Once you get inside the BIOS you see that MSI has added in a number of fun options for tweaking your board and CPU.
Even after going through all the options on the page, there are a few sub-menus to get through.
And Advanced Voltage control. I would have thought they would put the CPU PLL voltage on the main M.I.T. page, but instead it got listed in the Advanced Voltage section.
MSI has added the ability to tweak the cores individually using their Turbo Boost configuration page.
Another interesting feature is the BIOS enabled power settings. These are in addition to the normal power management features found on the board.
As you can see, there are a lot of items integrated on to the MSI Big Bang X58 XPower.
I have to say that the XPower was one of the easiest boards that I have used to OC my 980X. I was surprised at how quickly I was up and over 4.3GHz with this. I was even able to enter Windows at 4.4GHz. These are speeds that I have not been able to hit before with this CPU. The closest I have gotten before was at 4.238GHz on a GIGABYTE X58-UD7.
I do think that with more time and tinkering I could have gotten much more out of the XPower than I did here. Our final stable OC for the MSI XPower was 166x26 for a clock of 4.318GHz.
You can see the validation for the i7 980X on the MSI XPower here.
We did not use the OC Dashboard much for our testing. It was not that it did not do a good job, it was that it was hard to read and ended up being more hassle than it was worth. It was great for looking at boot codes and some other basic data, but to actually use it for overclocking was just too much.
To get almost anywhere you had to hunt around for the menus. Once you were there you would often have to leave to get to another area to finish up what you wanted to do in the first place. In the end we left it on the time and that was that.
I think that MSI needs to take a look at this and improve upon the design. Personally I feel that a much larger display with a combination of pre-set and soft buttons would work best. Also, the display needs to be able to show more information at one time. Maybe an LCD with a backlight would be cleaner and better.
As all overclocking results are dependent on the hardware you use, your results may vary. Results of our overclocking tests are included in the performance section with the stock scores.
Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time of testing the motherboard. Due to time constraints we weren't able to tweak the motherboard to the absolute maximum and find the highest possible FSB, as this could take days to find properly. We do however spend at least a few hours overclocking every motherboard to try and find the highest possible overclock in that time frame. You may or may not be able to overclock higher if you spend more time tweaking or as new BIOS updates are released. "Burn-in" time might also come into play if you believe in that.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [The Box and What's Inside]
- Page 3 [The Motherboard]
- Page 4 [BIOS and Overclocking]
- Page 5 [Test System Setup and Comments]
- Page 6 [Synthetic Tests - Part I]
- Page 7 [Synthetic Tests - Part II]
- Page 8 [Synthetic Tests - Part III]
- Page 9 [Real-World Tests - Part I]
- Page 10 [Real-World Tests Part II]
- Page 11 [Power Usage and Heat Tests]
- Page 12 [Final Thoughts]
- Page 13 [Update: PCMark Vantage re-visited]
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