The Boards - MSI 975X Platinum PowerUp
Now it's onto our next contender, MSI and their Platinum PowerUp Edition. MSI also uses the full size ATX 30x30cm but uses its black PCB that MSI tends to use for their high-end boards - in fact, this board is almost identical to the 975X Platinum standard in terms of layout. The 24-pin power connector, 2 IDE and FDD connectors are located behind the DIMM sockets. The new 8-pin EPS12V connector is located between the CPU socket and the rear I/O panel. Not the best place for it.
MSI falls behind DFI in the power features for the CPU; DFI gives you 6 phase but MSI only uses a 4 phase. While 4 is enough, more is better for a stable CPU when overclocking.
The rear I/O panel of the MSI board is identical to all the latest MSI power boards out there, so not really worth going through it all again.
Lastly here we have the expansion slots and the extra features not native to the chipset. There are a couple PCI Express x16 slots for Crossfire, 2 PCI Express x1 and 2 PCI slot. Extra features include an extra IDE slot thanks to the JMicron PCI Express RAID controller. This controller also runs an extra blue SATA port at the bottom of the board. VIA's Firewire chip also makes a return to this board and Intel's Tacoma network controller also make its appearance.