MSI X48 Platinum review

Price when reviewed

We weren’t taken by MSI’s budget K9A2 CF this month, but the X48 Platinum is a different creature entirely – a serious motherboard that aims high and largely gets there.

MSI X48 Platinum review

Based on Intel’s high-performance X48 chipset, it’s a board that can push the FSB right up to 1,600MHz – a feat only otherwise attained by the Asus Striker II Extreme – and drive DDR3 RAM at the same frequency. It’s CrossFire X compatible, too, offering two PCI Express 16x slots plus two 4x slots.

Other connectors include six SATA channels, eight rear USB ports and twin Gigabit Ethernet ports. eSATA and FireWire don’t hurt, either.

Also on the backplate there’s a button for clearing the CMOS, which will make enthusiasts happy. Power and Reset buttons are mounted on the board, too, although they’re just bare switches and look cheap next to Asus’ stylish illuminated buttons.

A four-character LED readout displays useful POST information, but, again, it isn’t as swish as Asus’ external device.

The BIOS is usable enough, letting you set the CPU frequency and ratio and displaying interesting system information, including your CPU’s cache configuration. MSI’s Dual CoreCenter app lets you monitor and tweak the system within Windows, and with dynamic overclocking the software can raise component speeds automatically when load is high.

There’s really nothing to criticise about the X48 Platinum, but next to the Asus Maximus Extreme it loses a little of its lustre. Although its idle power consumption of 103W was distinctly lower than either of Asus’ high-end boards, in the high-performance market it’s hard to get worked up about 10W here or there, and the Maximus is more stylish.


Motherboard form factorATX
Motherboard integrated graphicsno


Processor/platform brand (manufacturer)Intel
Processor socketLGA 775
Motherboard form factorATX
Memory typeDDR3
Multi-GPU supportyes


Motherboard chipsetIntel X48
Number of Ethernet adapters2
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
Graphics chipsetN/A
Audio chipsetRealtek ALC888

Onboard Connectors

CPU power connector type8-pin
Main power connectorATX 24-pin
Memory sockets total4
Internal SATA connectors6
Internal PATA connectors1
Internal floppy connectors1
Conventional PCI slots total1
PCI-E x16 slots total2
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots total2
PCI-E x1 slots total2

Rear ports

PS/2 connectors2
USB ports (downstream)8
FireWire ports1
eSATA ports2
Parallel ports0
9-pin serial ports0
Extra port backplane bracket ports0


SATA cables supplied4
Molex to SATA adaters supplied2
IDE cables supplied1
Floppy cables supplied1

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