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MSI's P6N Diamond with X-Fi pixellated

MSI's P6N Diamond with X-Fi pixellated

MSI's P6N Diamond has on-board X-Fi, as we reported back in January.

A couple of months ago, we managed to get hold of some information regarding MSI's upcoming P6N Diamond board - the first motherboard to feature an on-board X-Fi sound chip.

The board was delayed for a while, and the company is now quite late to market with its high-end nForce 680i SLI solution.

Instead of widespread sales, MSI expects to release the board as a limited edition and may bolster the bundle up a little in the process.

The on-board X-Fi means that the P6N Diamond has arguably the best embedded sound solution on a motherboard to date.

Typically, motherboards are stuck with low-quality chips that aren't up to scratch if you're a heavy gamer. With that said, on-board sound improved dramatically when the HD audio era started to really take off, but there was still no contest between discrete and embedded audio.

Other noteworthy features on the P6N Diamond include four PCI-Express x16 slots that are configurable between x8-x8-x16-x8 and x16-x8-x16 using a digital switch, hardware RAID 0 and RAID 1 (on two SATA ports), and support for MSI's Dual CoreCell technology. We've attached a picture of the board below.

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19 Comments

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r4tch3t 17th March 2007, 09:15 Quote
Any idea on release price? I would have liked to see a 16x 16x 4x and 4x option as well, instead of rendering one slot inoperative when in SLI mode.
Nice board though. And with the X-Fi on board, the PCI slots are less needed.
DougEdey 17th March 2007, 09:16 Quote
And it's not Vista ready! How surprising.
JADS 17th March 2007, 09:58 Quote
SLI, triple monitors and Areca SATA RAID... Is niiiice! :D
rupbert 17th March 2007, 12:43 Quote
Hardware RAID is nice.
r4tch3t 17th March 2007, 12:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rupbert
Hardware RAID is nice.
That it is, shame its only for two ports.
rupbert 17th March 2007, 12:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r4tch3t
That it is, shame its only for two ports.

True, it's a good start though.

I suppose they assume most enthusiasts will only be running RAID 0 over two drives anyway...
JADS 17th March 2007, 13:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r4tch3t
That it is, shame its only for two ports.

You could lob an Areca 24 port SATA RAID 8x PCI-E into one of the 16x slots :)
Bluephoenix 17th March 2007, 17:31 Quote
Hmm, what X-Fi version?

whether anyone will shell out for it at the (presumed) premium will depend on what flavor of X-Fi is on it.

they also should have included a header for the X-Fi 5.25" bay, which is where most of the I/O options reside.

Is there X-RAM on board? with more games supporting that now it would makes sense seeing as this is aimed at gamers.

other than that the inclusion of hardware RAID and configurable PCI-E slots makes this ideal for a home media server (in 8x8x16x8 just put in an HDMI 8600 and a couple hardware RAID cards :D )

also it removes the problem of choosing between a TV tuner and a soundcard

Good Going MSI!!!
Woodstock 17th March 2007, 21:51 Quote
x16-x8-x16, the last slot should be configuarble to x1 when in the "SLI" mode
@Bluephoenix iirc its the extreme music edition so that would be a no to the x-ram
r4tch3t 18th March 2007, 03:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodstock
x16-x8-x16, the last slot should be configuarble to x1 when in the "SLI" mode
@Bluephoenix iirc its the extreme music edition so that would be a no to the x-ram
I agree, after looking at the specs of the 680i it should have no trouble having a 16-8-16-1 setup as there would still be 5 PCI-E lanes free for communication betweeen the MCP and SPP.
Woodstock 18th March 2007, 04:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r4tch3t
I agree, after looking at the specs of the 680i it should have no trouble having a 16-8-16-1 setup as there would still be 5 PCI-E lanes free for communication betweeen the MCP and SPP.

lol i hate companys that do slight corner cuts
Gravemind123 18th March 2007, 04:54 Quote
Tom's Hardware got there hands on a preproduction model of the board, and it seems to be pretty interesting, letting you run two sets of SLI at once! The idea of on-board sound as quality as X-Fi is sweet. If the board can overclock well it would make a great gaming pc, and 4 PCI-E is a pretty interesting feature, quad-sli 8800s anyone?
Woodstock 18th March 2007, 05:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gravemind123
Tom's Hardware got there hands on a preproduction model of the board, and it seems to be pretty interesting, letting you run two sets of SLI at once! The idea of on-board sound as quality as X-Fi is sweet. If the board can overclock well it would make a great gaming pc, and 4 PCI-E is a pretty interesting feature, quad-sli 8800s anyone?
how could quad sli work when each card only has a connector to be connected to one other card and furthmore the heat, noise and power consumtion wouldnt be worth the price for such little bennifet
Bindibadgi 18th March 2007, 19:01 Quote
Just a quick note after speaking to some other manufacturers:

The 680i is an expensive chipset.

The X-Fi chip is around $40 on its own in this version.

Hardware RAID is a premium product not included in the economies of scale savings other major components are subject to.

Bottom line: A VERY Expensive motherboard, or one MSI will have very little margin on.
Krikkit 18th March 2007, 19:11 Quote
Should be pretty awesome though, hardware RAID is a welcome inclusion, and the X-Fi idea is fantastic.

Fingers crossed it might be worth paying for one of these mobos, even at £250-300
BUFF 19th March 2007, 17:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi


Bottom line: A VERY Expensive motherboard, or one MSI will have very little margin on.
it's on Froogle ~£220 so if that price is correct make up your own mind.
When it will actually appear in stock is another thing ...
rupbert 19th March 2007, 17:40 Quote
Well the cheapest X-Fi card is around £50 and a 2 port Raid controller would be £40, so I guess £200-£230 isn't actually that expensive...
KayinBlack 18th November 2007, 03:38 Quote
I'm setting mine up now, and it may not be full Vista capable, but it wouldn't be MSI's fault-ALchemy may not support the onboard, at the behest of Creative, forcing me to use my already existing X-Fi...
mx0forever 29th December 2008, 03:00 Quote
ok first post here guys . ok about the MB IT REALLY SUCKS i have it and the onboard audio has NEVER worket truely ok right no acording to the system everything works fine but no sound at all is coming out and YES the the volume is 100% on and YES the bios is enabled and Yes i have checket front and back ports with different devices . and this isent the only problem with th p6n diamod sound last time the broblem was that when i plug in speakers the pc tells me that they are unplugged and when i plug them out the pc tells me that they are plygged in and YES i have tested different pc cases
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