Intel P965 Shoot-Out: Asus P5B-E vs. MSI P965 Platinum

Article Index

Performance Summary and Conclusion


Benchmark And Performance Summary: 

For two boards that are labeled as "mid-range", we found that their performance was anything but.  The P965 Platinum either tied or beat the Asus P5B-E in each test, whether synthetic or real-world, although the delta between the two boards was slight at best.  Where the ASUS P5B-E really shines is in overclocking.  Although we were initially satisfied with the 366MHz FSB we achieved on the P965 Platinum, the P5B-E nearly doubled the increase, maxing out at 454MHz.


Although a bit short on looks and additional items, ASUS has ultimately offered a well-rounded board that performs well and overclocks even better .  Throughout our testing, the board remained stable even when reaching a front side bus speed nearly 200MHz over the default frequency for our E6300.  Not once during this time did we run into any major crashes with the system or with Windows.  When benchmarks failed to run, raising one of the many voltage options in the BIOS usually enabled us to continue onward.  For tweakers, the BIOS covers all aspects well, including a full array of DRAM timings and voltage options to play with.

The software that comes with the P5B-E covers all of the basics, from monitoring the temperatures and fan speeds without entering the BIOS or installing other third-party programs, to overclocking the system from within Windows.  The AI Booster could probably use a "boost" itself, however, offering more options to the user.  It remains to be seen whether or not the issues we had with our failing RAID setup are endemic to the new ICH8R, the Intel Matrix Storage Manager drivers, or something else, but the drives worked fine before and have been working fine since.

If there's one area that the P5B-E falls short, it may well be the lack of any sort of dual-graphics support.  That might not affect a huge number of potential buyers, who can opt for the ASUS P5B Deluxe which does come with two PCI-E x16 slots for slightly more money.  For the current going price of approximately $149 it seems to be a good bargain, and getting a nice overclock will only sweeten the deal.


  • Good Core 2 Duo performance
  • Excellent overclocking results 
  • Plenty of BIOS options


  • No CrossFire for this P965 board
  • Plain-jane color scheme
  • Odd placement of SATA drive header 

MSI P965 Platinum:

You can say the MSI P965 Platinum has a bit more panache than the ASUS P5B-E.  It's got better looks, performs just a tiny bit better, and comes with two full PCI-Express slots and a more robust bundle.  The downside to including two slots, however, is that using dual graphics cards disables the two x1 slots in the process.  There are still plenty of other features to talk about, however, including Gigabit LAN, 7.1 channel HD audio, and a slew of SATA and USB ports to connect your devices to.

On the software side of things, we were a bit let down by the utilities that came with the MSI P965 Platinum.  Not that the programs were actually lacking the features that we wanted, we just couldn't get them to run all of the time.  We're sure MSI will look into resolving some of these issues as time goes by, but it's disheartening to have one application close because another is running, especially when they are linked to each other.  We also encountered a few issues with the JMicron controller that did get solved with a BIOS revision.  

The P965 Platinum seems to be priced about the same as the P5B-E, maybe even a few dollars less at some retailers.  For those who want to jump right in an get going, the MSI P965 Platinum seems like a great choice especially when paired with a Core 2 Duo CPU.  Supreme tweakers might be more interested in the number of BIOS choices and overclocking results of the ASUS P5B-E, however.    


  • Good performance
  • Supports dual-graphic cards
  • CrossFire consists of x16/x4 configuration
  • Modest overclocker 
  • Flaky software

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Tags:  Intel, Asus, MSI, ATI, MS, shoot, SHO, platinum, PLA

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