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Digital-Daily : Motherboard Reviews : msi_p7n_diamond_platinum

MSI P7N Diamond vs. MSI P7N SLI Platinum

MSI P7N Diamond vs. MSI P7N SLI Platinum
Author: Aleksandr Mitrofanov
Date: 17.03.2008

MSI P7N Diamond
Chipset NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI
CPU LGA775 Pentium 4 FSB 1066/800/533 MHz
Celeron Conroe-L/Prescott FSB 800/533 MHz
Dual-Core Pentium4
Yorkfield, Wolfdale FSB 1333/1066/800 MHz
Quad-Core Kentsfield, Dual-Core Conroe/Allendale
HyperThreading
Memory DDR2 533/667/800/1066
HDD 1x UltraDMA/133
8x SerialATA(2xRAID)
Extras 2 IEEE-1394a
Audio Creative X-Fi
10 USB 2.0
2x Gigabit Ethernet
Price: ~$350 (Price.ru)

MSI P7N SLI Platinum
Chipset NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI
CPU LGA775 Pentium 4 FSB 1066/800/533 MHz
Celeron Conroe-L/Prescott FSB 800/533 MHz
Dual-Core Pentium4
Yorkfield, Wolfdale FSB 1333/1066/800 MHz
Quad-Core Kentsfield, Dual-Core Conroe/Allendale
HyperThreading
Memory DDR2 533/667/800
HDD 2x UltraDMA/133
6x SerialATA(RAID)
Extras 2 IEEE-1394a
Audio - HDA
8 USB 2.0
Gigabit Ethernet
Price: ~$190 (Price.ru)

MSI has presented two quite interesting motherboards based on NVIDIA chipsets. These are quite a powerful and costly P7N Diamond (nForce 780i SLI), and the relatively cheap P7N SLI Platinum (nForce 750i SLI). We note it straight off that despite similar names, the boards have nothing in common, except one trait: they use the additional nForce200 bridge.

On MSI P7N Diamond, engineers at MSI have implemented the most capabilities of the nForce 780i SLI chipset. In particular, the board uses four PCI Express x16 slots, with 16 PCI Express x16 version 2.0 lanes allocated to two of them (from the north bridge, via the nForce 200 bus), and 16 PCI Express v1.0 lanes allocated to one slot (from the north bridge), with eight PCI-E v1.0 lanes allocated to the fourth slot (also from the south bridge).

However, MSI P7N SLI Platinum is even more interesting because engineers at MSI surpassed the capabilities of nForce 750i SLI and installed three PCI Express x16 slots. To the first slot, 16 PCI-E v2.0 lanes are allocated, and to the remaining two - eight PCI-E v1.0 lanes. Therefore, there are 32 lanes altogether, although the nForce 750i SLI chipset supports only 26 lanes. How comes? All is simple - engineers at MSI installed the nForce 200 bridge on the board, wherein the bridge is aimed at nForce 780i SLI. If all runs stably (and it does), then why not to release such a hybrid.

