MSI P67 Big Bang Marshal Review

MSI P67rB3 Big Bang Marshal Review

Conclusion

No matter how neutral we try and remain when reviewing a new piece of hardware we are only human and enthusiasts just like you. So when we first opened the box to the MSI and saw it’s “Nimitz Carrier” size we couldn’t help but be excited, especially given the excellent performance of recent MSI motherboards.

With everything connected and our overclocking begun the ease in which we hit a stable 5GHz only heightened our excitement and anticipation. After all we have the history of great MSI boards, coupled to the reliable performance of modern Intel chipsets, and with a stupendous 5GHz overclock coupled to the excellent GTX570. Everything, on paper, was there for a test of explosive results and superlatives.

So what went wrong?

That’s a good question. When you introduce extra PCIe sockets there will always be a tiny bit of overhead to keep an eye on it, so we might expect the stock results to be a tiny bit below what we normally see. But the class of the MSI components and technologies should balance most of it out and certainly with a 5GHz chip running the show it should be blistering.

Yet at stock it was consistently behind the reference design, sometimes almost embarrassingly so. When overclocked it won the odd battle by a hair, but was also beaten quite often and sometimes, especially in PC Mark and Crysis, consistently enough and by a large enough margin than can’t be put down to just error tolerance or specific circumstances.

This does make it a tough board to see where it’s aimed. The XL-ATX form factor naturally tends towards the Quad-SLI big score brigade. Indeed the ease with which we obtained a monumental overclock at sensible voltage backs this up. Yet the numbers themselves, the actual results, just don’t cut it. If it’s aimed at the single-card with potential market then it’s way too expensive and once again the test results exclude it from that.

It might seem like this is a very negative review. If so that’s just because of the normally transcendent standards of MicroStar International and amazing ‘on paper’ specifications led us to expect more than a middling board. It’s perfectly fine. Acceptable. Average. Neither good nor bad.

The difficulty is, do you really want to pay about £350 for an oversized board that overclocks like a lunatic but is only actually average in use? Even the professional overclockers surely desire more than just a good CPU-z screenshot for their money?

If you’re absolutely determined to have a motherboard that could double as a garage roof, or have just won the lottery and care about looks way more than performance, then you couldn’t pick a better board. If you’ve only got a couple of GPUs and want the most for your money, you’d be best to look elsewhere. £300+ for a motherboard that is, at best, average is just too much for our tastes.

   

Thanks to MSI for supplying the Marshal for review. Discuss in our forums.