Preview - MSI P35 "Bearlake" Motherboards

MSI P35 Platinum D3 - DDR3 Comes Home

MSI P35 Platinum D3 - DDR3 Comes Home

We continue our post-CeBIT Intel P35 "Bearlake" motherboard preview with a new range of boards from MSI. This time, we managed to get a closer look at a DDR3 implementation and a wacky new chipset cooler in MSI's P35 Platinum D3 motherboard. That's right folks, the P35 Platinum D3 will have a full set of 1.5V DDR3 DIMM slots that will - according to MSI - support DDR3 speeds up to 1333MHz.

Like Gigabyte though, MSI will have two variants of their high-end P35 board, one with only DDR2 (P35 Platinum) and one with DDR3 (P35 Platinum D3). However, from what we've heard, you will have to wait a little bit longer for the D3 to hit store shelves. MSI have expressed that since the market isn't quite ready for DDR3 yet, they will initially launch the P35 Platinum first.

Now we've already covered what can be said about the P35 chipset in our last preview, so let's just get right into MSI's offerings.

NOTE: The motherboards previewed in this article are based on engineering samples and demo units. Although their features are mostly finalized at this point, specifications and components may still change in the final retail versions.

MSI's P35 Platinum D3 motherboard will be DDR3 compatible.

The P35 Platinum D3 (the 'D3' suffix is important) will include a full set of DDR3 memory slots. There is a regular P35 Platinum board as well that will only feature DDR2 slots. MSI will not produce hybrids for their high-end boards.

MSI takes its queue from its rivals and the supposed increased heat output of the P35 chipset to design a radical new chipset cooler taken straight out from a roller coaster.

CPU socket on the board is surrounded by the heat-pipe system, but because of the slim nature of MSI's Circu-Pipe design, the area is still quite spacious.

Front side of the Northbridge section of MSI's 'Circu-Pipe' cooler. If anything, it is an attention grabber, but how does it fare in performance? Time will surely tell.

A back view of the complicated piping in the Circu-Pipe. MSI uses a series of extra pipes in addition to the main chipset pipes to help improve the cooling efficiency of this slim, but elaborate cooler.

The rear heatsink seems to be the main cooling block for the whole system, so it would have to depend on your CPU cooler to provide it sufficient exhaust air flow.

There is an extra set of heat-pipe and fins below the CPU socket that doesn't really have any use at the moment, but notice the screw holes on either side? It is rumored that there will be an additional extension to the whole cooler that will somehow cover the DIMM slots as well.