MSI's P6N SLI Platinum is now the second 650i SLI board we have tested here at TweakTown, and the pattern of the 650i SLI is starting to show itself. Both of the 650i boards we have tested showed quite good promise. Performance for a mid-range chipset is beyond what we expected, managing to just about equal the 680i SLI in single graphics. It is not until you decide to go SLI that you notice the difference as the 680i-series have twin x16 slots and supports quad-SLI. Features like this are what you kind of expect from a board that will set you back over AU$500 (US$410).
650i SLI is the compromise chipset, even a GeForce 8800 graphics card setup in SLI or an 8600 for the more budget conscious user in SLI will make a great setup on a 650i SLI board, and so far MSI has the goods on this.
MSI's incarnation manages to beat out the ECS board even at stock speeds, meaning some extra tweaking has gone on behind the scenes in the BIOS.
In terms of what you get with the board, we are happy to see all four SATA data cables included, there is nothing worse than having to get extra cables when you buy your board, it costs enough so you should expect to have them included. We are a bit disappointed that the board uses the old SLI paddle switch where ECS manages to do away with it; this means if you go from single to SLI mode you have to reach inside and switch the paddle, quite possibly having to take out the first graphics card also.
Overall we were quite happy with the board's performance, overclocking ability, and features and have no problems recommending this over the ECS motherboard we tested earlier.
Faster than ECS at stock speeds
Full cable set included
Reasonable overclocking results
Four phase voltage system
Heatpipe silent cooling of MCP, SPP and MOSFETs
eSATA port included
Placement of the FDD and 8-pin power connector
To use eSATA you have to give up an onboard SATA port
Rating - 8 out of 10
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