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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)
NorthbridgeIntel P35 GMCH
SouthbridgeIntel ICH9R
Voltage RegulatorFour Phases
BIOSVP.0B1 (5/10/2007)
266.7 MHz (FSB1066)266.9 MHz (+0.1%)
Connectors and Interfaces
Onboard2x PCIe x16 (1x x16, 1x x4 pathways)2x PCIe x12x PCI3x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)2x IEEE-1394 FireWire1x Serial Port Header1x Floppy1x Ultra ATA (2 drives)5x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s1x Front Panel Audio1x CD-Audio In1x S/P-DIF Out1x SkyTel VoIP Card Connector1x Fan 4 pins (CPU)5x Fan 3 pins (System/Power)
IO panel2x PS2 (keyboard + mouse)1x RJ-45 Network6x USB 2.01x IEEE-1394 FireWire1x 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 ICH9R6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (RAID 0,1,5,10)
Marvell 88SE61111x Ultra ATA-100 (2-drives)1x SATA 3.0 Gb/s
Network
Realtek RTL8111B PCI-E1x Gigabit LAN Connection
Audio
HDA (Azalia) Controller InterfaceRealtek ALC888T 8+2 Channel +VoIP Codec
FireWire
VIA VT6308P2x 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.