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MSI 975X Platinum Motherboard Review

MSI 975X Platinum Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: With a top of the line motherboard like the MSI Computer 975X Platinum, you're getting a nice looking slab of PCB with a healthy dose of enthusiast friendly features to match.
 83% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Computer Nov 30 2006   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI Computer 975X Platinum

Intel 975X Express Chipset

The Intel 975X Express is Intel's flagship desktop and workstation chipset. Early revisions of i975X motherboards were only compatible with Intel Pentium 4/D processors, however the new generation of 975X Express-based boards support Intel Core 2 Duo.

Intel has tweaked the 975X Express somewhat to incorporate support of DDR2-800 memory, which is a nice treat for a core logic that runs on the 1066/800MHz FSB. The Intel 975X Express chipset is paired up with the ICH7-series Southbridge, an older model, but one which supports four Serial ATA II channels along with a single IDE port for two devices. The Southbridge found on the MSI 975X Platinum motherboard is the ICH7DH version.

DDR2-800 MHz memory support positions Intel's latest and greatest CPU at par with AMD's Socket AM2 Athlon64 processors. Intel calls the new memory controller FMA or 'Fast Memory Access', and it allows the system a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 12.8GB/s.

Below is breakdown on the full feature set of the Intel 975X / 965 Express series chipsets, including the 975X Express which the MSI 975X Platinum motherboard is based upon.

Intel 975 / 965 / 955 Series Chipset Feature Breakdown
Intel 975X Express Intel P965 Express Intel Q965 Express Intel G965 Express Intel Q963 Express Intel 955X Express
CPU LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Pentium D
Front Side Bus (FSB) 1066/800 MHz 1066/800/533 MHz 1066/800/533 MHz
2 threads
1066/800/533 MHz 1066/800/533 MHz 1066/800MHz
Intel Flex Memory Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dual Channel Memory Support DDR2 800/667/533 DDR2 800/667/533 DDR2 667/533 DDR2 667 DDR2 667 DDR2 667/533
Maximum Memory Capacity 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB
Integrated Graphics - - GMA 3000 GMA 3000 GMA 3000 -
PCI Express x16 2 1 1 1 1 1
PCI Express x1 4 4 4 4 4 4
Intel Matrix Storage Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
SATA/IDE HDD 4/1 6/0 6/0 6/0 6/0 4/1
SATA Speed 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s
RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH7R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH7R/ICH8R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH8R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH8R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH8R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH7R)
Hard Drive NCQ - Yes Yes Yes Yes -
USB 2.0 Ports 8 8 10 10 10 8
PCI Masters 6 6 6 6 6 6
Audio High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia)

The Intel 975X chipset supports two physical PCI Express x16 videocards, although when dual videocard are configured the PCI Express x16 data bus is split evenly between them. The 975X Express chipset is compatible with ATi CrossFire Edition videocard, so you can have dual ATi Radeon videocards rendering at the same time if you feel the need for enhanced gaming. If you're only using a single PCI Express x16 videocard, insert it into the primary PCI Express x16 slot on the MSI 975X Platinum PCB.

A dedicated 2GB/s I/O bus connects the Intel 975X Express Northbridge and Intel ICH7DH Southbridge together. It might seem a tad tight if you have many high bandwidth devices installed, but should be just fine for the average user.

The ICH7DH Southbridge incorporates four Serial ATA II channels with RAID 0, 1, 0+1, a 7.1 channel Intel Azalia high definition audio codec, eight USB 2.0 slots, six PCI Express x1 lanes and an integrated Intel Gigabit MAC which runs through the PCI Express bus.

It's important to note that the ICH7-series of Southbridge support a single Parallel IDE channel. The latest Intel ICH8 chipset does away with parallel IDE support completely. A block chart of the Intel 975X Express chipset's major features is illustrated below.

Next up, PCSTATS takes a closer look at the MSI 975X Platinum motherboard highlights...

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Contents of Article: MSI Computer 975X Platinum
 Pg 1.  MSI 975X Platinum Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — Intel 975X Express Chipset
 Pg 3.  Motherboard Highlights
 Pg 4.  Overclocking and the BIOS
 Pg 5.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sysmark 2004
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Office Productivity, SiSoft Sandra
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SuperPi, PCMark05
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark05, 3DMark06
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: FarCry, Doom 3, Quake 4
 Pg 10.  Motherboard Benchmarks - Quake 4

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