MSI P45 Platinum Reviewccokeman - June 29, 2008
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The performance of the MSI P45 Platinum falls somewhere between the two comparison motherboards. In 47 out of 67 benchmarks, the MSI P45 solution performed equally or better than the P45 comparison board, the Asus P5Q Deluxe. Against the X48-DQ6, the performance was equal to or better than the X48 based board in 40 out of 67 benchmarks. Overall, it outperformed both boards in only 9 out of 67 tests run. While this looks like a really poor performance, you have to look at the number of times the performance was equal to the comparison systems. What this shows is that the performance is very close across the board. The scientific benchmarks were really not the strong suite on the MSI offering when compared to the X48 based board. But the performance is not far off the pace considering closeness of most of the results.
The performance of the P45 Platinum at stock speeds does not quite rival that of the X48 based comparison board. Where it really shines is when it comes time to push the clock speeds. This board, in no uncertain terms, allowed me to reach the highest FSB and core speeds of any board I have tested with my Intel Q9450 at 515 FSB and 3920MHz. For a quad core CPU it seems the stars need to be aligned just right to get to and through the 500 FSB plateau. The MSI P45 Platinum reached this plateau and pushed even further than I thought was possible with this chip. I had booted at 500 FSB before, but never was able to gain enough stability to get into the operating system, much less run benchmarks. 500 FSB? No problem! Run benchmarks? No problem! Awesome! Any time the settings deviate from the stock settings on a motherboard there is the chance that it will not boot. On many boards this requires a CMOS clear to get back to the baseline default settings. Just about all of the times I pushed a little too hard all that was required to get back to square one was a simple shut down and reboot. MSI has made the failed overclocking recovery an almost pain free proposition. Almost pain free because the Clear CMOS button on the I/O panel came in handy more than once.
Part of the performance equation with any board is the ability to shed the heat generated by the power regulating components and the chipsets. Over the past few years the predominant solution for enthusiast class boards has been the interconnected heatpipe system that connects all of the heatsinks together to work as a system. MSI has offered a unique look and solution to the heat problem with the Circu pipe system. Five, count them five, heatpipes terminate in finned assemblies over the northbridge and effectively shed the heat generated by the board. The airflow flowing across the finned coolers from the CPU cooler was sufficient enough to keep the assembly from getting too warm. Nice work considering some of the cooling solutions here lately have become so hot that an additional fan was required to keep the heat in check. At 189 dollars, you have a board that falls well under the $350 and up premium that performance boards have been priced at these past few months. If you take the feature set, the performance, overclocking potential with a quad core CPU, then consider the pricing (as low as $159 after rebates) the MSI P45 Platinum is one heck of a bargain.
- Overclocking potential
- Circu-Pipe cooling works
- Onboard switchs
- Overclocking recovery
- BIOS options
- Crossfire X capable
- Not as quick as the X48 based board