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Review: MSI P35 Platinum - all thrills and no spills?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 20 July 2007, 09:06

Tags: MSI

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qajel

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Specs and discussion



Specification

MSI P35 Platinum
Item Specification
Processor Support All Intel dual/quad-core LGA775 processors, including Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Extreme models.
Pentium 4-series, Pentium Extreme Edition, Pentium D-series
45nm and 1333MHz FSB support. Celeron D support.
Northbridge Intel P35 (MCH)
Southbridge Intel ICH9R
Memory Support 4 DIMMs, DDR2, 533/667/800/1067MHz/1333MHz*, 8GiB max
Graphics (main) 1x PCI Express Graphics x16
PCI Express 1x PCIe x4 (x16 mechanical) via ICH9R
2x PCIe x1 from ICH9R
PCI Conventional 2 slots; PCI2.2
ATA 1x ATA133 port, Marvell 88SE6111 PCIe to ICH9
SATA 4 ports SATA2 AHCI, ICH9R (+2 eSATA)
1 port Marvell 88SE6111 SATA2
SATA RAID RAID0/1/5/10 from ICH9R
LAN Gigabit, (1 x 10/100/1000), Realtek 8111B PCIe to ICH9
Audio HD Audio, 8-channel, Realtek ALC888T codec, ICH9R
Floppy 1 port
FireWire 2 ports, VIA VT6308
USB 12 ports, USB2.0, ICH9R
I/O ports PS/2, 2x eSATA, 6x USB2.0, 1x FireWire 1394a, 1 x RJ45, audio, optical S/PDIF-out
Monitoring ASIC CoreCell
Fan headers 5
Form factor ATX - 12in x 9.6in
Street price as at 20/07/07 ~£110 inc. VAT


* - provided a 1333MHz FSB is used.

The Intel P35 still remains the performance Intel chipset for the newly-released 1333MHz FSB Core 2 processors. We're still waiting for the official release of the X38 Bearlake model that will replace the venerable i975X as the enthusiast-class chipset.

MSI's P35 Platinum, then, provides requisite support for present 65nm LGA775 parts as well as the ability to run 45nm Penryn-based processors, presumably with a simple BIOS update.

Being Platinum, MSI pairs up the P35 northbridge with the ICH9R southbridge, meaning on-chip RAID as standard. Further, the provision of a second x16 mechanical slot, albeit x4 electrical, will allow you to combine a couple of AMD (ATI) graphics cards and run multi-GPU CrossFire.

MSI has opted for ubiquitous DDR2 on this SKU and memory support scales with the installed processor, with an option for running dual-channel DDR2-1333 - if you can find some - with a 1333MHz FSB CPU in situ.

Intel decided to drop chipset-based PATA (IDE) support with the introduction of the ICH8 southbridge. ICH9R continues the theme and motherboard manufacturers have had to integrate a discrete controller to keep most folks happy. MSI goes with a hybrid Marvell controller that provides 2-channel ATA133 and a single SATA2 port. We note, however, that optical drives cannot be accessed under DOS, so any disk-imaging software reliant upon it will not work.

The rest of the spec is pretty much what you'd expect given the underlying chipset. Looking at the Realtek audio codec, the ALC888T, we note that it doesn't support DTS Connect or Dolby Digital Live, which is a shame.

Summary

The MSI P35 Platinum is a feature-rich P35 chipset-based motherboard that has most of the bases covered. Price, too, is competitive, shipping at around £110.