MSI P45 Platinum and Diamond Motherboards

Article Index

Performance Summary and Conclusion

 

Performance Summary: Taken as a tandem, MSI's P45 boards offered up a good gaming experience and the lead all the other boards in ET: Quake Wars, although Crysis results were a bit more mixed.  MSI's boards also really shined during our encoding tests, posting the fastest times in most cases.  Some of the PCMark Vantage suites, however, found both P45's headed towards the rear of the class, with the lowest scores in Productivity, TV and Movie playback, and Communications recorded out of any the boards we tested. 


MSI P45 Platinum

The P45 Platinum is the cheaper of the two boards by nearly $100, but by its performance you wouldn't guess that.   Paired with cheaper, easily attainable DDR2, the Platinum typically matched the Diamond in each of our benchmarks, and was usually even a frame or so faster during our gaming runs.  With the price of DDR2 nowadays, it's a less-costly way to get 4GB or more of memory installed into your system for even more performance.

We're also impressed by the Circu-Pipe 2 - possibly by the aesthetics of the heat pipes and fins if not solely by the cooling performance itself.  The overall layout and color scheme leaves little to be improved upon, including MSI finally getting it right with coordinating the DIMM channels.  There's a few minor placement oddities, like the 8-pin ATX power plug placed high in the corner and the proximity of the DIMM slots to the primary graphics slot, but they don't detract from the overall impression.  Overclocking the Platinum was a great experience, theoretically enabled by the newly introduced DrMOS which, along with shielded chokes and solid capacitors keep temperatures lower than previous generation MSI motherboards.

  • Copper heatpipes culminating in a work of art for a cooler
  • Uses inexpensive DDR2
  • Good overclocker
  • Hardware-OC jumpers (in 2008?)
  • CrossFire kicks back to x8 for each card 
  • Some minor layout issues

 


MSI P45 Diamond

The P45 Diamond is MSI's high-end offering with this chipset, and not only does it come with some better features than the Platinum, but a higher-price as well.  Currently selling around $250-275, it's one of the highest P45 motherboards out there, outpricing some X48 boards as well.  Now, you could turn around and point at the inclusion of the X-Fi riser card and waterblock and point that there's money well spent, and well, yes, we would have to agree with you, at least half of the time.  The X-Fi audio is one of the best, non-discrete, options we have listened to as we attested back in the P6N Diamond review.   However, the cooling actually seems to be lacking the full setup seen on the Platinum, and then you'd still have to go out and purchase a water-cooling kit, such as the Thermaltake BigWater 760i or Corsair Nautilus, each costing another $150 or so. 

Still, the performance was good overall, not necessarily better than the Platinum or boards using comparative chipsets, but definitely on the same level.  Overclocking was a bit more of a project, hampered by finicky BIOS issues and "dead zones" where the boards simply wouldn't post, and the end result was just shy of what we attained on the Platinum.


  • Comes with waterblock pre-installed
  • Creative X-Fi Audio onboard 
  • GreenPower Genie and ControlCenter provide better power efficiency
  • Higher-priced than many other motherboards
  • Still might need external water-cooling kit 
  • Isolated heatsinks

Our Final Verdict:  Either of these two boards from MSI would make a great addition to a mid-level PC, but of the two, we like the value price and use of cheaper, less-latency DDR2 that the MSI P45 Platinum provides.  If you want that higher-end audio, you can always use the money saved on a discreet sound card.


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