MSI X38 mobo to have many new features

August 17, 2007 // 3:16 p.m.

Tags: #1333 #45nm #64nm #circu-pipe #cooling #cpu #diamond #dual #esata #heatpipe #intel #liquid #msi #pci-express #quad #raid #sata #x16 #x38 #x4 #x-fi

Sources close to MSI have told bit-tech that those waiting for the next generation Intel X38 chipset can expect a whole host of new features on the company's flagship motherboard.

The sources said that MSI will use a brand new "Circu-Pipe Liquid" technology, which is an upgraded version of what we saw on the MSI P35 Platinum. Whether it will be just liquid inside the heatpipes that you'll never see, or some form of user watercooling has yet to be seen though.

The board includes support for both DDR2 and DDR3 memory, allowing the end user who is desperate to finally have an alternative to the RD600 DFI ICFX3200 T2R/G for ATI CrossFire, that uses an Intel chipset and has a decent upgrade path. Having both DDR2 and DDR3 support on the board means that you won't need to fork out for both a (potentially expensive) motherboard and expensive DDR3 when DDR3 becomes more widely accepted.

There is a single power regulation phase for both DDR2 and DDR3, as well as separate power phases for both PCI-Express x16 slots which will deliver a full x16 bandwidth on top of support for PCI-Express 2.0 too.

The CPU now also gets a four-way dual-channel PWM design. How this is different from a simple eight-phase design, we aren't quite sure, maybe it's similar to the Abit IP35 Pro's 4x3 arrangement?

The X38 Diamond also comes with the X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI-Express x1 card, like the P35 Diamond, and it also has two extra PCI-Express x16 slots from an extra chipset - these both support up to x4 bandwidth. However, this is at the expense of including an extra PCI slot (of which there is only one) and to be honest why include two PCI-Express x4 slots instead of a single PCI-Express x8 which is more suitable for high end RAID setups and GPU-Physics (if it ever arrives).

On the stacked rear I/O there are now eight USB ports, Firewire, PS/2, S/PDIF, a couple of Gigabit Ethernet and eSATAs as well as six 3.5mm audio jacks.

Finally MSI has dropped the quite frankly crap D-LED readout in favour of a new POST LED readout! Huzzah!

We'll leave you with what we believe is the first image of MSI's X38 Diamond motherboard to hit the 'net, but please bear in mind that this obviously isn't the final cooling solution. Instead, it'll have the aforementioned Circu-Pipe Liquid cooler which will cover the PWMs too. The board is also missing the four extra SATA ports down on the bottom right where you can see the solder points ready for them.

Excited about X38 or are you just waiting for the next Nvidia chipset in November? Let us know your desires in the forums.


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