UK Price (as reviewed): £117.94 (inc VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $179.99 (Excl. Tax and Shipping)
While there's nothing wrong with Intel's Bearlake chipset, it hasn't really set the world on fire. I guess this is a testament to how good Intel's P965 Express chipset was. What Bearlake does do is build on what P965 already offers to consumers, with support for 1333MHz front side bus speeds, 45nm processors and DDR2 or DDR3 memory. The latter is at the discretion of the motherboard manufacturers.
As we just found out last week at Computex, the P35 chipset supports PCI-Express 2.0 and Intel Turbo Memory (Robson) technology, but neither of these features are available on any current P35 motherboard. Since the P35 chipset is becoming a treasure trove of hidden technology, we see if MSI has unlocked anything special in it's Platinum model.
MSI P35 Platinum
- Support for LGA775 Intel Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Duo, including 1333/1066/800FSB and 45nm processors;
- Intel P35 Northbridge;
- Intel ICH9R Southbridge;
- Supports up to 8GB of dual channel DDR2 800MHz FSB, using four 240-pin, 1.8V DDR2 DIMMs;
- Two PCI Express x16 slots (White = x16, Yellow = x4);
- Two PCI Express x1 slots;
- Two 32-bit v2.3 Master PCI bus slots (support 3.3v/5v PCI bus interface);
- One IDE port;
- Five SATA 3Gbps ports supporting RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 or JBOD;
- Realtek ALC888 High-Definition audio codec supporting 7.1 channel surround sound up to 32-bit/192KHz;
- One Gigabit Ethernet, one PCI-Express provided by the Realtek RTL8111B controller;
- VIA VT6308P IEEE1394a Firewire controller providing two ports, one of the rear I/O and one via pin-out;
- Marvell 88SE6111-NAA1 controller providing one PATA port and one 3Gbps SATA port;
- Four red SATA cables;
- Two Molex to SATA Hard drive power connectors;
- A Red IDE cable;
- A Red Floppy cable;
- PCI Express bracket with a 6-pin Firewire port;
- Metal I/O plate;
- Quick Guide, User Manual and Driver CDs;
Unfortunately no extra USB ports are provided for the six provided on-board pin outs. Six ports are included on the rear I/O but MSI could have included at least two on the Firewire PCI bracket already given. Both red IDE and floppy cables are given and look pretty cool compared to the usual black ones we now get in boxes.
Four SATA cables are provided for the main set of southbridge SATA ports, although five are provided on-board with the extra one attributed to the Marvell controller. No eSATA cables are given, even though the board sacrifices two internal ICH9R ports to make them. Both the quick install guide and manual are comprehensive with plenty of pictures to guide the new user during installation.
In all, it's not complete but it does provide a reasonably fair amount for the money, although we would certainly like at least a few extra USB ports on a PCI bracket.