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MSI Eclipse: a promising companion for Intel's Core i7

by Parm Mann on 3 November 2008, 09:26

Tags: Core i7, Eclipse SLI, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), MSI

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qapz2

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MSI's take on Intel's X58

MSI's Eclipse has been doing the rounds for a while, but the final version of a mighty-promising X58 motherboard is sitting in our labs and we thought we'd put forward a closer look for the early adopters of Intel's Core i7.

The board, pictured below, is based on Intel's X58 Express chipset and its chosen name of Eclipse is a signal of intent - MSI wants to overshadow the likes of ASUS and GIGABYTE, and it's getting off to an encouraging start.

There's clearly a whole lot of tech jam-packed onto Eclipse's all-black PCB, but it's achieved with a surprisingly stylish design. Unlike MSI's more-colourful boards of old, the Eclipse is a largely black-and-blue affair and it makes for a mean-looking appearance.

MSI's heatsink design is somewhat subdued compared to rival enthusiast offerings, but with Intel's Nehalem architecture doing away with the ol' memory controller, Northbridge temperatures should be far lower than older X48 boards. Keeping the enthusiast in mind, Eclipse's low-profile thermal design leaves ample room for larger CPU coolers to sit atop of the LGA1366 socket.

While the on-board cooling may look fairly basic, MSI boasts high efficiency, zero noise and the best performance thanks to DrMOS - a package which combines a driver with Hi and Lo-side MOSFETS. Eclipse takes DrMOS up another notch and in addition to the six-phase DrMOS on the CPU PWM, MSI has added two-phase DrMOS to the Intel QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) and two-phase DrMOS to the chipset.

Throw in a littering of Hi-C capacitors, active phase switching and sealed ferrite chokes and MSI might just have good reason to claim its board to be more efficient than the competition.