One Platinum for All
The K9N Platinum sports the same feature set as the K9N SLI Platinum that we previewed about a week ago. The board makes use of all six SATA 3.0Gbps connections and fully supports the complete MediaShield and RAID functionality of the nForce 570 Ultra chipset. Both Gigabit MACs are available through a pair of Vitesse VSC8601XKN PHY chips so NVIDIA's DualNet features such as Teaming, TCP/IP Acceleration and FirstPacket technology can be used. Audio is powered by Realtek's value HD CODEC, the ALC883 and to round it off, the board also has basic FireWire-400 support through a VIA VT6307 controller.
Based on the nForce 570 Ultra chipset, the K9N Platinum should only support one PCIe x16 connection. Instead, we're looking at two PCIe x16 slots on the board just like the K9N SLI Platinum. The primary (white) slot is the main PCIe x16 slot, while the secondary (yellow) slot is more or less a gimmick to make the K9N Platinum more attractive in the public eye. Dual graphics capabilities on a non-SLI motherboard isn't something new so why do we say this? The nForce 570 Ultra, unlike its SLI brethren, only has 20 PCI Express lanes, which in turn have a fixed configuration. True enough, even MSI's documentation confirms that the slot will only work in PCIe x1 mode, not exactly adequate bandwidth other than to run a second PCI Express graphics card for a multi-monitor setup. Take note that not all PCIe graphics cards can operate the PCIe x1 speeds and as such, MSI has documented the cards that have passed their internal testing and are compliant with PCIe x1 speeds.
All of MSI's new Socket AM2 motherboards including the K9N Platinum will feature an updated CoreCell technology covering hardware monitoring, overclocking and tweaking, which is now renamed as Dual CoreCell. These features are similar to the CoreCell that we've already been used to, though its functions are now extended to the graphics subsystem as well. Plus the fact that most of the newest processors would have dual cores within, the CoreCell chip would then be governing both of them, hence the new naming scheme as well.
The layout of the K9N Platinum is pretty optimized for the board, though at first glance it may look slightly busy on the top half. MSI managed to squeeze in the CPU socket, DIMM slots, primary storage and ATX connectors plus all the MOSFETs and capacitors in one area. Just like the K9N SLI Platinum though, the K9N Platinum has a huge elongated heatsink covering the nForce 570 Ultra chipset and an equally chunky heatsink to cool the MOSFETs. What we liked about the K9N Platinum was its clearly marked headers and PCB, one of those little things that will put a smile to your face when you're about to install the board.
- FSB Settings: 200MHz to 210MHz (in 0.5MHz steps), 210MHz to 400MHz (in 1MHz steps)
- PCIe Frequency: 100MHz to 145MHz
- RAM Frequency: DDR2-400, DDR2-533, DDR2-667, DDR2-800
- CPU Voltage Settings: 0.800V to 1.400V (in 0.025V steps)
- Extra CPU Voltage: +0.05V to +0.35V (in 0.05V steps)
- Memory Voltage Settings: 1.80V to 2.45V (in 0.05V steps)
- Multiplier Selection: Yes (unlocked CPUs only)
The K9N Platinum sports a simple BIOS with basic overclocking features and frankly, after our encounter with the Foxconn C51XEM2AA nForce 590 SLI motherboard, it felt quite bare. Nevertheless, the only options that users will truly miss are chipset voltage controls. Otherwise, the K9N Platinum has what it takes for a decent overclocker. In our tests, the K9N Platinum managed a respectful 275MHz HT bus overclock with its HTT multiplier set to 4x.