4x48: MSI Demonstrates Intel X48 Mainboard with Four Slots for Graphics Cards
MicroStar International showcased the world’s first and only Intel X48-based mainboard with four PCI Express x16 slots for graphics cards. In addition, the company demonstrated DDR2-supporting Intel X48-based platform, also a rather unique solution.
Intel X48, as well as Intel P45, are definitely among the most highly-anticipated platforms of a lot of users due to numerous reasons:
- These are the last and final high-end platforms for Intel Netburst and Intel Core 2 microprocessors.
- These chipsets provide virtually the highest performance when combined with existing chips.
- Intel P45 and X48 support PCI Express 2.0.
- Intel P45 and X48 support high-speed processor system bus as well as DDR2/DDR3 memory.
Unfortunately, there is no upgrade path for Intel’s P45 and X48, but this means that the platforms will be supported for a long time, moreover, performance of Intel Core 2 Duo, Quad and Extreme microprocessors should be enough for loads of users for many years to come.
For enthusiasts, Intel X48 will be a short-living product as some rumours point to Intel Bloomfield availability in Q3 2008, which means a brand new platform. But those enthusiasts who want to be kings of the hill will hardly care about it and will switch from Asus Pinot Noir or MSI X48 Platinum to newer mainboards quickly and without any questions asked.
MSI’s X48 Platinum is currently the only ATX-standard mainboard that features four PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots onboard. Unfortunately, only graphics cards with single-slot cooling system may be installed into a system featuring MSI X48 Platinum, which means that hardly any overclocking will be possible. Nevertheless, considering the fact that there are dual-chip graphics cards – ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 and Nvidia GeForce 9800 GX2 – available, hardly a lot of people need four PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots. Nevertheless, it is better to have four slots rather than not: certain future hardware may require PCIe 2.0 x16 slot for operation and if there are already three graphics boards in the system, the lack of the fourth PCIe x16 will cause a problem.