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MSI P7N SLI Platinum Motherboard Review - Page 2 of 5

LAYOUT

One drawback with the P7N SLI Platinum's layout is the location of the IDE slots. As you can see the yellow IDE slots are located at the bottom edge of the motherboard. This is an undesirable location when using a large tower case as one would typically run the IDE cable's over the motherboard to reach such devices as IR, CD, and DVD drives. The black colored FDD slot is also located at the bottom of the motherboard, just to the left of the green colored FireWire port.

MSI P7N SLI Platinum 750i

The motherboard has four SATA 3.0Gbps ports, which should be sufficient, but is probably too restrictive for the avid enthusiast. The SATA ports support Raid 0, 1, 0+1, and JBOD plus Raid 5 implemented by NVIDIA's MediaShield. The difference MSI has incorporated here is the ports are angled, which can make for a difficult connection once the motherboard is installed in the case.

Four SATA 3.0Gbps Ports

The nForce 430i Media Communications Processor (MCP) is also present on nForce 650i-based motherboards and controls the four SATA ports and supports transfer rates up to 300MB/s.

nForce 430i MCP

The motherboard seems well-balanced, although the extra x16 PCI-E slot (PCI-E3) and the position of the nForce bus between the PCI-E1 and PCI-E2 slots has pushed the position of the PCI-E1 slot (dark blue) higher on the motherboard. The position of the graphics card is quite close to the DIMM slots, making it difficult to operate the locking tabs.

The P7N Platinum uses a 4-phase power system, incorporating ten 820 mkF and four 470 mkF capacitors. They are short in height and the capacitors positioned around the CPU socket should not interfere with a custom CPU heatsink/fan.

MSI P7N SLI Platinum 750i

The availability of the three x16 PCI-E slots could be of interest. The allocation of x16 PCI-E v2.0 lanes (8 GB/s transfer rate) is limited to PCI-E1 (the first dark blue slot) and the remaining two PCI-E slots are x8 PCI-E v1.0 lanes (4 GB/s transfer rate). You only get the use of 26 lanes as opposed to 32 lanes as found on nForce 780i-based motherboards, but incorporating the use of the nForce 200 bridge is an interesting application of the 750i chipset.

PCI-Express Slots

The rear I/O panel features, from left to right, PS/2 keyboard and mouse connections, FireWire-400 (optional), Optical S/PDIF-Out, two eSATA ports (optional), 4 USB 2.0 ports, one Gigabit LAN port, audio ports up to 7.1 channel support and a convenient CMOS reset button nestled between the USB and eSATA ports.

Read I/O Panel

Front panel switch and LED connectors are located at the right bottom of the motherboard and makes use of MSI's M-Connector. Each connector is clearly labeled and should help keeping the front panel pins straight. To use the connectors you simply make the connections, as in this case the front panel connections, to the pin adapters and then install as a unit on the appropriate motherboard pin headers.

Front Panel Connectors JFP1 and JFP2 w/M-Connector

Next Page: Installation

Last Updated on April 20, 2008


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