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MSI P6N SLI Platinum Motherboard Review - Page 3 of 10

SPECIFICATIONS

MSI identifies the P6N SLI Platinum motherboard as "an extreme SLI gaming platform for mainstream gaming users." Detailed motherboard specifications are provided in the following scrollable table.

MSI P6N SLI Platinum Specifications
CPU
  • Supports Socket 775 Intel Core2 Quad, Core2 Extreme, Core2 Duo, Pentium 4 (Prescott, P4EE), Pentium D, Pentium XE/Celeron D processors
  • Supports FSB 533/800/1066/1333* MHz (FSB 1333 requires FSB 1333 CPU and manual FSB adjustment
    in the BIOS)
  • Supports Intel 05B/05A and 04B/04A processors
  • Supports EIST and Intel Hyper-Threading (HT) Technology
  • Supports Intel Dual Core Technology to 1066MHz plus
Chipset-NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI (C55) Chipset
  • Supports FSB 533MHz, 800MHz, 1066MHz & 1333MHz* (FSB requires FSB 1333 CPU and manual FSB adjustment in BIOS)
  • Support Dual channel DDR2 533/667/800 interface
    to 8GB
  • Support Dual PCI Express 16X interface with either 1x16 or 2x8 operation NVIDIA nForce 430i (MCP55) Chipset
  • Integrated Hi-Speed USB 2.0 controller,
    480Mb/sec, 8 ports
  • 4 Serial ATA2 ports w/transfer to 3Gb/s,
    RAID 0,1, 0+1 & 5
  • 2 channel Ultra ATA 133 bus Master IDE
    up to 4 IDE drives
  • PCI Master v 2.3, I/O ACPI 2.0 Compliant
FSB
  • Supports FSB 533 MHz, 800MHz, 1066MHz & 1333MHz*
  • (FSB requires 1333 CPU and manual FSB adjustment in the BIOS)
Main Memory
  • Supports dual channel DDR2 533/667/800, using (4) 240-pin DDR2 DIMMs
  • Supports the memory size up to 8GB
  • Supports 1.8v DDR2 SDRAM DIMM
Slots
  • (2) PCI Express x16 slots
    - Supports PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    - 2nd PCI-E x16 slot operates at x8 mode when SLI enabled
  • One PCI Express x1 slot
  • (3) 32-bit Master PCI Bus slots
  • Support 3.3V/5V PCI bus interface
On-Board IDE / SATA
  • Two IDE controllers on the NVIDIA nForce 430i chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA133/100/66 operation modes
  • Can connect up to 4 IDE devices
    • NV RAID supports 4 SATA II ports (SATA1-4)
      - Transfer rate is up to 300MB/s
    • NV RAID

    • - Supports up to 4 SATA
      - RAID 0 or 1, 0+1, 5, JBOD is supported
      - RAID function work w/ SATAII H/D
External eSATA RAID
  • 1 SATAII port by Sil3531 (back panel)
  • Supports RAID 0
Audio - Realtek ALC888 HD Audio
  • Flexible 8-channel audio with jack sensing
  • Compliant with Azalia 1.0 spec
LAN
  • Supports 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by RealtekŪ RTL8211BL
IEEE 1394 - VIA 6308P chipset
  • Supports up to 2 x 1394 ports
  • Transfer rate is up to 400Mbps
BIOS
  • Provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
  • Provides a Desktop Management Interface (DMI) function which records your mainboard specifications.
  • Supports boot from LAN, USB Device 1.1 & 2.0 & SATA HDD
ON-BOARD PERIPHERALS
  • 1 FDD port supports 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88MB
  • 1 Serial port (COM 1, supported by pin-out)
  • 1 parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
  • 1 audio jack (5-in-1), coaxial/optical SPDIF out
  • 8 USB 2.0 ports (Rear x 4 / Front x 4)
  • 1 RJ45 LAN jack
  • 1 D-Bracket 2 pinheader
  • 2 IEEE 1394a connectors (Rear x 1 / Front x 1)
  • 1 CD-in pinheader
  • 1 eSATA port

DIMENSIONS
  • 11.96 in. (L) x 9.61 in. (W) ATX Form Factor
MOUNTING
  • 9 mounting holes

FEATURES

The four SATA ports support NVIDIA RAID and there is an extra eSATA for instant back-up function allowing owners to back-up their own data easily and directly when the system is on. FireWire 1394a is provided with a 400Mbps speed. NVIDIA's FirstPacket prioritizing engine is featured and 8-channel HD Audio with both analog and S/PDIF connections via Realtek's ALC888.

Realtek RTL8211B PHY Audio

The P6N SLI Platinum features a single Gigabit LAN connection paired with Realtek RTL8211B PHY audio. Including a single LAN connection is a cost-cutting measure as you will find two of these chips on the nForce 680i motherboards. Pictured below is a singe port SATA 3.0Gbps PCI-E x1 controller chip by Silicon Image SiI3531.

Silicon Image SiI3531 Controller

There are four SATA 3.0 Gbps ports, which should be fine for most gamers, but may be a little restrictive for the avid enthusiast.

SATA 3.0Gbps Ports

The SATA ports support RAID 0, 1, 0+1, or JBOD plus RAID 5 as implemented by NVIDIA's MediaShield. Just to the right of the SATA ports you can see the battery. The red reset button (SW1) in between the battery and the SATA ports is for clearing the CMOS. This "button" is a plus as I prefer just pushing the button versus having to deal with the jumpers when having to reset the CMOS. Just to the right of the battery is the Dual CoreCell chip that you see on most MSI boards. This chip provides the means, when the Dual Core Center is activated, of making and monitoring adjustments to settings without having to enter the BIOS.

nForce 430i MCP

NVIDIA SLI support is provided, but unlike the nForce 680i SLI chipset's PCI-e 46 lanes, the nForce 650i SLI provides a total of 18 PCI-e lanes. This limits configuration capability to either 16,1,1 using a single 16x PCI-E slot or 8,8,1,1 using both SLI slots. Some may scoff at the manual SLI switching card to select between single PCIe 16x or dual PCIe 8x for dual graphics. Again, this is a limitation of the chipset and besides how many times would you have to switch this card? It did not matter for this review since I used a single GeForce 7950 GX2 graphics card.

Note that several features are missing from the nForce 650i SLI chipset compared to the nForce 680i SLI, which include LinkBoost, SLI-Ready memory support, and DualNet.

Next Page: Layout

Last Updated on April 24, 2007


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