Specifications

MSI X48 Platinum
Market Segment Performance - $259 (estimated)
CPU Interface Socket T (LGA-775)
CPU Support LGA775-based Core2 Duo, Core2 Extreme, or Core2 Quad recommended, Pentium and Celeron including next-generation 45nm compatibility
Chipset Intel X48 Express Northbridge (MCH) and ICH9R Southbridge, supports Intel Viiv Technology, optional TPM (Trusted Platform Module) support
CPU Clock Multiplier 6x ~ 11x, downward adjustable for Core2, upward unlocked for Extreme, half-multiplier support for 45nm processors
Front Side Bus Speeds Auto, 200 ~ 800 in 1MHz increments
System Bus Speeds 1600/1333/1066/800 (MHz) with official DDR3-1600 support
DDR3 Memory Dividers 1:1, 6:5, 4:3, 3:2, 8:5, 5:3 and 2:1
PCIe Speeds Auto, 100MHz ~ 200MHz
PCI Speeds 33.3, 33.6, 37.3 and 42MHz
DRAM Timing Control Auto (by SPD), Manual - tCL, tRCD, tRP, tRAS plus tRAP, tRFC, tWR, tWTR, tRRD, tRTP
DRAM Command Rate Auto, 1N, 2N
CPU Voltage Auto, Default VID ~ Default VID + 0.7875V
Memory (DRAM) Voltage Auto, 1.50V ~ 2.75V
FSB Termination Voltage Auto, 1.20V ~ 1.44V
North Bridge (NB) Voltage Auto, 1.25V ~ 1.83V
SB (1.5V) Voltage Auto, 1.50V ~ 1.80V
CPU Reference Voltage (GTL) Auto, 0.74V ~ 1.07V
Memory Reference Voltage Auto, 0.90V ~ 1.25V
Memory Slots Four 240-pin DDR3 DIMM Slots - DDR3-1600 (XMP)/1333/1066/800
Dual-Channel Configuration
Regular Unbuffered, non-ECC DDR3 Memory to 8GB total
Expansion Slots 2 - PCIe 2.0 x16 Slots (blue), supports ATI CrossFire Technology
2 - PCIe (1.x) x4 Slots (yellow)
2 - PCIe (1.x) x1 Slots
1 - PCI 2.2 Slot
Onboard SATA RAID 4 SATA 3Gbps Ports - ICH9R (ACHI + RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)
2 eSata Ports - ICH9R (AHCI + RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)
2 SATA Ports - Silicon Image 5723 (non-bootable RAID 0, 1 and JBOD)
Onboard IDE (PATA) Marvell 88SE6111 PATA Controller (up to two PIO/UDMA 133/100/66MHz devices)
Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394 12 USB 2.0 Ports - (8) via I/O panel - (4) via headers
2 IEEE-1394(a) Ports by VIA VT6308P - (1) via I/O panel, (1) via header
Onboard LAN (with Teaming) Realtek RTL8111B - PCI Gigabit Ethernet contoller
Intel 83566DC PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC888 - 8-channel HD Audio CODEC (Azalia 1.0/Vista Premium ready)
Power Connectors ATX 24-pin, 8-pin ATX 12V
I/O Panel 1 x PS/2 Mouse port
1 x PS/2 Keyboard port
2 x eSATA portd (supports command-based port multipliers)
1 x SPDIF Optical Out, 6 Analog Audio jacks
1 x IEEE-1394a
2 x RJ-45 (LAN)
8 x USB 2.0/1.1
1 Reset CMOS Button
Fan Headers 6 - (1) CPU, (2) Programmable System Fans, (3) Chassis/Optional/Misc.
Fan Control System Fan 1 and 2 manual settings for 100/75/50% by BIOS
BIOS Revision VP.2B4 (01/10/08)
Board Revision v1.00

MSI tells us they plan on introducing the board in the mid $200 range, but given the market's propensity to inflate costs close to launch we have quoted a slightly higher estimated cost. Even so, this board will do a fine job filling the low-cost alternative market segment void that will be left when some of the tier one giants release their more expensive X48 elite motherboards in the $330~$350 range.

Along with the use of the Intel X48 Express chipset comes official support for 400MHz FSB and DDR3-1600 memory speed. We also see the inclusion of many features that are normally reserved for more expensive offerings: dual Gigabit LAN ports, onboard 8-channel HD Audio (including an S/PDIF optical port), ICH9R RAID-enabled back panel eSATA ports, and a rich hardware monitoring page by BIOS.

The MSI X48 Platinum comes with a nice balance of features and controls. All the standard voltages, CPU, memory, Northbridge, Southbridge, and a couple of reference voltages are available for manipulation. With CPU voltage support to around 2V (depending on the installed processor's default VID) and DDR3 voltage to 2.75V, even the most demanding overclockers should not be left wanting. We will cover some of these options and our findings in more detail when we look at some of the BIOS screens.



The back plane includes legacy PS/2 ports for keyboard and a mouse, a total of eight (8) USB 2.0/1.1 ports, a IEEE-1394(a) port, two (2) eSATA ports, two (2) RJ-45 Gigabit ports, a single optical S/PDIF port, and jacks for analog audio connections. MSI also includes a mini button for manually resetting the BIOS should the settings become completely unworkable.

Index Board Features and Layout
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21 Comments

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  • taylormills - Monday, February 04, 2008 - link

    Hi all,

    Just a newbie question.

