MSI Big Bang XPower II Review

By on January 17, 2012
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Big Bang returning in all its glory.

Good: Competitive performance when overclocked, Easy UEFI BIOS for overclocking & tweaking, Multiple Gen 2.0 & Gen 3.0 PCIe slots, Spacious layout, High-end capacitors
Bad: Need to make sure XL-ATX size is compatible with desired PC case
Price: AED 1,600
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Moving to the left we see the rear I/O panel which carries the PS/2 port, 6x USB 2.0 and 4x USB 3.0 ports. There are two LAN ports, one powered by the Intel 82579V and one by the Intel 82574L chip. Then there’s one port for Firewire and one for Optical and Coaxial audio out.

Obviously there are 6 audio jacks powered by the Realtek ALC898 chip and Creative X-Fi software for EAX Advanced HD 5.0 and THX TruStudio PRO sound effects. Last, but not least, we have the Clear CMOS button near the top.

Moving down we see the seven PCIe slots, four of which are Gen 3.0 while three are Gen 2.0 slots. Obviously, depending on your combination of SLI or CrossFireX setup, speeds will range from x16 to x8 lanes. So, slots 1/3/5/7 are Gen 3.0 slots which run in x8 speeds when a 4-way setup is utilized. Going up to x16 x16 x8 speeds with a 3-way setup and moving to x16 x16 speeds with a dual-SLI of CFX setup. Keep in mind that in the Gen 3.0 PCIe slots have literally double the bandwidth of Gen 2.0 slots, so even with x8 lanes in Gen 3.0 slots, the bandwidth is equivalent to Gen 2.0 x16 speeds.

And for those who have a complex 3 or 4-way SLI or CFX setup, especially with liquid cooling, there’s a PCIe CeaseFire switch that essentially turns PCIe slots 1/3/5/7 on & off in case one of your cards is having issues.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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