Since the introduction of the Intel Core i7 processor, we've come across a number of impressive X58 motherboards. Not too long ago, we examined the Asus P6T Deluxe and Gigabyte EX58-UD4P motherboards in detail, which we both found to be excellent products.
Perhaps the biggest problem we saw with these motherboards was their price, both over $ 250, they were far from affordable. Add to that the high price premium for DDR3 memory, and you got a relatively affordable and fast Core i7 920 processor that still had to run on an expensive platform.
Today the DDR3 prices have dropped dramatically. It is now possible to purchase a 3 GB tri-channel kit for just $ 50 or a 6 GB kit for around $ 80. The recent drop in DDR3 prices has caused us to think about the affordability of the Core i7 platform, and we wondered how cheaply users could build one of these systems.
The Core i7 920 is still the only sensible option, and can overclock at $ 280 at speeds well above those of the $ 975 Extreme Edition. Now all we need is an affordable LGA1366 motherboard to get a few MHz more out of the Core i7 processor.
MSI has quietly prepared an army of Core i7 motherboards. Now with five unique models on offer, we feel that they have what we are looking for. The X58 Pro-E is an interesting looking motherboard priced at around $ 200, which is almost as low as that of an X58-based motherboard.
The X58 Pro-E is in the middle of the standard X58 Pro motherboard, which is about $ 20 cheaper, and the slightly more expensive X58 Platinum. Then there is the MSI X58 Eclipse, which at $ 320 is a more aggressive price and is therefore reserved for extreme users.
From our position, MSI doesn't seem to have spared essential functions on the X58 Pro-E. So let's take a closer look at what this motherboard is all about.