    Does this indicate that sound cards will be moving to PCI Express.

    Just curious because I have an older Board and am going to want to upgrade and I find it hard to fit a sound card around my twin 8800 boards. Due to them taking up the available slots.

    Any info ?
    Reply
  • karthikrg - Saturday, February 02, 2008 - link

    how many ppl are using even crossfire 2x let alone think about crossfire 4x? 4 pcie slots IMHO is overkill. hope amd at least delivers crossfire x drivers in time. else it'll all be an utter waste. Reply
  • ninjit - Friday, February 01, 2008 - link

    At the beginning of the article you mention that this is a DDR3 board, yet in the specifications chart you have lines for:

    [quote] DDR2 Memory Dividers [/quote]

    &

    [quote] Regular Unbuffered, non-ECC DDR2 Memory to 8GB total [/quote]
    Reply
  • nubie - Friday, February 01, 2008 - link

    "many x16 devices are only capable of down-training to speeds of x4 or x8 and without this bridge chip the last x1 lane would be otherwise useless." This does interest me, I have had 3 nvidia cards (2x6600GT and 6200) running on a plain jane MSI neo4 OEM (Fujitsu Seimens bios), simply by cutting the ($25) 6200 down to a x1 connector and cutting the back out of one of the motherboard x1 slots to allow the 6600GT to fit physically.

    I thought that part of the PCIe standard was auto-negotiation, wouldn't any device NOT compatible with x1 be breaking the standard?

    http://picasaweb.google.com/nubie07/PCIEX1/photo#5...">http://picasaweb.google.com/nubie07/PCIEX1/photo#5...

    I am very curious about this, as the PCIe technology doesn't seem to be getting as much use as it could(IE it is MUCH more flexible than it is given credit for). The PCIe scaling analysis at Tomshardware showed that an 8800GTS was still quite capable at x8, so on PCIe 2.0 a x4 slot could be used for gaming at acceptable resolutions! (I am fully aware that only the first 2 slots are PCIe 2.0)

    The new Radeon "X2" card with 4 outputs could fit in this motherboard 3 times over, that is 12 displays on 1 PC with off-the-shelf technology!! With the quad-core and 12 displays, 2 PCs at around ~$1,000-$3,000 apiece could service a whole classroom of kids using learning software, typing tutor programs, or browsing the web. Even with regular old 2 output video cards you could get 8 displays on a much cheaper rig with sub-$50 video cards. So I wouldn't say "the performance potential of such a setup is marginal", unless I was measuring performance in such meaningless terms as how many $xxx video cards I can jam in a PC to get xx% increase.
    Reply
  • kjboughton - Friday, February 01, 2008 - link

    You are correct when you say that PCIe devices are capable of auto-negotiating their link speeds; however, not all devices will allow for negotiated speeds of only x1. This includes most video cards, which will allow themselves to train to x16, x8, and x4 speeds but not x1. They are flexible to the extent possible, but nowhere does the PCIe specification require that that all devices support all speeds...after all, cards that make use of an x8 mechanical interface are obviously incapable of x16 speeds, too... Reply
  • smeister - Friday, February 01, 2008 - link

    What's with the memory reference voltage?
    On the specification page (pg 2)
    Memory Reference Voltage Auto, 0.90V ~ 1.25V

    It should be half the DDR3 memory voltage
    1.5V x 0.5 = 0.75V, so should be: Auto, 0.75V ~ 1.25V
    Reply
  • kjboughton - Friday, February 01, 2008 - link

    If you want half of 1.50V then leave it on 'Auto'...regardless, the lowest manually selectable value is 0.90V. Reply
  • DBissett - Thursday, January 31, 2008 - link

    I can't find it now, but a couple of days ago I found this X48 board listed on MSI's website along with an X48C which would take either DDR3 or DDR2. Would be great to be able to use it now with DDR2 and upgrade to DDR3 when the prices get sane and it becomes clear why DDR3 is better.

    Dave
    Reply
  • feraltoad - Thursday, January 31, 2008 - link

    almost always recommend replacing the thermal interface material (TIM)

    You state to replace teh TIM for the PWM and Chipset heatpipe coolers. I have a question regarding that. I have a IP35 pro, and I bought a new case. I thought now might be a good time to replace my pushpins with bolts, but I am hesitant about removing the thermal pad. I know that a direct contact to the heatpipe cooling system will result in better heat transfer, but I am afraid of shorting something out. Is it safe to have the cooler setting directly on the PWM? Does the pad also function as an insulator? I can live with a bit higher temps, but I can't live with killing my MOBO. Anyone's comments with some experience on this would be greatly appreciated.
    Reply
  • ButterFlyEffect78 - Thursday, January 31, 2008 - link

    I get 9631mb/s on my Nvidia EVGA 680i chipset at only 750mhz ddr2 with 4-4-3-5 1T.

    And my brother who owns an Intel P35 Foxconn Mars board gets 9132mb/sec at 950mhz ddr2 with 5-5-5-18 2t.

    So what is the point on moving to ddr3 when it offers no performance gains in memory bandwidth even at a whopping 1600mhz. Is it just me who thinks Cas7 is wayyyy too high to even consider to push ddr3 to the market right now?

    I believe this is what only Intel wants so it can make AMD look old just like how they forced AMD a few years ago to make AM2 boards that only supported dd2.
    Reply

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