The new Intel X48 chipset has now become Intel's flagship desktop offering. Intel first provided the X38 which was supposed to be designed to take this role; however, it was pretty clear to Intel that this chipset wasn't fully up to par for this. The Intel P35 chipsets with DDR3 memory could allow a much higher FSB rating than that of the X38 with DDR3, which simply was a huge embarrassment.
Intel however did have a solution to this problem, the X48 chipset; where in fact this has a new number in the X series of chipsets, it's not any different than the X38 chipset by design. It has the same memory controller, PCI Express 2.0 root port and FSB interface, Intel has simply used the X38 chipset but with a hand picking process of the silicon wafer to get the most efficient version which gets the X48 naming.
X48 is the only Intel chipset so far to get official FSB support for 1600MHz or 400MHz Quad Data Rate, X38s have been able to reach this FSB but are not officially recognised to run the new 400MHz series of CPU.
We have already tested the X48 chipset in its DDR2 variant (that's right, because it's a direct descendant of the X38 it keeps the dual mode memory controller); the DDR2 version has already managed to produce some better scores than the X38 DDR2 thanks to its increased FSB support. Today we are moving onto X48 in DDR3 form.
MSI has graciously provided us with their new X48 Platinum motherboard which is designed to be an ultra overclockable and feature-rich model. How it stacks up is the subject of today's review.