More board details
Lets start off with the cooling, MSI certainly made quite a spectacular heatsink design for their P7N Platinum mainboard. In the center you can't miss the half-pipe north bridge heatsink which reminds me of the high-end Zalman CPU heatsink: 9700-LED. A heatpipe is used to extract heat in an efficient way, and lots of cooling fins make sure all the heat is being ventilated properly. More heatsinks are being used to extract the PWM Mosfet heat, the south-bridge heat and the extra nForce200 heat, MSI made sure to interconnect all these heat sources with the high-efficient NB heatsink via heatpipes, these are properly aligned so that you will not ever have problems mounting larger PCI(e) devices.
On top right you find the memory sockets. Like many mainstream boards you have availability of 4 memory slot where each pair of memory slot has its own communication channel with the north bridge. MSI gave the different channels another paint just to make sure the user is using the board at best performance, you’ll also notice the extra text which is painted just next to the first DIMM slot. For powering the memory modules MSI used a single phase switching FET circuit which is nothing to extravaganza but will do its job very well even when pushing the board to the max.
More high-efficient power switching can be found around the LGA775 socket, MSI uses a 4 phase PWM circuit design to power the CPU with, high size caps combined with quick responding SMD condensers make sure the CPU is being fed with a clean and reliable power signal. Again, nothing spectacular but still good for those who like to push their boards far beyond specifications.
The P7N SLi Platinum offer up to three PCIe 16x slots. In between the first and second slot you'll notice the nForce 200 chip; this controller is in fact a PCI Express host and uses its own bus protocol to communicate with the North Bridge. This special inter chip connection offers 14.4GB/s traffic between the nf200 and the NB, still that is far away from the available bandwidth that the nForce 200 offers: 32GB/s! Well, for our 750i chipset you can forget part of that, NVIDIA crippled the chips used on 750i board so that it has 'only' 24GB/s, NVIDIA said that the 14.4GB/s inter chip connection is still fast enough for dual and triple video card configuration. It is to be said that the nf200 allows direct peer to peer communication, for example with NVIDIA SLI, there is no need to send the additional data back to the North Bridge first, the nf200 can do it too.
The connectivity at the South Bridge isn't huge, but decent enough to cover most main stream enthusiasts. Important for some of you might be the dual IDE connectors which allow you to keep your older DVD ROMS and Writers, ... when upgrading to this board. The SATA connectors are easy to access and due to its 90° twisted design is will make sure that the SATA connectors will never come in the way of larger PCI Express video cards.
For the front panel connectors MSI added different colors to make sure the connectors are easier to recognize, they also added a removable plug which allows you to remove all front panel connectors via and move, and you never have to worry again about how everything has to be hooked up because the plug will fit only in one way. ASUS has been shipping these tools before, you will certainly recognize these:
From the above picture you may have noticed how the P7N SLI Platinum does not have a CMOS clear jumper. Well, don't be too surprised, MSI did add one, only now it is located in between the rear panel connectors. Some may not like the idea but it is very handy for those enthusiasts who use well designed housing and don't want to open/close their case every time they wish to have some play with overclocking their gear.
Other connectivity is fairly basic although that the optical SPDIF and external SATA connectors will certainly be of good use for some of you.
So far goes the hardware, let's try the softer approach ->