Under Core i7's Hood: Comparing The C0 And D0 Steppings

Hardware: MSI X58 Pro-E And Zalman CNPS 10X

Board: MSI X58 Pro-E

Revision 3.1 of MSI's X58 Pro-E has already undergone a number of changes and improvements in order to optimize it. It's an upper-mainstream product, but won’t satisfy the requirements of hardcore enthusiasts going for the most extreme cooling techniques in an effort to hunt down clock speed records.

The five-phase voltage regulator was powerful enough to support our Core i7 analysis, and it supports the clock speeds you will be able to reach on air cooling. Three PCI Express slots can host a trio of graphics cards. One of these slots, though, will have to run on only four PCIe lanes as opposed to the other two running 16 lanes each.

MSI also decided to add a third-party controller to support eSATA and a seventh internal SATA port. However, only the six internal ICH10R SATA ports support AHCI and RAID 0, 1, 10, and 5.

Cooler: Zalman CPNS 10X

We’ve already reviewed the new Zalman cooler against Intel’s reference cooler as a high-end aftermarket option. You'll see that in an upcoming story on upgrading your factory cooler.

The new CNPS 10X can significantly reduce CPU core temperatures almost regardless of fan speed. Other high-end aftermarket coolers would also have been an option, but the test system proved to be reliable and sufficiently powerful, which is why we stayed with the setup.

The CNPS10X is based on a copper core and supports automatic fan speed or three different manual speeds. The speed controller can be removed from the cooler and routed outside of the PC case.