MSI P35 Platinum Combo Intel P35 Motherboard

Introduction and Product Specifications

DDR3 is the future of desktop PC memory in the near term, no question about it.  Nonetheless, the transition to the next level of memory technology will be a gradual one, much like we saw when we advanced from DDR to DDR2.  With higher latencies and higher price tags, the argument for migrating to DDR3 in its current state isn't a strong one, but as the technology matures, that argument will become increasingly strong as the benefits and costs of DDR3 become more tangilble and affordable.

One issue facing system builders today is how to approach a new build if they want to future-proof it as much as possible.  Does one go with a DDR3 board and pay a premium for minimal performance gains, but ensure that the memory can be upgraded in the future?  Or do you stick with the proven DDR2 memory, which will surely be around for a while, and tackle the DDR3 issue at a later date?  MSI hopes to make that decision process a little easier by offering the best of both worlds in a single motherboard.

Today, we're evaluating the MSI P35 Platinum Combo which is virtually identical to the original P35 Platinum, with the added capability of supporting both DDR2 and DDR3 memory.  In the pages ahead, we will revisit the board's main features, then focus on performance with both DDR2 and DDR3 memory installed.  With the ability to support current and future memory technology, MSI aims to offer a flexible motherboard solution for current system builders, making memory considerations simple.

MSI P35 Platinum Combo Motherboard
DDR2/DDR3 Support

• Supports Socket 775 for Intel Core2 Quad, Core2 Extreme, Core2 Duo, Pentium 4 (Prescott, P4EE), Pentium D, Pentium XE/Celeron D processors in LGA 775 package
• Supports FSB 800/1066/1333 MHz
• Supoprts Intel 05B/05A and 04B/04A processors
• Supoprts EIST techonology
• Supports Intel Hyper-Threading (HT) Technology
• Supports Intel Quad Core Technology to 1333MHz and up
Intel® P35 Chipset
• Supports FSB 800MHz, 1066MHz & 1333MHz
• Support Dual channel DDR2 667/800 memory interface up to 8GB
• Support Dual PCI Express 16X & three PCI Express 1X interface
Intel® ICH9 Chipset
• Integrated Hi-Speed USB 2.0 controller, 480Mb/sec, 12ports
• 4 Serial ATAII ports w/ transfer rate up to 3Gb/s
• PCI Master v 2.3, I/O ACPI 2.0 Compliant
• Support FSB 800MHz, 1066MHz & 1333MHz
Main Memory
• Supports 2 unbuffered DIMM of 1.8 Volt DDR2 or 2 unbuffered DIMM of 1.5 Volt DDR3 SDRAM
• Supports up to 4GB memory size
• Support Dual Channel DDR2 667/800MHz and up (Intel P35 chipset supports up to DDR2-800 officially. For DDR2 800+, manually BIOS adjustment is needed)
• Support Dual Channel DDR3 800/1066MHz and up (Intel P35 chipset supports up to DDR3-1066 officially. For DDR3 1066+, manually BIOS adjustment is needed)

• One PCI Express 16X slots (PCI Express Bus SPEC V1.0a compliant
• Three 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 66/100/133 IDE controller integrated in Marvell 88SE6111
• Supports PIO, Bus Master operation modes
• Can connect up to 2 Ultra ATA 100 drives
Serial ATA II controller integrated in ICH9 and Marvell 88SE6111
• Up to 300MB/s transfer speed
• Can connect up to 5 Serial ATA II drives (4 internal drives from ICH9, 1 drive from 88SE6111)
On-Board Peripherals
• 1 floppy port supports 1 FDD with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88Mbytes
• 1 Serial port
• 1 parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
• 12 USB 2.0 ports (Rear x 4/** Front x 8)(** Front USB ports are supported by pin-out)
• 1 6-in-1 audio jack (S/SPDIF out)
• 2 PS/2 connectors
• 1 LAN RJ45 connector
High Definition link controller integrated in Intel ICH9 chip
• Audio codec Realtek 888
• Compliance with Azalia 1.0 spec
• Flexible 8 Ch. audio with jack sensing
• Realtek RTL8111B PCI-Express Gb LAN Controller
• 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.
12in.(L) x 9in.(W) ATX Form Factor
6 mounting holes

MSI typically provides a decent retail complement with their hardware and this holds true with the P35 Platinum Combo.  Our sample came with the requisite User's Manual, Drivers CD and an oversized Quick Guide for easy component identification.  MSI also included four SATA cables, an IDE cable and one floppy cable for those still using floppy drives.  MSI also provides Molex-to-SATA power adapters and a FireWire bracket that connects to a header on the mainboard.  M-Connectors are provided for simpler case connections while DDR2/DDR3 Turbo Cards are used for proper memory configuration, as we will cover in the pages ahead.

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