Monday, November 7th 2011

MSI Big Bang XPower II X79 Monstrosity Smiles For The Camera

MSI is among the most secretive companies with their socket LGA2011 motherboard early information as the big Sandy Bridge-E day approaches (mid-November), yet we managed to score some early pictures of their top-end product from our spy-satellites and a network of cold war era retirees. Enter the MSI Big Bang XPower II, the company's top-tier socket LGA2011 motherboard for enthusiasts. This board is designed in the XL-ATX form-factor, and will fit in cases with at least 10 expansion slot bays. Thanks to the added board area, it's able to accommodate both a strong VRM, and high room for expansion (with eight DDR3 memory slots and seven PCI-Express slots).

To begin with, the LGA2011 socket is powered by a 24-phase VRM that makes use of driver-MOSFETs, solid-chokes, and High-C POSCAP capacitors. The memory is powered by a 4-phase VRM. The board draws power, apart from the 24-pin ATX, from two 8-pin EPS connectors, and an optional 6-pin PCIe (to stabilize PCIe slot power delivery). We can see many accessories to this VRM, such as phase-loading LEDs, and consolidated voltage measurement points. We are particularly intrigued by the design of the heatsinks over the VRM and chipset. The one over the VRM looks like the barrels of a Gatling gun, while the one over the chipset looks like a small piece from an ammo belt. You will either love it or detest it.

Moving on to expansion, although the LGA2011 processor gives out 32 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes for graphics, the board is facing a lane budget deficit to wire its seven PCI-Experss x16 slots. Perhaps there is a PCI-Express bridge chip to give out additional lanes. The lane configuration is not known.

With storage connectivity, this board will give you a total of six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, from which two come from the X79 PCH, and four from additional controllers. Apart from the two 6 Gb/s ports, the X79 chipset also gives out four SATA 3 Gb/s ports. There are no eSATA ports. The board has a total of eight USB 3.0 ports, all driven by Renesas-made controllers, out of which four are on the rear panel, and four by internal headers. A nice touch here is that the front-panel headers are angled and laid beside the SATA port clusters.

The board features a high SNR (signal-noise-ratio) HD audio CODEC (probably ALC889), backed by Creative's X-Fi MB2 software that gives it even higher fidelity and more features. X-Fi MB2 software works on top of the HDA CODEC's native drivers, and so there is zero scope for any audio driver-related problems. The CODEC is wired to 8+2 channel analog outputs, optical and coaxial SPDIF outputs. There are two gigabit Ethernet connections, and surprisingly, both are driven by Intel-made gigabit Ethernet controllers. One of the two is driven by a compact 8257x series chip wired to the chipset's GbE lane, while the other is a full-fledged PCIe GbE controller. Both are backed by Intel's solid ProNetwork software and low-overhead drivers. Firewire and USB 2.0 make for the rest of the connectivity.

The MSI BigBang XPower II will be backed by a feature-rich UEFI firmware. Expect it to be among the most premium LGA2011 boards.
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70 Comments on MSI Big Bang XPower II X79 Monstrosity Smiles For The Camera

#1
the54thvoid
The ammo belt heatsink looks like a packet of yellow crayons.
Posted on Reply
#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: the54thvoid
The ammo belt heatsink looks like a packet of yellow crayons.
Bingo.
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#3
entropy13
If we're judging by the looks, I'd definitely prefer this over Gigabyte's attempt for something "military."
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#4
TheLostSwede
by: the54thvoid
The ammo belt heatsink looks like a packet of yellow crayons.
Maybe they're special MSI bullets ;)
They won't kill, only mame...
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#5
JrRacinFan
Served 5k and counting ...
Nice! Although, it's either my eyes deceiving me or does the last pic of the I/O look like the boards is pre-warped from the factory? A nice feature to have :roll:
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#6
_JP_
Impressive hardware, silly looks.

What's with the gun-themed heatsinks lately? It looks silly. :laugh:
When I buy a motherboard, I want the felling of having good hardware, not "If this fails, I'm going to gun someone down!".
I see the MSI vs. Gigabyte marketing feud goes beyond the PCI-e 3.0 stuff... :ohwell:
Posted on Reply
#7
mstenholm
by: JrRacinFan
Nice! Although, it's either my eyes deceiving me or does the last pic of the I/O look like the boards is pre-warped from the factory? A nice feature to have :roll:
Yes it is curved.
Like when some prduceres of heat sink said it was intentional for better performance :roll:
Please stop this amy theme. Yet another mobo that I will not buy for that reason alone.
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#8
Animalpak
Haha gatling gun !

