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MSI P6N SLI: The "Step Down" Model

Seven 650i SLI Motherboards Compared
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For buyers who really want the P6N SLI Platinum but can't justify its middling price, MSI has a low-cost version based on the same circuit board. The P6N SLI promises most of the same major features, but without the fancy cooling kit or accessories.

Features Overview

Anyone looking for a detailed description of layout should refer to the previously described P6N SLI Platinum, as the standard P6N SLI uses the same board but with some minor component changes.

Most noticeable of cost reductions on the P6N SLI are the two passive aluminum coolers. MSI logo covers add style but hinder airflow, requiring at least a downdraft-style CPU cooler to reach adequate cooling levels. Other cost reductions include the use of electrolytic capacitors for everything except CPU power.

MSI P6N SLI (Revision 1.0)
Northbridge NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI (C55 SPP)
Southbridge nF430 (MCP51)
Voltage Regulator Four Phases
BIOS 2.1 (04/04/2007)
266.7 MHz (FSB1066) 266.7 MHz (+0.0%)
Connectors and Interfaces
Onboard 2x PCIe x16 (1x x16 or 2x x8 pathways)
1x PCIe x1
3x PCI
2x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
1x Floppy
2x Ultra ATA
4x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s
1x Serial Port Header
1x Front Panel Audio
1x CD Audio In
1x Fan 4 pins (CPU)
3x Fan 3 pins (System)
1x Power LED
IO panel 2x PS2 (keyboard + mouse)
1x RJ-45 Network
4x USB 2.0
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
1x Digital Audio Out (S/P-DIF optical)
5x Analog Audio (7.1 Channel + Mic-In or Line-In)
Mass Storage Controllers
MCP51 4x SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0,1,5,10 capable)
2x Ultra ATA-133 (4-drives)
Network
NVIDIA Gigabit Network 1x Realtek RTL8211BL PHY
Audio
HDA (Azalia) Controller Interface Realtek ALC888 7.1 Codec
FireWire
VIA VT6308P 2x IEEE-1394a (400 Mbit/s)

The only controller missing from the P6N-SLI, as compared to the Platinum version, is eSATA. That makes this the cheapest board in the lineup to include IEEE-1394 FireWire

MSI further removes the digital coaxial output connector from the non-Platinum version, but remaining features are left in place.

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