Dual core was a much larger performance boost than I originally thought it would be. I am very pleased with the overall increased responsiveness of my system and the ability to chat on AIM, surf the net and even listen to music in Winamp while running Prime95 – all of which was impossible previously running Prime95 on a single-core CPU.
On the whole, I am pleased with the MSI K9N SLI Platinum nForce 570. I am sad that I wasn't able to get a stable overclock on CPU, but that isn't a huge detriment. I envision most people buying this board will be buying it because they want to set up a cheap, but powerful system, and aren't too concerned about overclocking and all the other nuances of power-usability. Those people would be looking at the nForce 590. The K9N SLI Platinum has a plethora of features, and considering that it can be found for less than $130, the deal is quite awesome; it brings nForce 5, socket AM2, DDR2 memory and SLI to the masses for a very affordable price. While this is a solid mid-level board, there ARE some negatives:
Passively cooled Northbridge gets hot and may be problematic for some
Close proximity of capacitors to CPU bracket will impede some aftermarket heatsinks from fitting on the board
Inclusion of FDD controller at the unneeded expense of a second IDE channel
Complete lack of memory overclocking options for any speeds above 800MHz
The above listed issues are important, but not so important that they are keeping me from recommending this board for the budget-minded enthusiast, or the person looking to make the AM2/DDR2 jump with SLI support. This board cannot be beat at the price asked; however, power users are going to want to look to the nForce 590 for more of the power features they so require. All that being said, this is a great board as an introduction to the AM2 platform and for one's first SLI setup.
Thanks to MSI for the review sample and thanks again to Robert for his help with the USB issue!
Please feel free to discuss this review or ask any questions in this thread.