11-Way P45 Motherboard Shootout

P45 Platinum Onboard Devices

Swipe to scroll horizontally
NorthbridgeIntel P45 Express
SouthbridgeIntel ICH10R
Voltage RegulatorSix Phases
BIOSV25.B16 (07/18/2008)
333.3 MHz (FSB1333)334.2 MHz (+0.26%)
Clock GeneratorICS 9LPRS113AKLF
Connectors and Interfaces
Onboard2x PCIe 2.0 x16 (Modes : One x16 or Two x8)
2x PCIe x1
2x PCI
3x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
1x Serial Port header
1x Floppy
1x Ultra ATA (2 drives)
8x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s
1x Front Panel Audio
1x CD-Audio In
1x S/P-DIF Out
1x Internal Power Button
1x Internal Reset Button
1x Fan 4 pins (CPU/Chassis)
4x Fan 3 pins (Chassis/Chipset)
IO panel2x PS2 (keyboard + mouse )
6x USB 2.0
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
1x Digital Audio Out (S/P-DIF Optical)
1x External SATA
1x RJ-45 Network
6x Analog Audio Jacks (8-ch out, Mic+Line In)
Mass Storage Controllers
Intel ICH10R6x SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0,1,5,10)
JMicron JMB363 PCI-E1x Ultra ATA-133 (2-drives)
2x SATA 3.0Gb/s
JMicron JMB362 PCI-E1x External SATA 3.0Gb/s
Network
Realtek RTL8111C PCI-EGigabit LAN Connection
Audio
Realtek ALC8887.1 + 2 channel Multi-Streaming Output
FireWire
Jmicron JMB381 PCI-E2x IEEE-1394a (400 Mbit/s)

The P45 Platinum uses all six ICH10R PCI Express pathways to support two x1 slots and four onboard devices. Notice that MSI uses twice as many third-party ATA controllers as its competitors, and that even the IEEE-1394 FireWire controller uses PCI Express.

MSI has an adequate selection of port types, but we have to wonder why the company chose a single-port eSATA controller when there’s obvious room for two ports ? That eSATA controller is located next to the rear-panel CLR_CMOS button.

Also unlike the more costly competitors, the P45 Platinum supports only one Gigabit Ethernet connector. One port is all most users will ever need, but this small difference still designates the P45 Platinum as a lower-cost part.

We couldn’t photograph the JMicron JMB362 eSATA controller without removing the entire heat-pipe assembly, but here’s a photo of the other controller. The JMB363 adds two internal SATA ports and one Ultra ATA 133 header, and both controllers use PCI Express to enhance data throughput.

MSI is beginning to look like JMicron’s best-friend, using the rarely-seen JMB381 to add two IEEE-1394 FireWire ports. FireWire 400 doesn’t require the speed of PCI Express, but it was probably used to simplify trace routing.

Realtek’s RTL8111C also uses PCI Express for optimal bi-directional transfers.

MSI uses the same Realtek ALC888 codec as Jetway and Biostar, a part rated at 97db signal-to-noise ratio for its eight main speaker channels. The codec also supports a separate sound stream for stereo headphones, allowing audio multi-tasking.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • nickchalk
    Where are the lower price P45 M/B ?
    Asus P5Q pro is out for €110 and P5Q deluxe for €165 the price difference is about 70$ in Greece.
    Reply
  • nihility
    51 pages... You won't be upset if I read just the last 3 pages right?
    Reply
  • Proximon
    I suppose I can get some good from having read this. Did you get paid by the word? Maybe next time you could just put together a complete features chart so that we can have some convenient comparison? You know, so someone could go to a chart and see at a glance which boards had eSATA or firewire, or 8 USB.

    Reply
  • JPForums
    I'd rather have the overabundance of information than a lack of information. Presentation could use a little refining (I.E. comparison charts and the likes), but having the relevant information available at least is a good thing.
    Reply
  • the introduction and specifics are nice, the comparision isn't. so, why don't you test with an 8500 or qx9650? 6850 are outdated... and a mobo handling a c2d doesn't mean it can handle a quad too, see P5K for example (it stinks when it comes to a q6600).
    Reply
  • Crashman
    procithe introduction and specifics are nice, the comparision isn't. so, why don't you test with an 8500 or qx9650? 6850 are outdated... and a mobo handling a c2d doesn't mean it can handle a quad too, see P5K for example (it stinks when it comes to a q6600).
    Tom's Hardware wants the performance of current articles to reflect that of recent articles, so a "standard test platform" was chosen a while ago. It will get updated, but probably not before the new socket becomes widely available.
    Reply
  • zenmaster
    I would have liked to see something such as a P35 and an X48 as controls to help analyze the P45 Performance.

    In otherwords, What is the P45 Gaining me over the older P35.
    What would I gain by going to the X48. (Or Lose)
    Reply
  • Crashman
    zenmasterI would have liked to see something such as a P35 and an X48 as controls to help analyze the P45 Performance.In otherwords, What is the P45 Gaining me over the older P35.What would I gain by going to the X48. (Or Lose)http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-p45-chipset,1961.html
    Reply
  • johnbilicki
    The first 17 pages were filled with nothing but junk from ASUS. Do us a favor: don't even bother featuring or *MENTIONING* anything for any reason from a company that refuses to RMA 200-400 dollar brand new motherboards with anything other then used and usually broken junk. It destroyed my enthusiasm for the article.
    Reply
  • dobby
    nickchalkWhere are the lower price P45 M/B ?Asus P5Q pro is out for €110 and P5Q deluxe for €165 the price difference is about 70$ in Greece.
    the p5q PRo is a p43 board, i should know i have one
    Reply