Test Setup -


We utilized a wide variety of memory kits from Corsair, OCZ, Patriot, GSkill, Kingston, and Super Talent to verify memory compatibility on our test boards. Our OS and primary applications were loaded on the Kingston 80GB SSD drive and our games were operated off the WD 300GB VRaptor drive. We did a clean install of the OS and applications for each motherboard.

We chose the ASUS GTX275 video card and Corsair’s 750HX power supply. Our air cooler of choice is Thermalright’s Ultra 120 eXtreme, primarily for its exceptional performance during our overclocking tests. We also tested with the retail cooler and those results along with direct CPU comparisons can be found here.

Our 790FX/X58 results are provided for comparison only. For our test results we setup each board as closely as possible in regards to memory timings. Otherwise all other settings are left on auto. The P55 and 790FX motherboards utilized 8GB of DDR3, while the X58 platform contained 6GB. The P55 and X58 DDR3 timings were set to 7-7-7-20 1T at DDR3-1600 for the i7/920, i7/870, and i7/860 processors at both stock and overclocked CPU settings.

We used DDR3-1333 6-6-6-18 1T timings for the i5/750 stock setup as DDR3-1600 is not natively supported in current BIOS releases for this processor at a stock Bclk setting of 133. We had early BIOS releases that offered the native 1600 setting but stability was a serious problem and support was pulled for the time being. Performance is essentially the same between the two settings.

The AMD 790FX setup is slightly different as trying to run DDR3-1600 at CAS 7 timings on the 1:4 divider is extremely difficult. Without resorting to some serious overvolting and relaxing of sub-timings, we set our AMD board up at DDR3-1600 8-8-8-20 1T timings but with NB speed at 2200. The difference in performance between C7 and C8 DDR3-1600 is practically immeasurable in applications and games on this platform.

Overclocking Power Consumption
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  • petergab - Saturday, October 17, 2009 - link

    Do they use a foxconn socket on this motherboard? Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, October 22, 2009 - link

    Yes, Foxconn socket. We are compiling a list of motherboards with each socket manufacturer along with whether they launched with the revised Foxconn socket or the old one (which seems to be the primary problem child). It has been difficult getting straight answers as you can imagine. ;) Reply
  • thermbug - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Pardon the brain freeze but what does the color coding inside the performance charts indicate?
    I see 3 i7's and i5 and an AMD chip for comparison.
    Am I interpreting correctly that the i5 750 is the light green, dark green is the I7 860?
    The utilization of color doesn't seem to be consistent on the various graphs.

    The MSI board is consistently highlighted as dark green in the latter several graphs. But which CPU is being used in that case? It looks like the I7 860 is the standard test but I can't quite grok it.
    Reply
  • thermbug - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Pardon the brain freeze but what does the color coding inside the performance charts indicate?
    I see 3 i7's and i5 and an AMD chip for comparison.
    Am I interpreting correctly that the i5 750 is the light green, dark green is the I7 860?
    The utilization of color doesn't seem to be consistent on the various graphs.

    The MSI board is consistently highlighted as dark green in the latter several graphs. But it mentionsBut which CPU is being used in that case?
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - link

    I'm guessing that all results which don't specify a processor use the 750. Reply
  • haplo602 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    OMG another P55 board review ... how about a 785G one ? there was NONE since it launched, yet you are covering P55 like the next best thing to sliced bread ...

    Reply
  • maomao0000 - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

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  • ipay - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    That generally sums up my experience with every MSI board I've ever used. Unfortunately, while the warts are few, they're usually significant enough that they overshadow all the good features, and you end up with a board that's frustrating to use.

    Buy an ASRock or Biostar instead. You'll get a similar layout, similar overclocking options and fewer "warts" at a lower price.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    My MSI P6N-SLI Platinum (c2d) board has been flawless since day one. It is my first MSI motherboard and has been running great (overclocked, no less) ever since. Reply
  • crab nebula - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    If you insert a device in the PCI Express x4 slot, then the other two PCI Express x1 slots are disabled automatically (because the mb has an extra PCI Express Gb LAN controller and a PCI Express IEEE 1394 controller). Somehow this is not mentioned in any review of this mb. Reply

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