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MSI's P6N Diamond will have on-board X-Fi

MSI's P6N Diamond will have on-board X-Fi

Creative's X-Fi Xtreme Audio chip will be one of the big differentiating features on MSI's P6N Diamond.

Sources close to MSI have revealed that the company is readying the world's first motherboard to use Creative's Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic audio chip as an on-board solution.

The P6N Diamond is based on NVIDIA's nForce 680i SLI chipset, and comes with more than a few surprises. The first surprise is, not surprisingly, the inclusion of Creative's X-Fi XtremeMusic audio chip, arguably giving this board the best on-board sound solution out there.

Secondly, MSI has opted to include two SATA 3Gbps ports with hardware RAID 0 and 1 support. These are in addition to the five native SATA 3Gbps ports with software RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD support that MSI has chosen to include.

This is interesting on two fronts; firstly, the nForce 680i SLI MCP supports six SATA 3Gbps ports and MSI has only included five internal ports, and secondly, native hardware RAID support is a pretty rare feature on modern motherboards. We don't have details on the controller chip used to power the two hardware RAID ports at this time though - that detail should be cleared up by the time the board launches later this month.

The sixth native SATA 3Gbps port may well be the eSATA port on the board's rear I/O panel, but the document we have doesn't mention the controller chip used for that particular port either.

The final feature that stood out as relatively unique were the four PCI-Express x16 slots - this has been done already by Gigabyte, so it's not truly unique, but it's an interesting feature nonetheless. The PCI-Express lanes are configurable between x8-x8-x16-x8 and x16-x8-x16 using a digital switch similar to the one used on the P4N Diamond motherboard.

In theory, you could install a pair of GeForce 8800 GTX cards in SLI along with a pair of dedicated hardware RAID controller cards should the on-board hardware RAID be insufficient. In addition, there is a single PCI-Express x1 slot and two PCI slots to round up the selection of expansion slots on the board.

In terms of pricing, this board isn't going to be cheap. The high-quality components on the board (like the X-Fi audio chip) are going to drive the price up pretty high, but don't expect it to be as expensive as the Asus Striker Extreme. I'm excited at the prospect of this motherboard, providing it can arrive in good time at a reasonable price point with good performance, overclocking and stability. Our sources have asked us not to publish pictures of the board for the time being.

28 Comments

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DougEdey 9th January 2007, 10:42 Quote
It'd be interesting to see if the onboard sound integration will make better gaming benchmarks (even by only a few FPS) compared to a similar solution with an X-Fi card.

Is the onboard X-Fi having the Sound RAM (like, IIRC, the higher end Fatal1ty word)

PS: I feel icky for saying Wendells name.
Tim S 9th January 2007, 10:52 Quote
nah, it's the basic model. :)
DougEdey 9th January 2007, 10:57 Quote
Shame.
Woodstock 9th January 2007, 11:47 Quote
whats the use of motherboard with integrated X-Fi, when the board corrupts your data
JADS 9th January 2007, 11:54 Quote
Hmm the 4 16x PCI-E slots are very interesting :) Maybe they should do a top end version with the high end X-Fi built in and connected to the 5.25" box (Fatal1ty version?).
DougEdey 9th January 2007, 12:07 Quote
Do you mean the 680i Woodstock? hopefully this motherboard won't have the same problems.
Tim S 9th January 2007, 12:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
Do you mean the 680i Woodstock? hopefully this motherboard won't have the same problems.
Indeed, it's only the reference design boards affected by the data corruption problems - this board isn't a reference design. :)
Tim S 9th January 2007, 12:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JADS
Hmm the 4 16x PCI-E slots are very interesting :) Maybe they should do a top end version with the high end X-Fi built in and connected to the 5.25" box (Fatal1ty version?).
That would probably drive the price up well above £300 :(
samkiller42 9th January 2007, 12:23 Quote
Im likeing the look of this board, hopefully MSI will be able to keep up with the Asus Striker, which is the board i have in mind to swap with my EVGA

Sam
JADS 9th January 2007, 12:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
That would probably drive the price up well above £300 :(

Well considering the board costs £200 ish and the sound card + box costs £150 ish then paying £300-£325 for the combo would be a rather sound bargain if you ask me ;) Not only that, but you free up a PCI slot and get high end audio thrown in for good measure.
DXR_13KE 9th January 2007, 21:39 Quote
i am looking at the future and i see that the next few months are going to be interesting.
Lazarus Dark 9th January 2007, 22:46 Quote
About time someone finally put x-fi on board! Wish more mobo's had it.
Aankhen 10th January 2007, 01:44 Quote
Seems like a great idea to me. About time the X-Fi got some onboard love. :D
HourBeforeDawn 10th January 2007, 05:04 Quote
well I like this even with the price increase for those who have so little PCI slots to begin with this is a nice solution, in the past ya having a seperate sound card help in quality and free up cpu cycles but with dual/quad cores thats no longer a real issue so Im in favor for this solution
Paradigm Shifter 10th January 2007, 12:01 Quote
Would be interesting to see if there is increased audio noise with it being onboard - or by 'onboard' do MSI mean 'on a little daughterboard that we provide so you don't use a PCI slot up...'?

It not having the X-RAM doesn't mean much. The games that support it (the only one that springs to mind right now is Battlefield 2... but there are probably more) I don't play, so it's not a problem for me, at least. I'm also presuming that it's a full X-Fi, so there won't be any CPU overhead for it?
Tim S 10th January 2007, 12:22 Quote
It's on-board, not a daughterboard :)
DougEdey 10th January 2007, 12:29 Quote
I think he means like the DFI Karajan audio modules
Tim S 10th January 2007, 12:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
I think he means like the DFI Karajan audio modules
yeah, it's on the board by the PCI slots (the actual chip is right next to the bottom PCI-Express x16 slot - the bottom expansion slot on the mobo)
DougEdey 10th January 2007, 12:43 Quote
Does that mean you have images? We like images, all nice and shiny...
Tim S 10th January 2007, 12:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
Does that mean you have images? We like images, all nice and shiny...
Quote:
Originally Posted by article
Our sources have asked us not to publish pictures of the board for the time being.
DougEdey 10th January 2007, 12:57 Quote
Whats the reason for that? It's not like anyone's going to copy them
Tim S 10th January 2007, 12:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
Whats the reason for that? It's not like anyone's going to copy them
It's pretty obvious where the images came from and our source wishes to remain nameless.
Paradigm Shifter 10th January 2007, 12:59 Quote
Well, thanks for the clarification Tim. :D Now I guess it's wait to see if anywhere does actually test to see if there is an increase in noise when the integrated chip is used. A possibility for Bit-Tech to include in the review? Latencies might also be interesting, since it's an integrated solution...
SteveyG 10th January 2007, 13:15 Quote
They should have started integrating better audio devices into motherboards a long time ago. A step in the right direction if you ask me :)
DougEdey 10th January 2007, 13:19 Quote
I think DFI started it with the Karajan, I have loads of problems with AC97 and surround sound through digital outputs.
Tim S 10th January 2007, 13:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
I think DFI started it with the Karajan, I have loads of problems with AC97 and surround sound through digital outputs.
The shame was that the first Karajan audio modules used AC'97 IIRC.
DougEdey 10th January 2007, 13:28 Quote
Oh yeah, upto and inc NF4 they used the AC97, so what do they use now?
mx0forever 29th December 2008, 03:03 Quote
so yeah the MB has a onboard audio WITCH DOSENT WORK . i have the p6n diamond the audio system SUCKS on do not buy this MB
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