The finest Sandy Bridge motherboard yet.
The MSI Big Bang Marshal is designed with extreme performance in mind, so it’s not surprising to see 4 DIP switches to tune the voltage settings and another 4 to enable/disable the extra PCIe slots. Moving below, there are the voltage check points for which the cables are already included. Underneath that are the USB 3.0 headers, again, for which 2 brackets are provided with 2x USB 3.0 ports each. Below that are the 4x SATA III (6Gbps) ports and 4x SATA II (3Gbps) ports. [EDIT: MSI have informed us that they will be mounting the B3 version chipsets on all the BBM motherboards to resolve the SATA 3 issue on all intel P67 series platforms. Look at the end of the review for a provisional way to resolve the issue for the time being]
Let’s have a look at the rear panel now, with 8x USB 3.0 ports; coupled with the 4 headers, that’s a total of 12x USB 3.0 ports. Then there are 4x USB 2.0 ports, 2 of which also double as eSATA ports. Dual LAN Gigabit ports are obviously present, and finishing things off are the 7.1 HD audio connectors powered by a Sound Blaster X-Fi MB2 chip which allows for THX TroStudio Pro and EAX Advanced HD 5.0 audio.
Like I said before, nothing was spared in the making of the Big Bang Marshal, which is why MSI decided to slap together all of this on an XL-ATX board. Make no mistake; this thing is huge, requiring 2x 8-pin power connectors up top, in addition to the 24-pin main connector. There’s also an additional 6-pin power connector for when you have all PCIe slots in use. Our 1200W Cooler Master PSU proved ample for the job.