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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 04 January 2011

2011 Consumer Electronics Show: MSI Unveiled

MicroStar International previews their Intel Sandy Bridge motherboards at 2011 CES

The International Consumer Electronics Show is many things to different people. From a consumer perspective, it's a collection of the world's most exciting products on display for everyone to enjoy... a virtual utopia for the gadget geek. For the media involved in covering this event, the hustle to uncover mystery products creates a very different perspective indeed. At the 2011 CES unveiling event where industry leaders offer an early look at their product showcase, Benchmark Reviews was live on the scene snooping out details and revealing the upcoming product line. Our first stop is MSI, otherwise known as MicroStar International.

MSI hasn't received its fair share of attention here at Benchmark Reviews, and we really have nobody to blame but ourselves. Sure, we've enjoyed testing their Wind-Top AE2220 All-In-One PC and the MSI R6870 Radeon HD 6870 video card, but these products barely scratch at the surface. For those that don't already know, MSI specializes in making military-grade desktop motherboard hardware for dead-serious hardcore enthusiasts... as in record-setting Liquid Nitrogen sub-zero cooling serious. MSI commits to this charge with events like the upcoming MSI Master Overclocking Arena 2011 competition, which features their Big Bang X58-series motherboards. But now that we've entered the age of Intel's Sandy Bridge platform everyone is wondering what they'll offer next.

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It's a real shame to say this, but MSI is practically the motherboard industry's champion underdog. They were the first to ever create a motherboard capable of overclocking, the first to release the UEFI BIOS (nearly three years back), and the first to implement military-grade highly-conductive Polymerized capacitors using Tantalum. They've been the first at a number of important features, but very few people know of them. Now they've moved on to the Sandy Bridge platform, and Military Class II components and the OC Genie II overclocking wizard are taking center stage... but it's their flagship model that's turning heads. The MSI P67A Marshal, aka Big Bang Marshal, is an Intel P67-Express motherboard with a total of eight PCI-Express 2.0 expansion slots.

MSI-P67A-Marshall-Motherboard.jpg

Directly following Intel's official announcement of their Sandy Bridge desktop processor architecture and P67-Express motherboard platform, MSI followed suit with several of their own revelations. At the Sands/Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada, MSI took to this opportunity to display their support for the new LGA1155 processor platform by showing off several enthusiast-grade models. Their motherboards were the focus of this even, although many of their latest notebooks, All-in-One PCs, and discrete graphics solutions were also on display. For a full catalog of products on demo, please visit our photo album on Facebook (become a fan of this website while you're at it).

The entire MSI Sandy Bridge motherboard product stack looks like this:

Enthusiast Gaming

  • MSI Big Bang Marshal
  • MSI P67A-GD80

Mainstream

  • MSI P67A-C45
  • MSI P67A-C43
  • MSI P67S-C43

Performance

  • MSI P67A-GD65
  • MSI P67A-GD55
  • MSI P67A-GD53

Media/uATX

  • MSI H67MA-ED55
  • MSI H67MA-E45
  • MSI H67MS-E43

Stay tuned... Benchmark Reviews will publish more details about Big Bang Marshal along with our full review of MSI's Sandy Bridge series just as soon as samples become available.


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Comments 

 
# Eight?realneil 2011-01-05 03:16
Eight PCI-E Slots? What a monster.
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# RE: Eight?Greg 2011-01-05 07:34
What a nonsense, I'd say.
Sandy bridge and the chipset expose a total of 24 PCI-e lanes:
8 for the first graphics card (16 if no second graphics card is plugged in)
8 for the second graphics card
and 8 miscellaneous ones.

Thus, out of these 8 PCI-e slots, only 2 will have 8 PCI-e lanes, and the other 6 will probably have only one PCI-e lane each.

Not enough to plug in even one of the following:
- RAID controller
- 10 GBit NIC

I call "gimmick".
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# RE: RE: Eight?Olin Coles 2011-01-05 07:40
Greg: you do realize that they can add additional PCI-Express 2.0 lanes onto the motherboard, right? They've done it many times before, and they're doing it again. It's really pretty common, which is why I'm glad you can't edit your post.
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# RE: RE: Eight?DaLoona 2011-01-06 03:19
I guess you never read much reviews and stumbled onto tjis one by accident.
Like said before, they do have optional chip that increases the amount of PCIe lanes.
Read up before putting up a silly post.
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# RE: 2011 CES: MSI Unveils P67A Big Bang MarshalDavid Ramsey 2011-01-05 08:28
What's the form factor of that monster? It looks bigger than E-ATX...
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# Awesome!merg 2011-01-05 10:36
this rocks. I have the big bang x power and it's the best mobo i've ever owned. this looks just as good
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# MSI productsBanzai¥ 2011-01-06 05:31
As always, MSI makes some great motherboards with loads of features at the same price of their competition.

Why are mobo's adopting pci-e only though? When you're using dual slot cards (which most enthusiast cards are nowadays) why would pci-ex16 slots racked up next to each other in mass quantity be useful compared over 4 pci-e 2.0 lanes spaced apart? Also, will any of these motherboards use Fuzion?
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