MSI is well known to most of us as motherboard manufacturer or more accurately, MSI is present in that area of IT industry for a long time. Still, company had certain problems in this segment. You must likely imagine that those were some sort of technical problems but truth is that competition started to use better quality BIOS on their motherboards (especially in era of P35 chipset models). We don’t say that MSI didn’t know what’s important to implement into BIOS chip of motherboard. Problem actually reflected in “disobedience” of those options. Frankly, problems were eliminated in later BIOS versions yet impression of incompleteness existed for a while.
Unwritten rule on InsideHW says that we usually leave BIOS options and their effects for the end. Still, MSI P45 Platinum motherboard made us to change that “policy” for the first time.
BIOS called “Cell”
If we know that every newer motherboard comes with standard BIOS options we will only mention those options that left an impression on us and those were options that we didn’t meet so far. First we must mention “MEMORY-Z” option, very useful option that works the same way as CPU-Z in Windows does or it’s better to say “MEMORY-Z” will save your time during overclock. “H/W Monitor” option will provide you monitoring of temperatures for all vital computer components and to control number of rotations for fan that you’ll mount on this motherboard. All overclock options are placed in “Cell Menu” section and they are brilliantly organized in folders. BIOS and especially Cell Menu are settled on such a level that we must congratulate MSI for that (you can check voltage values in table).
|| Steps of change
|CPU|| 1.125 - 1.75V
| CPU GLT REF0®1
|| 0.7614 - 0.7906V
|DRAM|| 1.5 - 3.07V
|NB|| 0.80 - 2.37V
| VTT FSB
|| 0.90 - 1.3V
|SB|| 0.56 - 1.52V
During overclock, motherboard behaved just as any contemporary motherboard should. Or simply put, it didn’t bug after unsuccessful overclock… It even happened few times that we needed to use clear BIOS function but that procedure is alleviated by micro switch on back panel of motherboard. For resetting numerous options, it’s necessary to previously saved settings load from one of two load profiles. Every memory divider worked properly (which wasn’t the case with previous models) and P45 Platinum achieved stabile FSB at 560MHz which is great result.
And What About Hardware?
If motherboard overclock is good that means that BIOS is good, but overclock isn’t possible without properly selected and even better implemented hardware parts. CPU power unit on MSI P45 Platinum is 5-phase and does its job correctly, even during overclock of quad core processor. It’s also nice to see 2-phase power filtration for NB and RAM. All electrolytes on motherboard have the highest possible quality. It’s a little bit oddly that NB strap is set by jumper on motherboard, which is placed between PCI-E x16 slots. This can be inconvenient if you have two graphics cards (other manufacturers solved this problem thru BIOS).
Cooling solution is next part of P45 Platinum that looks like the MSI engineers spend a lot of time while projecting it. We are talking about 5 heat pipes that are joined at warmest spot – NB, and these 5 heat pipes are bended over NB forming the shape of fish bone thanks to cooling ribs fitted on end of each heat pipe. This type of cooling system resulted in excellent performances (maybe the best that we saw so far). Pure copper was used as material for pipes and not some copper alloy. Confirmation of this statement is fact that after several days of testing, copper oxidized on places where it was touched. In hot summer days palms are pretty much sweaty and salt from palms definitely helped in this process. We also must admire at almost perfect layout of this motherboard.
MSI P45 Platinum motherboard is proof that MSI engineers got down to work. We can only congratulate MSI on decision to invest little bit more time on R&D and send word to MSI: “Just keep up the good work!”
| Specifications M S I P 4 5 P l a t i n u m
|N° sockets, max. memory||4x DDR2 (max 16GB)|
|Chipset||Intel P45 + ICH10|
|Sound||Realtek ALC888, 8 kanala HD|
| SATA support, N° connectors
||6x SATA2 + 1x PATA + eSATA|
|LAN||Realtek RTL8111C - 10/100/1000 Controller|
|Connectors|| 2x PCI Express 2.0 x16, 2x PCIe x1, 2x PCI,
12x USB 2.0, 2x Firewire
| Test Results M S I P 4 5 P l a t i n u m
| 3D Mark 06 (default)
|SM 2.0 / SM 3.0|| 4.955 / 4.687
|3D Mark 05||18.512|
|3D Mark 03||36.601|
|CRYSIS (gpu / cpu)|| 132 / 184 fps
|FEAR (Min/Avg/Max)|| 83 / 181 / 475 fps
|BLENDER 2.45||30.1 s|
|DivX 6.8|| 248.1 fps
|WinRAR 3.7|| 1.943 KB/s
|Read|| 6.989 MB/s
|Latency|| 72.3 ns
Test Configuration: Intel C2Q QX9650, 2x1GB DDR2 800, GeForce 9600GT