Benchmark Analysis and Conclusion
Benchmark Analysis: The MSI P4N Diamond had no trouble keeping up with newer motherboards, such as the Abit AW8-MAX and the Asus P5N32-SLI Deluxe. While the performance reported by PCMark05 and 3DMark05's CPU test seemed to paint the P4N Diamond in a somewhat negative light, application and gaming performance using real-world tests did not reflect the same findings, as the nForce4-SLI based MSI P4N Diamond was typically a shade faster than its Intel chipset based counterparts. When comparing the nForce4-SLI to the most recent revision of that chipset, the SLI X16, there are some performance gains to be found, but too few that were significant, at least at this point in time.
At the conclusion of our testing of the nForce 4 SLIX16 based Asus P5N32-SLI Deluxe, we ended up being somewhat disappointed. The board suffered from some instability issues, and the slight performance increases offered by the new chipset didn't justify the much higher price at the time. However, MSI P4N Diamond, conversly showed us rock-solid stability, impressive overclocking results, a digital SLI switch, and a very complete, customizable BIOS. It's been a relative pleasure having the P4N Diamond on our test-bench, as we've encountered no major issues or problems, and performance was very good.
In addition, MSI has pulled out all the stops, and has given the buyer their money's worth with a complete bundle, both on the peripheral side and with the included software. The P4N Diamond also benefits from on-board components such as a complete 7.1 channel audio solution in the Creative Labs Live!, two Serial ATA controllers with RAID options for each, and dual Gigabit Ethernet controllers. With the newer SLI X16 boards pushing the price down on the older boards, the P4N Diamond is now retailing in the $170-185 range. Considering the very complete bundle, the board's digital SLI switch, along with very good stability and performance, we think the P4N Diamond is a good deal for Intel fans looking to move to an SLI capable motherboard. As such, we're giving the MSI P4N Diamond a 8.5 on the Heat Meter.
|•_Performance Compared Favorably with SLIX16
•_Sound Blaster Live! audio
•_Digital SLI Switch
•_Very Good Overclocker
|•_Southbridge ran a little hot
•_Less Graphics Bandwidth than SLIX16