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MSI P45 Platinum

11-Way P45 Motherboard Shootout
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MSI’s Platinum series represents high-end features at better-value pricing, and a starting price of around $175 for it P45 Platinum puts this model directly between the high-end and mainstream parts of other brands. That raises a question of whether the P45 Platinum is a better value competitor to high-end parts like the Asus P5Q Deluxe, or an upscale competitor to mainstream models such as the Biostar TPower i45. Let’s see if we can figure it out.

It appears MSI has given up on its Circu-Pipe chipset cooler design and gone with a more artistic style. Under those sinks are the P45 Express northbridge, ICH10R southbridge, and the transistors for a 6-phase CPU voltage regulator.

While all of the P45 Platinum’s key features can be found on a cheaper competitor’s motherboard, none of the sub-$150 boards have all of them. For example, only the Jetway HI04 has a six-phase voltage regulator, but Jetway doesn’t use the RAID-supporting ICH10R southbridge or provide IEEE-1394 FireWire. And while Jetway would appear to have a lead over MSI with its extra eSATA port, MSI has two additional internal SATA ports.

So is the P45 Platinum a more expensive alternative to the Jetway HI04, or is the HI04 a cheap knock-off of the MSI P45 Platinum? A look back at Jetway’s rendition of MSI’s former “Circu-Pipe” cooler design could provide some insight, though Jetway has the singular advantage of its two-digit post-code display.

When it comes to connector placement however, MSI has a huge lead over cheaper competitors. Eight-pin and 24-pin power connectors are almost ideally located at the top rear corner and front edge, the floppy connector is located directly behind the place where most tower cases have a 3.5” external bay, and the Ultra ATA connector is only a little low on the front edge for somewhat easy cable routing to the upper bays of mid-tower cases. This combination pits the P45 Platinum directly against ultra expensive competition like the Asus Maximus II Formula.

Like the Maximus II Formula, the P45 Platinum has the distinction of six forward-facing Serial ATA ports that could be blocked by the hard drive cages of some cases, and two additional upward-facing ports. Graphics card clearance is the reason for pointing those six ports forward, and when placed into a properly laid-out case, either model will allow a full set of drive cables to be installed. MSI has the advantage of separate three-gigabit pathways for its added ports, while Asus’ disadvantage is a side-effect of the otherwise highly-praised SteelVine port multiplier.

There are a few things that prevent MSI from competing directly on price alone with the Maximus II Formula however, as the Asus model has an audio riser card with a claimed increase in audio clarity, and added slot that can service either PCI Express x1 cards or the audio riser card, an externally-mounted diagnostics display module, dual BIOS, and—for those who care about such things—more bling.

MSI doesn’t just lack lights under its power and reset buttons, it doesn’t even put shiny covers on them. Not that this matters to us, but it’s sure to affect the buying decisions of those whose tastes are a little more flamboyant. Beneath the buttons are three USB headers to support a combination of six USB 2.0 ports and bay devices.

So is the P45 Platinum a premium alternative to mainstream motherboards, or a less-expensive alternative to high-end parts? Neither. For today’s review the P45 Platinum owns the $150-200 segment, as it competitors have provided no similarly-priced products to compare it to.

Summary
  1. Introduction
  2. ASRock P45R2000-WiFi
  3. P45R2000-WiFi Onboard Devices
  4. P45R2000-WiFi BIOS And Overclocking
  5. P45R2000-WiFi Software And Accessories
  6. ASRock P45TS-R
  7. P45TS-R Onboard Devices
  8. P45TS-R BIOS And Overclocking
  9. P45TS-R Software And Accessories
  10. Asus Maximus II Formula
  11. Maximus II Formula Onboard Devices
  12. Maximus II Formula BIOS And Overclocking
  13. Maximus II Formula Software And Accessories
  14. Asus P5Q Deluxe
  15. P5Q Deluxe Onboard Devices
  16. P5Q Deluxe BIOS And Overclocking
  17. P5Q Deluxe Software And Accessories
  18. Biostar TSeries TP45 HP
  19. TP45 HP Onboard Devices
  20. TP45 HP BIOS And Overclocking
  21. TP45 HP Software And Accessories
  22. Biostar TPower i45
  23. TPower i45 Onboard Devices
  24. TPower i45 BIOS And Overclocking
  25. TPower i45 Software And Accessories
  26. ECS Black Series P45T-A
  27. P45T-A Onboard Devices
  28. P45T-A BIOS And Overclocking
  29. P45T-A Software And Accessories
  30. Gigabyte GA-EP45-DQ6
  31. EP45-DQ6 Onboard Devices
  32. EP45-DQ6 BIOS And Overclocking
  33. EP45-DQ6 Software And Accessories
  34. Jetway HI04
  35. HI04 Onboard Devices
  36. HI04 BIOS And Overclocking
  37. HI04 Software And Accessories
  38. MSI P45 Platinum
  39. P45 Platinum Onboard Devices
  40. P45 Platinum BIOS And Overclocking
  41. P45 Platinum Software And Accessories
  42. MSI P45D3 Platinum
  43. P45 D3 Platinum BIOS And Overclocking
  44. P45D3 Platinum Software And Accessories
  45. Test Hardware
  46. Benchmark Configuration
  47. Benchmark Results: 3D Games
  48. Benchmark Results: Applications
  49. Benchmark Results: Video Encoding And Synthetics
  50. Performance Analysis
  51. Onboard Audio Quality
  52. Power Consumption And Temperature
  53. Overclocking
  54. Conclusion
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  • 0 Hide
    alex_oneill2006 , 25 August 2008 19:23
    Wait, i think i missed the conclusion... what was the conclusion.....or am i just silly !?

    Great review any who, i have been waiting for one of these. I would say go for the P5Q Deluxe!!!!!!!!11
  • 0 Hide
    iluvgillgill , 25 August 2008 20:30
    the old E6xx CPU is not good enough to explore the FSB of the new P45 chipset. i seen better review then this in term of hardware. there should be at least a dual core 45nm processor and a 45nm quad processor.

    sigh....tom's been lazy with hardware update!
  • 0 Hide
    spuddyt , 25 August 2008 23:40
    I assume it is a mistake that says the P45 platinum from MSI has an X48 chipset?
  • 0 Hide
    DangerousD , 31 August 2008 03:59
    so waht about a decent conclusion something like, are these boarfds worth the extra cash over a P35 chipset variant, everything tells me they offer little incentive over the P35, thoughts anyone?
  • 0 Hide
    Henrlk , 7 September 2008 07:44
    Hello?
    Uhm .. 45nm!?

    I agree, test with a better (new) CPU(s) 45nm Dual/Quad.
    That would be really interesting. This probably means alot to someone that owns the E6xx series CPU which i doubt someone buy if they buy a P45 board.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 3 January 2009 06:47
    Methinks Tom has a bit of biassed attitude favouring Asus tbh