975X Express Motherboard Round-Up: Foxconn, Abit, and MSI

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MSI 975X Platinum v2: Specifications and Bundle

 

MSI entrant in this round-up, the 975X Platinum v2, also happens to be on of the least expensive by a few dollars, but don't let this motherboard's low price fool you.  It's not a low-budget solution by any means. Although it does have a relatively low price, the 975X Platinum v2 is feature rich and stacks up well against the other two motherboards features in this article.

        

MSI 975X Platinum v2
Features and Specifications

CPU
Supports Socket 775 for Intel Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Duo, Pentium 4 (Prescott, P4EE), Pentium D, Pentium XE/Celeron D processors in LGA 775 package
Supports FSB 533/800/1066 MHz
Supports Intel 05B/05A and 04B/04A processors
Supports EIST technology
Supports Intel Hyper-Threading (HT) Technology
Supports Intel Dual Core Technology to 1066MHz and up

Chipset
Intel 975X Chipset
Supports FSB 533MHz, 800MHz & 1066MHz
Support Dual channel DDR2 533/667/800 memory interface up to 8GB
Support Dual PCI Express 16X interface with either 1x16 or 2x8 operation

Intel ICH7DH Chipset
Integrated Hi-Speed USB 2.0 controller, 480Mb/sec, 8 ports
4 Serial ATAII ports w/ transfer rate up to 3Gb/s and support RAID (0,1, 0+1)
1 channel Ultra ATA 100 bus Master IDE controller
PCI Master v 2.3, I/O ACPI 2.0 Compliant
Integrated AHCI controller

FSB
Support FSB 533 MHz, 800MHz & 1066MHz

Main Memory
Supports 4 unbuffered DIMM of 1.8 Volt DDR2 SDRAM
Supports up to 8GB memory size
Support Dual Channel DDR2 533/677/800MHz and up

Slots
Two PCI Express 16X slots (PCI Express Bus SPEC V1.0a compliant)(When running Cross-Fire technology, dual 16X slots run at dual 8X speed)
Two PCI Express 1X slot
Two PCI 2.3 32-bit Master PCI Bus slots. (support 3.3v/5v PCI bus interface)

On-Board IDE
One Ultra DMA 66/100 IDE controller integrated in ICH7DH and JMicron JMB361
Supports PIO, Bus Master operation modes
Can connect up to 2 Ultra ATA 100 drives on IDE1 & 2 Ultra ATA133 drives on IDE2 (powered by JMicron JMB361 controller)

LAN
Intel PC82573 PCI-Express Gb LAN Controller

Serial ATAII controller integrated in ICH7DH
Up to 300MB/s transfer speed
Can connect up to 4 Serial ATA II drives
Supports ACHI controller with SATAII RAID 0, 1, and 0+1
Supports SATAII hot plug

JMicron JMB361 chipset
Supports RAID 0, 1 and JBOD (onboard SATA5 & IDE2 connector)
Can connect up to 2 Ultra ATA 133 drives on IDE2 & 2 SATA drives on SATA5

On-Board Peripherals
1 floppy port supports 1 FDD with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88Mbytes
1 Serial port (COM A)
1 parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
8 USB 2.0 ports (Rear x 4/** Front x 4)(** Front USB ports are supported by pin-out)
1 6-in-1 audio jack (S/SPDIF out)
2 PS/2 connectors
2 IEEE 1394 (Rear x 1/ **Front x 1) (** Front 1394 port supported by pin-out)
1 LAN RJ45 connector

Audio
High Definition link controller integrated in Intel ICH7DH chip
Audio codec Realtek 882M
Compliance with Azalia 1.0 spec
Support Universal Audio Jack (only Front Audio Jack)

IEEE 1394
VIA 6308P chipset
Supports up to two 1394 ports (Rear panel x1, front x1)
Transfer rate is up to 400Mbps

BIOS
The mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
The mainboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your mainboard specifications.

Dimensions
12in.(L) x 9.65in.(W) ATX Form Factor

Mounting
9 mounting holes


        

MSI's 975X Platinum v2 includes a balanced assortment of accessories and software. Along with the motherboard itself, we found a complete user's manual, a quick installation guide, and instructions that explain how to create RAID driver floppies using the included driver CD. The driver and utility CD that accompanies the 975X Platinum v2 also contains copies of Adobe Acrobat Reader, MSI's proprietary Fuzzy Logic utility, MSI Live Update, PC Alert, and Norton Anti-Virus.

The 975X Platinum v2 also includes four SATA cables, rounded floppy and 80-wire IDE cables, two 4-Pin Molex to SATA power adapters, and a custom I/O shield. MSI throws in two case brackets in the package as well, one with diagnostic LEDs and a pair of USB 2.0 ports and another with a pair of Firewire ports.  Lastly, we found a clear plastic CPU installation tool that was much more difficult to use than our preferred tools - our index finger and thumb.


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