopefully MSI will take these concerns into consideration in other revisions of their highest-end board like we do Gigabyte does with their G1.Assassin board or the upcoming G2.Assasin.
Overall, though, MSI's offerings definitely look pretty broad and will hopefully be competitively priced against ASUS', Gigabyte's, ASRock's, EVGA's and Sapphire's. We look forward to seeing more from MSI and possibly reviewing one of these boards in the near future.
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