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MSI X58 Platinum Print
Written by Brook Moore   
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
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MSI X58 Platinum
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msi-a1.jpgMSI X58 Platinum

With the release of Intel's Core i7 processor and their X58 chipset, there is a plethora of motherboards available.  MSI puts its .02 in the mainstream segment with the X58 Platinum, while not the “cream” of MSI's crop, it leaves little to be desired. Just how well does it stack up?

Manufacturer: MSI
Price:

While the Intel Core2Duo and Core2Quad have yet to completely run their course, there is still ample reason for upgrading to the latest technology.  The upper echalon of Intels X58 based motherboards is packing all of the goodies into a single solution, leaving nothing to be desired. 

For those of us not wanting the bells and whistles, the mainstream segment has been left to stay with the C2D/Q lineup. looks to rectify that issue with the X58 Platinum,  an budget i7 Motherboard, of course by budget we mean, well, it includes almost everything...

While the MSI x58 Eclipse supports both Crossfire and SLI, thePlatinum series supports only Crossfire as of this writing (there is rumor of a X58 Platinum SLI as well). Of course most of us will not stress over this“shortcoming”, especially when we see the $70 or more extra in our pockets. The only other high end offering that I can see missing is the ability to do 3 way Crossfire / SLI, most of us will not miss that feature either. MSI has labeled the X58 Platinum as part of their “Gaming Series”, to prove out their point they have included several niceties that have come to be expected by the premier gaming Motherboard Manufacturers such as Asus, DFI, EVGA et all. Putting MSI clearly on the map of enthusiasts who want performance and stability for as little coin as possible.

The MSI X58 Platinum Motherboard is packed in a large box,multi-tiered with smaller compartments to hold all the board accessories. I was pretty impressed with the manual and quick start guide as it does a good job explaining the steps needed to put the system together. I wouldn't say it's beginner friendly, as some experience helps, but everything is clearly outlined and coded. The driver CD's contain the drivers needed for Windows XP and Vista (they are on separate CD's). There is also an “Extras” disk.

As is typical, there are data cables as well as an eSATA bracket which will allow you to hook up an external / hot pluggable SATA harddrive, without needing a special enclosure. All the SATA cables feature a metal clip which serves to secure the cable to the motherboard and/or the hard drive (a nice trend as of late). Interesting that MSI found it necessary to include 2 Crossfire cables? Especially since the MSI X58 Platinum does not support 3 Way Crossfire...

MSI also includes a nice little feature they call “M-Connector”, previous MSI reviews I have done have not included these, so my take is that it is a new feature (to MSI that is). This allows you to plug your front panel / USB / Firewire cables into the M-Connector and then simply plug the M-Connector onto the Motherboard.

You'll need a full sized ATX case in order to fit the MSI X58 Platinum into your system. There is this nasty trend as of late to put stickers over some parts of the board. I didn't detect any "gum" when I peeled them off, but you never know. I went over these areas with an eraser for good measure to be sure. A quick glance over the Motherboard does not raise any alarms with the design, I will get into more detail on each section later in the review.

The X58, and hence the MSI X58 Platinum supports up to 23+GB of memory (due to chipset resource deployment, even when you install 24GB, all 4GB modules, less then 24GB will show up as usable). MSI supports DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600, just as the X58 reference states.

A detailed list of supported memory modules can be found at , luckily for me, I am using a set of Patriot Memory Modules not included on the list :). The slots are color coded for Triple channel, however, the manual clearly states how to setup and run Dual channel DDR3, which is how I have it setup for this review. The slots are a bit close to the PCI Express graphics #1 slot, but not as tight as I've seen with other boards. There is enough room to swap out memory without having to remove the video card and minimal damage to your hands :).

Just below the memory slots is the24-pin ATX1 power connection. Some more low profile capacitors line around this area, but these should not interfere with installation of any other parts. There are two system fan header's in this area as well.

As with many enthusiast boards these days, MSI uses copper heatpipes to cool the chipset. System temperatures remained steady during testing (under 50C), the passive cooling only got warm to the touch during testing. We suggest making sure you do have some active cooling, such as a case fan or CPU fan in order to keep air moving around. Unfortunately, MSI did not include a small fan that snaps on the copper fins (ala Asus) in the scenario where you use a watercooling setup. We highly recommend, when using water cooling, placing a fan in the area to insure stability and longevity of the board.

DrMOS, when compared to Discrete MOS, can save on average (according to MSI) 62kWh/yr. That is nothing to sneeze at mind you. Other benefits, outside of being “green” is that power is delivered cleanly to the components, thus increasing lifespan and reliable Overclocking. Just in front of DrMOS is APS, or ActivePhase Switching, it is a complete function to Control Power Demand by switching dynamically, it’s for CPU, Memory and Chipset PWM. Of course MSI is using all Solid Capacitors and Shielded Chokes, most high end Motherboards are manufactured in this way, as well, you should expect them to be...

Speaking about the "top"of the motherboard,

While Asus, Gigabyte and the like all have little names for their underside cooling technology, MSI just simply has it. No cool names, no claim to “increase performance” nothing really, but, there she is... I do like how MSI has installed this without affecting your ability to adapt a 3rd party HS/Fan assembly.

The MSI X58 Platinum uses the Intel ICH10R South Bridge which handles most of the storage and connectivity needs. Six SATA II connections are grouped together facing back on the edge of the motherboard. The chip supports up to 6 SATA 3Gb/s devices as well as SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10. The JMicron® 363 chiptakes care of the lone IDE connection, supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices as well as a single eSATA port. The two SATA connections on top of the Motherboard are driven by the JMicron®322 chip (SATA-7/8) and support 3Gb/s, SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD.

Moving on to the peripheral slots, there are two PCI Express graphics x16 which supports PCI Express 2.0. Both PCI Express x16slots support full PCIe 2.0 x16 Bandwidth (16GB/s). While their usefulness as it relates to their positioning is questionable, there are three PCI Express x1 slots present on the board. There are two traditional PCI slots as well.

Near the edge of the motherboard is the MSI Hardware Overclock Switch. This is a simple switch block that allows you to choose either the default of 133MHz or Overclocked 166GHz or 200MHz. You can also Overclock through the BIOS and you still need to have the power off before flipping the switch. Also the ever convenient PowerOn and Reset switch, although they do not work once you connect up the Front Panel, for people who do reviews or troubleshoot a lot of Motherboards, they are a nicety. The Realtek AL888 audio chip is High Definition Audio compliant and is a flexible 8-channel audio solution that is also jack sensing. This the board can detect which jack you plug a speaker or headphone into provided you install all the required sound software.

Rounding things out are the external inputs and outputs. From left to right we have; two PS/2 ports, IEEE-1394, digital S/PDIF, eSATA, 4USB 2.0/1.1 ports and something a little unique, MSI has seen fit to put the CMOS Reset button here, thus allowing you to clear your CMOS without actually opening the case up. To finish out there are two 10/100/1000TX Ethernet ports, four more USB ports and six audio connections.



 
 
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