Eight P35-DDR2 Motherboards Compared

MSI P35 Platinum

The final board in this review to share a design with its DDR3 counterpart is MSI's P35 Platinum. The DDR3-supporting P35 Diamond had a few extra features, but these were all addressed through add-in cards. A brief recap of the layout description found in the P35 Diamond review will be followed by a closer look at BIOS differences.

Features Overview

The P35 Platinum starts out with the same "Circu-Pipe" cooler found in MSI's P35 Diamond, and the same support for two PCI Express graphics cards. The first x16 slot has a full 16 pathways and the second a pathetic 4 pathways, due to the mere 22 lanes found on Intel's P35 Express chipset.

Other slots include two PCI Express x1 and two legacy PCI, for combined support of up to six expansion cards, where the ATX format supports a maximum of seven. The empty space is found at the top, filled instead with two fan connections.

Four of the six Serial ATA ports supported by the chipset are located between graphics card slots, and two of them are potentially too close to the graphics card to avoid interference with large card coolers. The other two Intel ICH9R SATA ports are found on the rear panel. An additional SATA port is supported by the added-in SATA+UltraATA controller, but it will be blocked by nearly any relatively long graphics card when the card is placed in the lower x16 slot.

The only visible difference between the P35 Platinum and its DDR3-sibling P35 Diamond is the type of memory slot used.

MSI P35 Platinum (Revision 1.0)
Northbridge Intel P35 GMCH
Southbridge Intel ICH9R
Voltage Regulator Four Phases
BIOS VP.0B1 (5/10/2007)
266.7 MHz (FSB1066) 266.9 MHz (+0.1%)
Connectors and Interfaces
Onboard 2x PCIe x16 (1x x16, 1x x4 pathways)
2x PCIe x1
2x PCI
3x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)
2x IEEE-1394 FireWire
1x Serial Port Header
1x Floppy
1x Ultra ATA (2 drives)
5x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s
1x Front Panel Audio
1x CD-Audio In
1x S/P-DIF Out
1x SkyTel VoIP Card Connector
1x Fan 4 pins (CPU)
5x Fan 3 pins (System/Power)
IO panel 2x PS2 (keyboard + mouse)
1x RJ-45 Network
6x USB 2.0
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
1x Digital Audio Out (S/P-DIF Optical)
6x Analog Audio (7.1 Channel + Mic-In + Line-In)
2x eSATA (External SATA) Interface
Mass Storage Controllers
Intel ICH9R 6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (RAID 0,1,5,10)
Marvell 88SE6111 1x Ultra ATA-100 (2-drives)
1x SATA 3.0 Gb/s
Realtek RTL8111B PCI-E 1x Gigabit LAN Connection
HDA (Azalia) Controller Interface Realtek ALC888T 8+2 Channel +VoIP Codec
VIA VT6308P 2x IEEE-1394 FireWire

Multi-Streaming audio codecs are "all the rage" in high end boards, and MSI's also supports a VoIP card. But while the features appear identical to the DDR3-supporting P35 Diamond, the Platinum doesn't include the Skytel card in its accessory kit.

The P35 Diamond also features the same rear connector panel as its DDR3 sibling, highlighted by two External SATA connectors and an odd-looking USB riser.

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