Introduction - Part 1
P35 Platinum from MSI – which is also known as MS-7345 – is based on the latest Intel mainstream chipset, P35. This motherboard, however, does not have DDR3 sockets but on the other hand it has a big rollercoaster-shaped passive cooling solution, two eSATA ports, two x16 PCI Express slots and several other extra features. Let’s see the features and performance from this new release from MSI.
The thing that immediately catches our attention is the passive cooling solution used on this motherboard – MSI calls it Circu-Pipe. Looking like a rollercoaster, it is entirely made of copper and has several heat-pipes. The two loops found above the north bridge chip are in fact two heatsinks. One dissipates the heat coming from the south bridge chip, while the other dissipates the heat coming from the MOSFET transistors from the voltage regulator circuit. The heat produced by the north bridge chip is dissipated on the heatsink located on top of the MOSFET transistors from the voltage regulator circuit. The heatsink from the north bridge chip and the heatsink from the transistors are connected again using another heat-pipe, which is in turn connected to a stand-alone heatsink located near the memory sockets. This stand-alone heatsink has two holes for screws, probably allowing you to mount a fan on top of it. In total there are four heat-pipes.
The heatsink used on the south bridge chip is too high, creating a problem for installing video cards with big coolers, especially the ones that take two slots. This happened with us. The south bridge heatsink prevented us from installing our GeForce 8800 GTS till the end of the slot: our card was a little bit shifted from the place it was supposed to be. Since we tested this motherboard outside a case this didn’t cause us a problem, but we wonder what would happen if we needed to screw our video card to a case.
This motherboard has two x16 PCI Express slots. They don’t support SLI, as SLI is a feature found on NVIDIA chipsets only, however they support CrossFire. The main PCI Express x16 slot, which is white, works at x16, but the second PCI Express x16 slot, which is yellow, works only at x4, so even though this motherboard has two x16 PCI Express slots it is not the ideal platform for CrossFire configuration. We see the second x16 PCI Express slot more like a way for you to expand the maximum number of independent video monitors you can have connected to your PC.
This motherboard also has two x1 PCI Express slot and two standard PCI slots, as you can see in Figure 4.