Using Futuremark's 3DMark2005 benchmark in this section of testing I found that
I gained about 200 3DMarks with the 3700+ and 6800 GS cards in SLI with the K8N
Diamond Plus over previous attempts with a nForce x8 SLI motherboard (9978 vs.
The K8N Diamond Plus should be on the enthusiast's short list for consideration.
It has exceptional overclocking potential plus a wide array of options for the
most avid enthusiast.
I found the motherboard's layout to be well thought out giving adequate
clearances around the CPU socket even with the large copper HSF situated on the
Northbridge chipset. The additional spacing given the x16 PCI-E slots solves the
problem of tight clearances when using third party cooling solutions for the
video cards in SLI configuration.
The K8N Diamond Plus features, for the most part, represent those features found
on the K8N Diamond and P4N Diamond with the exception of nForce4 SLI x16
application and a slight upgrade of the on-board sound. Both features are
desirable for the enthusiast and the innovative additional cooling for the
passively cooled Southbridge, using the heat pipe arrangement, is not a
distraction either. The nForce4 SLI x16 application offers full dual PCI-e SLI
x16 lanes over the half speed x8 SLI application. Even though it would appear
some performance increases would be noticeable by opening up the PCI-e lanes in
SLI to a full x16 what was noticed was of little significance to actual
performance other than noted in some of the benchmarks. The Sound Blaster Audigy
SE represents the best offering for a current on-board sound solution.
The MCP chipset, or in this case the referenced Southbridge, has been a problem
area, physically, with SLI boards due to minimal clearance between installed
graphics card(s) and the chipset's heatsink or HSF, depending on the cooling
configuration used. This confined area dictates that the heatsink be of low
profile while being efficient in cooling the chipset. On the K8N Diamond Plus,
using a heatpipe to assist in cooling enables the heatsink's physical mass to be
increased over those units that use a fan for cooling. I applaud MSI in the
design and application of this cooling solution.
With the version 3.07 BIOS performance with the MSI K8N Diamond Plus, using a
wide array of components, was excellent and stability in testing and gaming was
flawless. With the full array of features, overclocking potential, excellent
layout, and being super-stable under stressful loads and gaming situations MSI
has hit another home run with the K8N Diamond Plus.