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MSI P45-8D Memory Lover
Mainboards | First Looks
Tue 25 Nov 2008

For the Undecided

By Kenny Yeo

Intel recently launched their new Core i7 family of processors. One notable feature of these new processors is that they support DDR3 memory exclusively. This means that DDR2 memory modules won't work with them, making it a problem for some early adopters because presently, DDR3 memory is quite costly. However, like before, it is inevitable that one day in the near future we'll all make the transition to DDR3, but for most users, this is usually only after the prices drop to a more affordable level.

In the meantime, this causes a dilemma for some users because they are in the midst of upgrading their computers but are torn between going for DDR3 or sticking with DDR2.

Best of Both Worlds

Fortunately, MSI has something for all you folks still sitting on the fence. Enter the P45-8D Memory Lover with support for both DDR2 and DDR3 memory (just a reminder that this board does not support the Core i7).

Given that the notches for DDR3 and DDR2 memory modules are entirely different, how does the Memory Lover accommodate both types of memory? And not only that, the Memory Lover is able to support up to 16GB DDR2 and 8GB DDR3. The answer is simple. Have 8 DIMM slots!

A world's first, the P45-8D Memory Lover is, as MSI claims, the first consumer, Intel P45-based motherboard with 8 DIMM slots. With it, users can choose to go with DDR2 for the time-being, and then upgrade to the faster DDR3 memory when prices start going down. This is a nifty idea, especially for the undecided and those who don't see the need to jump in and upgrade to the newest Core i7 processors yet.

The Usual Suspects

Elsewhere, the Memory Lover has everything else that you would expect on a decent motherboard: eight SATA 3.0Gbps ports, coaxial and digital S/PDIF connectivity, four USB 2.0 ports, IEEE1394 port and a Gigabit LAN port.

The Memory Lover also adds on some MSI proprietary technologies and complementary features, such as DrMOS (integrated MOSFETs), Easy OC Switch, solid capacitors and shielded chokes, for longer lifespan, better operation and efficiency at high frequencies and temperatures.

Sadly, while the Memory Lover is big on memory, it is small on expansion slots. It only has a single PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, which leaves room for only one graphics card, ruling out multi-GPU configurations.

Final Thoughts

As far as P45 motherboards go, the P45-8D Memory Lover from MSI doesn't really introduce anything new or terribly groundbreaking. Granted, the 8 DIMM slots is rather interesting, considering that they managed to pack everything on a standard ATX motherboard, but that is let down by the fact that you can still only use one type of memory at a time and not mix and match.

Furthermore, at a recommended retail price of around US$193 (S$289), it is one of the more expensive P45 motherboards. In the end, the P45-8D Memory Lover can be best summed up as being a very niche product most suited for those who want to upgrade their systems now and plan only to get DDR3 memory in the future when prices drop.

Product Specifications

  • Form factor: ATX
  • Chipset: Intel P45+ ICH10R
  • Socket: LGA 775
  • CPU (max support): Intel Core 2 Extreme 
  • DDR2 memory: 667/800/1066MHz
  • DDR3 memory: 800/1066/1333/1600MHz
  • Max memory: 16GB (DDR2)/ 8GB (DDR3)
  • 1 x PCIe x16, 1 x PCIe x1, 3 x PCI
  • Rear panel: 4 x USB 2.0, 1 x Serial, 1 x Parallel, 1 x IEEE1394, Coaxial and S/PDIF digital audio connectivity
  • Price: US$193 (S$289)