Earlier this year, NVIDIA launched the nForce 500-series of chipsets for AMD's uprated socket AM2 processors. nForce 590 SLI is NVIDIA's flagship chipset, boasting dual full-bandwidth PCI-Express x16 slots and a whole host of high-end features not seen in competing chipsets. MSI sent us its first nForce 500-series implementation, based on the nForce 570 SLI chipset, which is categorised as a performance gamers chipset in NVIDIA's documentation. The K9N SLI Platinum sports a promising set of features but do these make the K9N SLI Platinum a must-buy? We have the answers for you here.
Support for all Socket AM2 AMD Athlon 64/FX/X2 and Sempron processors with Cool 'n' Quiet technology;
Four DDR2 memory slots supporting up to 8GB of DDR2-800 memory;
NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP;
Dual Gigabit Ethernet via two Vitesse VSC8601 ICs;
Two PCI-Express x16 slots with SLI support (x16/x1 or x8/x8), two PCI-Express x1 slots and three PCI expansion slots;
7.1 channel Realtek ALC883 High Definition audio with jack sensing and optical & digital RCA S/PDIF-out;
Six SATA 3Gbps ports, supporting RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD;
Support for ten USB 2.0 ports (four on back I/O panel and six via on-board pins/expansion brackets);
Two IEEE1394a Firewire ports with internal headers;
One ATA133 connector;
One floppy connector.
Four red SATA cables;
One red IDE cable;
One red single ended floppy cable;
Two molex to SATA power adapters;
SLI bridge and PCI bracket;
Manual and Driver CD;
One port IEEE1394a PCI bracket;
Two port USB 2.0 PCI bracket;
Metal I/O shield.
An incomplete complement of SATA cables and SATA power adapters means that you cannot use everything the motherboard provides out of the box if you don't already have spares. However, owning an SLI board (and potentially two graphics cards) you're going to need a powerful PSU, which implies something recent that should already have SATA power cables.
You can still run RAID5 out the box with the four included SATA cables; you also still get rounded IDE and floppy cables should you need them too. One Firewire 6-pin port is included on the rear I/O panel, and you also get an extra one on one of the PCI brackets. Despite having four USB 2.0 sockets on the rear I/O, there are only an extra two ports included on the PCI bracket with two being used by the 'D Bracket' LEDs for diagnostics. In reality you're still missing support for four usable ports.
In a way, this can be expected since the K9N SLI Platinum is not a top end motherboard with a hefty price tag to boot. It's plausible that MSI saved costs on extras by not including a fully fledged bundle, allowing it to be more competitive in the lucrative performance mainstream market.