Next up is the P35 Neo, which to all extent looks the same as the G33 Neo and has the same features, except it does not have integrated graphics and it is hence missing the D-Sub connector. The next board is slightly more interesting, the P35 Neo Combo - which has already made its way online for some reviews - as it features both DDR2 and DDR3 memory slots. For some reason MSI decided to cut off two SATA connectors on this board, which makes absolutely no sense at all. The rest of its features are shared with the P35 Neo.
Climbing up the scale we find the P35 Neo2, which has more in common with the Platinum boards based on the same chipset than it has with the Neo boards. It has got a black PCB and the layout is very similar to the Platinum series, but it lacks the intricate heat pipe cooling of the Platinum boards. Instead it has got a simple heatsink with a blue MSI logo on it. Feature wise this board has a lot going for it as it has six rear USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA ports, FireWire, 7.1-channel sound with optical S/PDIF out and Gigabit Ethernet. The oddest thing about this board is that it only has three internal SATA connectors; this is less than you get on most motherboards these days, and less than what you have been getting for some time. This goes back to MSI's odd choice of using the Intel ICH9 for the eSATA connectors rather than a third-party chipset. It has dual PCIe x16 slots for graphics cards, but as with the P965 chipset, the P35 only supports x4 bandwidth on the second slot.
For some rather bizarre reason MSI also decided to make a G33 Platinum board. We are not sure about you, but we would not want to spend loads of money on a motherboard with this level of integrated graphics. It features the new fancy Circu-Pipe chipset heat pipe from MSI. The board shares the same features as the P35 Neo2, but has a full set of SATA ports, which makes it a total of five, as well as integrated graphics thanks to the G33 chipset, hence the D-Sub connector on the back. This board also supports an optional TPM (Trusted Platform Module) add-on via a connector below the bottom PCI slot.
Next up is the P35 Platinum, which is exactly the same as the G33 Platinum, but without the integrated graphics. MSI also did a Combo board in the Platinum series, the P35 Platinum Combo, which has a total of six memory slots, four for DDR2 and two for DDR3. Again it shares the same features as the G33 Platinum and if you look really closely you will notice that this early board has a D-Sub connector, although it is unlikely that this will be on the final boards, as they will not have integrated graphics.
Finally we have the P35 Diamond, the top of the range P35 board from MSI. We have to say that we were disappointed when we saw this board as the only difference in terms of features is that it supports DDR3 and DDR3 only. The layout differs slightly to the other boards, but it offers exactly the same features. Past Diamond boards from MSI have always offered some extra functionality and some models even featured X-Fi sound onboard, but not this one. Again, this is an early board and it features that odd D-Sub connector seen on other boards without integrated graphics. Only MSI can answer why its early revisions feature a D-Sub connector, but it is something we will ask about the next time we get a chance.