Specifications

MSI P7N Diamond

MSI P7N SLI Platinum


MSI P7N Diamond MSI P7N SLI Platinum
CPU - Intel Pentium 4 (Prescott (2M)/Gallatin/ CedarMill) with the bus speeds 1066/800/533 MHz
- Dual-core Intel Pentium D / EE (Smithfield/Presler) with the bus speeds 800/1066 MHz
- Intel Celeron-D (Conroe-L/Prescott) with the bus speeds 800/533 MHz
- Support for Intel Core (Kentsfield (4 cores), Conroe (2 cores)) with the bus speeds 1066/800 MHz
- Support for Intel Yorkfield, Wolfdale with the bus speeds 1333/1066/800 MHz
- Socket LGA775
- Support for HyperThreading
Chipset - North bridge (SPP) nForce 780i SLI
- South bridge (MCP) nForce 570i SLI
- PCI Express v2.0 nForce 200
- Interbridge communications: HyperTransport bus (1 GHz)
- North bridge (SPP) nForce 750i SLI (C72P)
- South bridge (MCP) nForce 430i (MCP51)
- PCI Express v2.0 nForce 200
- Interbridge communications: HyperTransport bus (1 GHz)
System memory - Four 240-pin slots for DDR2 SDRAM DIMM
- Maximum memory capacity 8 GB
- Dual-channel memory access
- Supported memory - DDR2 533/667/800/1066 (EPP)
- Onboard power indicators
- Four 240-pin slots for DDR2 SDRAM DIMM;
- Maximum memory capacity 8GB;
- Supported memory DDR2 400/533/667/800
- Dual-channel memory access
- Onboard power indicators
Graphics - Four PCI Express x16 slots - Three PCI Express x16 slots
Expansion options - One 32-bit PCI Bus Master slot
- Two PCI Express x1 slots
- Ten USB 2.0 ports (6 integrated + 4 additional)
- Two IEEE1394 ports (Firewire; 1 integrated + 1 additional)
- Two Gigabit Ethernet LAN controllers
- Two 32-bit PCI Bus Master slots
- Eight USB 2.0 ports (4 integrated + 8 additional)
- Two IEEE1394 ports (Firewire; 1 additional);
- Integrated High Definition Audio 7.1;
- Gigabit Ethernet LAN controller
Overclocking options - FSB adjustable within 100 to 625 MHz in 1 MHz increments; multiplier adjustable
- Adjustable voltage of the CPU, memory, FSB, PCI-E, and the chipset (MCH)
- MSI D.O.T.
- Dual CoreCell
- FSB adjustable within 100 to 625 MHz in 1 MHz increments; multiplier adjustable
- Adjustable voltage of the CPU, memory, FSB, PCI-E, and the chipset (MCH+ICH)
- MSI D.O.T.
- Dual CoreCell
Disk subsystem - Two UltraDMA133/100/66/33 Bus Master IDE links (nForce 570i SLI+ JMB363; with support for up to 4 ATAPI devices)
- Support for SerialATA II (6 links - nForce 570i SLI, with support for RAID)
- Support for LS-120 / ZIP / ATAPI CD-ROM;
- Two UltraDMA133/100/66/33 Bus Master IDE links (nForce 430i + JMB363; with support for up to 4 ATAPI devices)
- Support for SerialATA II (4 links - nForce 430i)
- Support for SerialATA II (2 links - JMB363, with support for RAID 0,1, JBOD)
- Support for LS-120 / ZIP / ATAPI CD-ROM
BIOS - 8 Mbit Flash ROM
- AMI BIOS with support for Enhanced ACPI, DMI, Green, PnP Features
- MSI LiveUpdate
- 8 Mbit Flash ROM
- AMI BIOS with support for Enhanced ACPI, DMI, Green, PnP Features
- MSI LiveUpdate
Misc - One port for FDD, one serial port, ports for PS/2 mouse and keyboard
- STR (Suspend to RAM)
- Power-on, Reset, and Clear CMOS buttons
- One port for FDD, one serial port, ports for PS/2 mouse and keyboard
- STR (Suspend to RAM)
- SPDIF Out
- CMOS Reset button
Power management - Wake-up on modem, mouse, keyboard, LAN, timer, and USB
- Main 24-pin ATX power connector
- Additional 8-pin power connector
- Wake-up on modem, mouse, keyboard, LAN, timer, and USB
- Main 24-pin ATX power connector
- Additional 8-pin power connector
Monitoring - Monitoring the temperature of the CPU, system, voltages, rotational speeds of the 3 fans
- Smart Fan
- Dual CoreCenter
- Monitoring the temperature of the CPU, system, voltages, rotational speeds of the 3 fans
- Smart Fan
- Dual CoreCenter
Dimensions - ATX form factor, 245x305 mm (9.63" x 12")

Retail boxes

The package of the boards looks like this:

Package bundle:
  • motherboard;
  • User's Manual in English + brief usage guide;
  • 2x software & drivers CDs (for XP and Vista);
  • 1x software & Creative X-Fi drivers CD;
  • one ATA133 cable, FDD cable;
  • 6x SerialATA cables + 3x power supply adapters (3 connectors);
  • a cap for the rear panel of the housing;
  • a bracket for two external SerialATA ports;
  • one eSATA cable with a matching power supply adapter;
  • bracket for 2 USB 2.0 and one Firewire ports;
  • kit of additional connectors;
  • three SLI bridges;
  • X-Fi sound card.
  • motherboard;
  • User's Manual in English + brief usage guide;
  • 2x software & drivers CDs (for XP and Vista);
  • one ATA133 cable, FDD cable;
  • 4x SerialATA cables + 2x power supply adapters (2 connectors);
  • a cap for the rear panel of the housing;
  • bracket for 2 USB 2.0 and one Firewire ports;
  • kit of additional connectors;
  • SLI-bridge.

The package bundle of the boards proved to be surprisingly rich as compared to that of ASUS' and Gigabyte's products. However, the retail price of the products can't be talked of as low, especially that of the Diamond model. Let's admit that MSI inherited some ideas from competitors. In particular, both the boards offer a pack of special connectors to facilitate plugging the board in to the housing connectors (ASUS was the first to offer these connectors - Q-Connector). From Gigabyte, engineers at MSI inherited a bracket for two external SerialATA ports. Apart from this bracket, the package bundle of MSI P7N Diamond offers one eSATA cable and a matching power supply adapter. Also, MSI keeps on pleasing users with a powerful audio subsystem. Formerly, you could come across full-fledged Creative Live and Audigy chips on its products. This time, the package bundle of MSI P7N Diamond includes a separate sound card based on the Creative X-Fi chip. Our appreciations!

Let's list the standard items: both the motherboards offers a kit of PATA and FDD cables, a mandatory cap, and almost complete kit of 4 SerialATA cables (six - in the Diamond model, four - in the Platinum model). However, the number of power supply adapters is not enough.

The Platinum board comes bundled with a SLI bridge, three - with the Diamond model, which allows merging three NVIDIA cards into a Triple-SLI array!

Along with these, each motherboards offers a bracket for additional USB 2.0 and Firewire ports.

The main user's guide of the two boards is well done and unveils all the stages of system assembly and setup. The boards are also bundled with a brief user's manual in the form of a huge sheet, as well as two drivers & utilities CD (one of Windows XP, with the other one for Vista).

Besides, the Diamond model comes bundled with drivers & software for the sound card. Here is how it looks:

Content:

  • Стр.1 - Specifications, package bundle
  • Стр.2 - Layout and Features; Expansion options
  • Стр.3 - BIOS, monitoring, overclocking tools
  • Стр.4 - Performance and conclusions




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