We were surprised to see that there was little to separate the two systems in terms of performance so the deciding factor would be a need for a particular feature such as HDMI or a yen for a particular make of processor.
As a final piece of fun we tried to overclock the MSI using the basic set of tools in the BIOS. Our Core 2 Duo E6750 will happily run on a front-side bus of 1,800MHz or more but the MSI wasn’t having any of that. The MSI would run at 1,450MHz but higher speeds caused the board to lock solid, which then required us to reset the CMOS jumper. The moral of this tale is to leave well alone and run at standard speeds.
So why, you may wonder, has nVidia decided to release this relatively dull chipset? Good question. Intel’s Core 2 Duo is selling by the truckload and the only companies supplying chipsets are Intel and nVidia now that AMD has taken ATI out of the picture.
The vast majority of budget PCs use an IGP to save on costs and nVidia clearly has the lead on Intel when it comes to graphics but Intel is on the verge of a graphics update with its G35 chipset. It looks like nVidia has beaten Intel to the punch by a small margin with a competent chipset that delivers decent graphics at a low cost but it’s a shame that MSI didn’t include an HDMI connector.
Fans of Core 2 Duo can use the MSI P6NGM-FD to build a small, cheap and quiet PC that delivers surprisingly good performance but anyone building a Media Centre would be better off with AMD’s 690G.