MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review :: MSI P45 Layout

07-20-2008 · Category: Motherboards

By Ben Sun

The P45 Platinum from MSI is a full ATX layout that will fit on cases designed for this size motherboard. The CPU area of the board is a bit cramped but able to use most after-market coolers with no issue. The Circu-Pipe 2 surrounds 3 of the sides of the CPU area cooling the Southbridge, Northbridge and MOSFETs, keeping them all cool on one system.


MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review CPU area

CPU area

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review Huge heatsink

Huge heatsink

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review 3 heat pipes

3 heat pipes


Four DIMM slots populate the board, giving support for up to 16GB of unbuffered 1.8V DDR2 (with overclocking) memory. Normal memory supported includes the DDR2-800 and DDR2-1066MHz. One thing with more than 4GB of memory, the operating system needs to be Windows 64-bit, as 32-bit Windows only supports 4GB of memory due to the 32-bit address limitations.


MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review DIMM slots

DIMM slots

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review SATA Ports

SATA Ports

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review IDE port

IDE port

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review DrMOS

DrMOS


There are six total SATA ports on the board that are controlled by Intelís new ICH10R Southbridge chip. They are located on the bottom of the board stacked in a 2x3 stack at a 90 degree angle to the board, allowing the use of sideways mounted cables on the board. I find this type of arrangement ideal for the cabling in any kind of case, as the SATA cables will not interfere with video cards or power cables as some boards have problems with. Also present on the board is an IDE and a FDD connector.


MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review Expansion

Expansion

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review PCI-E x16

PCI-E x16

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review 24-pin

24-pin

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review 8-pin

8-pin


The Expansion slots on a motherboard determine what type of add-in card you can use with the motherboard. The P45 Platinum comes with two PCI Express x16 Generation 2.0 slots which support ATIís Crossfire multi-GPU platform. When two cards are installed the chipset splits the x16 into two x8 lanes. Single graphics cards installations should be placed in the dark blue slot, as cards installed in the light blue slot gives x8 mode. Two PCI Express x1 slots and two PCI v1.1 slots the expansion on the board bringing the total expansion slots to six.


MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review Rear I/O

Rear I/O

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review Back PCB

Back PCB

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review USB

USB

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review Sound

Sound

MSI P45 Platinum Motherboard Review Firewire

Firewire


Rear I/O on the board consist of the standard PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, a Firewire port, S/PDIF port, 6 USB 2.0 ports, external SATA connector, RJ-45 jack for the onboard Gigabit LAN and 6 audio jacks for the onboard sound. There is also a Clear CMOS button on the rear I/O allowing the user to reset the BIOS without opening the case. External SATA drives are becoming more in use and the inclusion of 6 USB ports is welcome.

Onboard sound is provided by a Realtek ALC888 CODEC. Realtek has a large market share among motherboard makers and the 888 provides 7.1+2 HD Audio for the user. The 888 has ten DAC channels that support 16/20/24-bit PCM format for multiple streaming (7.1+2 channels independent stereo sound output through the front panel output). Onboard audio is good enough for every user except the real audiophile that wants more in the form of the Creative X-Fi discrete audio or sound junkies wanting to use specialized programs.