Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): MSI P965 Platinum

The folks over at [H] has placed an MSI i965-based board to the test bench. While it performs well and shows no sign of nagging problems, [H] doesn't give this board a big thumbs up. Check it out...

Dan's Thoughts:
Working with the MSI P965 Platinum was a pleasant experience, but not a perfect one. For starters, the motherboard always changes the boot sequence whenever any drives are added, or if the drive configuration changes in anyway. This lead to a situation where the system wouldn’t boot, and I’d have to go back into the BIOS and change the boot sequence again. This is not an issue that is specific to MSI as many motherboards do this, but there has been a change started in the industry to correct this. Otherwise, I also had several issues with stability until I raised the ram voltage to 2.1v. The memory defaults to 1.8v, which was totally unstable. (Editor's Note: In my testing with different Corsair RAM we showed not voltage issues whatsoever.) I had another issue once the OS was loaded originally. When I went to install the .NET framework, and the Catalyst 6.9 drivers for my test X1800XT Crossfire setup, the OS blue screened, and I was forced to re-install it. This was an isolated incident, and I have no explanation why this happened.

Stability at stock speeds, while running my drive benchmarks and network tests was exemplary. For 48 hours, the system ran flawlessly, and gave me no issues. During the stress test I ran Orthos and ran SuperPi along side it just to be extra abusive. The system performed flawlessly under these conditions. Overall the MSI board was easy to work with and the problems I did encounter were easy to solve or work around entirely.

Essentially, the P965 is a great motherboard, especially at stock speeds, but unremarkable. Overclocking is mediocre, but not horrible. The layout is excellent, and the board has a solid feature set, and isn’t over burdened with an excessive amount of features that most users will likely never touch. Some issues I experienced were annoying, but should easily be fixed with BIOS and driver updates. All in all the P965 Platinum merits some consideration and I would recommend it for use in non-overclocked or mildly overclocked systems, but for the hardware enthusiast, I think there are better choices out there.

The Bottom Line
MSI has presented us with a very stable motherboard in the P965 Platinum. It ran like a champ under very heavy usage models at stock settings. When it comes to enthusiasts looking for overclocking motherboards for new Core 2 Duo processors, there are better choices available.

Source:MSI P965 Platinum

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