The Big Bang Marshal is a big motherboard; it is 13.6 inches long and about 10.5 inches wide. This means that if you are considering this board, you will need to get a really big case. No mid and mini towers for you. Taking our minds off of the size of the board for a minute, we come to our usual starting point.
MSI allows you to turn off some of the PCIe ports to maintain a more stable platform when running a lot of voltage through the board. These can also be used to quickly switch between the primary GPU without needing to remove that card. The other block of switches are for allowing extra voltage to the CPU, I/O and other primary components. The amount of the overvoltage is 200mV.
Looking at the area around the CPU, we see one of MSI's better decisions. This is the move to using the Hi-c Capacitors on their high end boards. These use what has been dubbed a self-healing metal that under heat becomes malleable; this allows it to reform as it cools and to take its original shape. The other benefit is that it keeps the area unobstructed for better air flow. I have to hand this one to MSI - they really did make a great move here.
MSI wants to make sure you have plenty of power to the Big Bang Marshal. You get two 8-pin Aux power connectors along with an extra 6-pin connector to keep power to the PCIe slots. Speaking of PCIe slots, you get a ton of them when you buy this board. There are four fully x16 electrical slots (slots 1, 3, 5, 7). The ones in-between are x8. Of course, this does not mean you are going to get x16 on all of these if you have them populated. Typically you will get x8 out of each when you have more than one slot populated per pair. For example, if you have a GPU in slots 1 and 5, you get dual x16. If you have a GPU in slots 1 and 3, you get dual x8. What is interesting is that if you drop a single GPU in slot 3 or 7 on their own, you will still only get x8.
From this angle we get to see the on-board controls; Power, Reset, OC Genie and Multi BIOS. Near these we find a pair of diagnostic LEDs and the CMOS battery. If you look closely, you can also identify a PLX bridge like the ones that ASUS uses.
Wow, that is all I can say here. There are eight USB 3.0 ports. This is in addition to two GBe ports, two USB 2.0 ports, two combo USB/eSATA ports and then of course the more typical audio ports. Not a bad selection of items back here.
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