Crikey, the last MSI mainboard I took a serious look at for HEXUS seems to be the K7N2. nForce2, baby, way back in March 2003. 42 months ago. Three and one half years ago. I repeat, crikey. How things have changed since those heady days of Socket A and Dolby encoding on a southbridge, Socket 478 Intel Pentium 4, AGP graphics and ATA disks. Man, it was a big deal back in 2003 with nForce2 because you got two ATA133 controllers on the MCP, not just one.
Since then we've seen CPUs arrive without pins, the graphics bus go serial and mad on bandwidth, disk interfaces do much the same thing, DDR2 show up and a gazillion other mini changes that have helped shape the desktop PC landscape as we know it.
In recent times we've seen Intel shove Core 2 Duo kicking and screaming into the limelight, and thus the world went nuts. Fire up any online tech forum in your browser and it's Core 2 Duo this, overclocking that, DDR2 oh my sweet lord. And so, as with any new CPU launch, the scramble for the very best mainboard to slide them into is on. Board vendors want to make awesome boards to grab sales from a very discerning e-tail crowd, you guys want to consume those boards like I consume pies. Oh man, that's a consumer sempiternity right there.
Thence we come back round to MSI, proud Intel partners since before l'année deux milles trois and the beginning of this teetering, tenuous intro. From where I sit at HEXUS, as Field Marshall of Really Cool Technical Stuff, MSI simply haven't been on the mainboard radar for me -- as a serious PC hardware enthusiast like many of you guys are -- in the last year or so. They've not managed ASUS or DFI levels of execution when it comes to the vast swathe of PCB and componentry that fills your chassis, and I'm pretty sure they'll admit that themselves if poked hard enough. With firey tongs.
That said, whispers reach our ears that perhaps MSI are ready for a renewed assault on the market with a set of seriously sweet mainboards. Our quest? To find out if the MSI P965 Platinum is one of them. Supporting the aforementioned PCI Express, DDR2 and Intel Core 2 Duo processors, the P965 Platinum is the premium model in MSI's Intel P965 mainboard range. Can it pull a "P5W64", but for a slightly different crowd?