MSI X58M Motherboard Review :: Layout

07-16-2009 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun

MSI X58M Motherboard Review 8-pin power

8-pin power

MSI X58M Motherboard Review CPU socket

CPU socket

MSI X58M Motherboard Review CPU Socket area

CPU Socket area

MSI X58M Motherboard Review Rear of PCB

Rear of PCB


The X58M is a micro-ATX form factor case able to fit in most cases of that size and full ATX cases as well. MSI decided to offer a full range of expansion options on the motherboard, making it unusual in that regard. Starting from the upper left hand corner we find the 8-pin power connector in the usual position, under the I/O area of the board.


MSI X58M Motherboard Review Southbridge

Southbridge

MSI X58M Motherboard Review Northbridge

Northbridge

MSI X58M Motherboard Review Capacitors

Capacitors

MSI X58M Motherboard Review DIMM slots

DIMM slots


The CPU area is notable in that it is completely free of obstacles. The Socket LGA-1366 interface is larger than the LGA-775 interface it replaces requiring a larger footprint on the cooler. The Northbridge is covered by a small silver heatsink. The Southbridge is covered by an even smaller heatsink with the MSI logo on it. The X58 chipset is manufactured on the 65nm process, meaning it should generate little heat.


MSI X58M Motherboard Review Fintek

Fintek

MSI X58M Motherboard Review Via chip

Via chip

MSI X58M Motherboard Review JMB363 JMicron chip

JMB363 JMicron chip

MSI X58M Motherboard Review More capacitors

More capacitors


MSI outfits this board with six DIMMS (Dual Inline Memory Modules) which is unusual for a micro-ATX motherboard but not unusual for an X58 motherboard. The Core i7 CPU supports Triple-Channel memory in configurations up to 24GB of unbuffered DDR3 memory clocked up to 1333MHz when overclocked and 1066MHz maximum by default. In a change from the Core 2 CPU, the memory controller is on the CPU.


MSI X58M Motherboard Review ALC889

ALC889

MSI X58M Motherboard Review JAUD

JAUD

MSI X58M Motherboard Review CD-In

CD-In

MSI X58M Motherboard Review FP

FP


MSI says the onboard audio is capable of True Blu-Ray audio. The Realtek ALC888S CODEC supports loss-less content protection technology with full-rate audio enjoyment from Blu-Ray Discs. It supports 24-bit/192KHz sample rates with high quality digital decoders and speakers and supports 7.1 channel playbacks with 2 channel independent stereo sound output (multi-streaming) through the front panel stereo outputs.


MSI X58M Motherboard Review Expansion

Expansion

MSI X58M Motherboard Review PCIE lock

PCIE lock

MSI X58M Motherboard Review 24-pin power

24-pin power

MSI X58M Motherboard Review Sysfan 1 and 3

Sysfan 1 and 3


Every Micro-ATX motherboard I've seen on the X58 chipset has two PCI Express x16 slots. One of the big differentiators between the previous X48 and the X58 chipset is the ability to run two NVIDIA video cards in SLI or two ATI cards in Crossfire without a bridge chip. MSI has two PCI Express x16 slots, a PCI Express x4 slot in the middle and a PCI slot for expansion options. Each PCI Express x16 slot has a tab lock which easily removes the video card and holds it in place.


MSI X58M Motherboard Review IDE and FDD

IDE and FDD

MSI X58M Motherboard Review MOSFETs and Capacitors

MOSFETs and Capacitors

MSI X58M Motherboard Review MOSFETs and Capacitors

MOSFETs and Capacitors

MSI X58M Motherboard Review Power button and EZ OC

Power button and EZ OC


The bottom right of the board has a 24-pin power connector. To the left of that is the IDE and FDD connectors, legacy support provided by a JMB363 chip on the board. Two fan connectors are next of the 3-pin variety. The board sports six sideways facing SATA ports, which allows unimpeded installation of long video cards like the GeForce GTX 295 or Radeon HD 4870 x2. A seventh SATA port is also present in the traditional facing.

The JTPM connector is to the left of the seventh SATA port and the FP I/O connection is the left of that connection. If you look closely you can see the label for the FP connections including the HDD, RST, PWSW and LED. There are three USB headers allowing the board to sport up to 12 USB 2.0 ports if brackets with those ports are installed on the system. The JCOM1 header, the Easy OC Switch, the Power button, the Firewire header, the speaker jumper, the CD-In and audio jumpers round out the left side of the board in that order.


MSI X58M Motherboard Review COM1+USB

COM1+USB

MSI X58M Motherboard Review USB

USB

MSI X58M Motherboard Review Rear area

Rear area

MSI X58M Motherboard Review I/O

I/O


MSI went the extra mile on the rear I/O area as well. There is a PS/2 Mouse and a PS/2 Keyboard port if you want to use those legacy devices. Most modern computer users will have a USB Mouse and Keyboard or Wireless versions of those devices and won't need these ports. Six USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire port, the RJ-45 jack for the onboard Gigabit LAN, an external SATA port and six audio jacks for the onboard sound rounds out the I/O on the X58M. MSI really includes a lot on a Micro-ATX sized motherboard and it's good to see.


MSI X58M Motherboard Review Audio driver

Audio driver