I want one with the RPG rocket build in
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#10
pantherx12
Would of been a really nice looking motherboard if they hadn't of spoilt it with that tacky heatsink.
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#11
AsRock
TPU addict
by: _JP_
What's with the gun-themed heatsinks lately? It looks silly. :laugh:
When I buy a motherboard, I want the felling of having good hardware, not "If this fails, I'm going to gun someone down!".
I see the MSI vs. Gigabyte marketing feud goes beyond the PCI-e 3.0 stuff... :ohwell:
Military components = we must add silly heatsinks. Which is a reason i wont by them as i want one that looks like they actually thought about cooling performance and not this rubbish..

So glad i am thinking of waiting till next year as this crappy designing and odd looks over performance is just not except able on these expensive motherboards.
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#12
ensabrenoir
Asus is the only one who got the military theme right all others = fail.

Would've been a nice board if not for the deadly crayons......
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#13
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
Hey, I like the yellow crayon theme too! lol. I'm sorry to disappoint, but I neither love nor hate the silly military marketing. It's a nice board, which I would be happy to buy and I look forward to some benchmarks.

Oh and nice TPU-sourced article bta, quite the scoop you have there. ;) Has anyone else noticed the TPU watermarks on the photos?
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#14
EarthDog
by: JrRacinFan
Nice! Although, it's either my eyes deceiving me or does the last pic of the I/O look like the boards is pre-warped from the factory? A nice feature to have :roll:
If that was giga, it would get rejected in RMA (that happened to me with a UD7).

Yeah, whats with the crayons?

And the TPU photos... what, ya'll breaking the NDA? Better you than me!
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#15
Damn_Smooth
What is with all of the lame SB heatsinks lately? Gigabyte with guns, Asus with fans, MSI with bullets. Is anyone going to make a SB-e board that isn't butt ugly? Seriously, this board would look so awesome without those bullets.
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#16
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: EarthDog
If that was giga, it would get rejected in RMA (that happened to me with a UD7).

Yeah, whats with the crayons?

And the TPU photos... what, ya'll breaking the NDA? Better you than me!
Running boards in sub-zero conditions can lead to warpage. Your position, Earthdog, probably made that RMA denied. :laugh:

That said, the number of boards I have received with out-of-box socket warp is nearly 90%. Much better recently.

Secondly, TPU is not the source of these photos, and I am TPU's board reviewer, and I do not have any NDA with MSI, nor do I have any MSI X79 products. Got questions like that, always best to ask the OEM before making accusations.;)
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#17
EarthDog
Nope, cad. It didnt run cold ever. That (PO)shit was warped out of the box and denied solely because of that.

Hope your surgery went well BTW. ;)
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#18
cadaveca
My name is Dave
Don't matter what really happened though...it matters what they assess.

Still waiting for surgery.
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#19
EarthDog
Riiight, just correcting your false assumption. ;)

Same.. better ask the source than making accusations that I warped the board going cold. Go under the knife already grumpy guy! the gas will do you well.

So qubit bricked on his statement that alluded to the fact that it was TPU's... nice.
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#20
cadaveca
My name is Dave
I didn't assume anything. Just putting that out there. They do have a legit reason for denying RMA on warped boards. Doesn't mean that's the story with your own, but it's something every user should be aware of.

You insinuated that they have no reason to deny RMA for baord warpage. they do, wrongly assessed or not.
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#21
20mmrain
Can we say *Cough* Rip Off *Cough* come on MSI
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#22
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: EarthDog
And the TPU photos... what, ya'll breaking the NDA? Better you than me!
To break an NDA, we'd have to sign one first.

Like I said, our spy-satellites and retired soviet spies did the espionage.
Posted on Reply
#23
the54thvoid
by: 20mmrain
Can we say *Cough* Rip Off *Cough* come on MSI
We can and you did.

And enough of the military theme. If these boards are truly designed for techies and enthusiasts shouldn't the boards have heatsinks shaped like ninja stars, warp coils and buxom babes?
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#24
Maban
by: btarunr
To break an NDA, we'd have to sign one first.

Like I said, our spy-satellites and retired soviet spies did the espionage.
That's interesting, cause I saw another site post these pics and the source was listed as the KGB.
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#25
laszlo
you can't pass through airport security with this

is designed at al-qaeda instructions packed with explosives and at a certain received command from them kabum
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