The P45 Express is Intel’s new mainstream chipset, but that didn’t mean the motherboards had to use it on mainstream products. A few of today’s samples were lower-cost alternatives to super-expensive X48 models, a few put a gamer-oriented twist on traditional budget parts, and the rest fell somewhere between the two extremes.
We even had a few winners, such as the Gigabyte EP45-DQ6 for the most onboard features and the ECS P45T-A for the lowest-priced CrossFireX performance model. Yet showing off in a few categories doesn’t automatically qualify a product for an award, and neither of these models stood out consistently throughout our tests.
The ASRock P45TS-R could become the motherboard enthusiasts love to hate, with its good performance, lack of features and haphazard connector layout. The fact that it has fewer features than any other part in today’s comparison makes it difficult to consider for a value award, and the lack of sellers quoting a retail price makes such an award impossible.
The second-best performer in today’s comparison, MSI’s P45D3 Platinum also reached the highest stable CPU speed. A generous feature set and good layout further increases its worth, but when it comes to value, we couldn’t find anyone selling it.
Third-place performer and second-place CPU overclocker, MSI’s P45 Platinum looks like a great product, and one that a person can actually buy. Having the same feature set as the P45D3 Platinum, its $175 starting price is completely acceptable. The only question left is whether or not the $25 difference between it and the better-featured P5Q Deluxe favors MSI or Asus. For us, the value competition is a draw between these two feature-laden products.