MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum Motherboard Review
socket 939 AMD Athlon64 processor has been available for a couple of months
now, but many enthusiasts
continue to hold out. The simple reason may just be that VIA
has yet to really fully
deliver on the chipset front, or that nVIDIA's nForce3 Ultra has just been too slow to
get out. It's hard to say with certainty, either way. Don't get me wrong though, VIA's K8T800
Pro solution is perfectly fine if you're an average user... but die hard
overclockers are certainly turned off by the lack of working AGP/PCI
locks. On the other hand, nVIDIA's nForce3 Ultra chipset is primed
and ready to take over the Athlon64 market.
Computer has been very friendly with the enthusiast market in the last few
years PCstats has been reviewing its products. It's a strategy which has paid
off for MSI. Many enthusiasts now sport MSI
boards, or videocards in their systems in an attempt to reach higher overclocking speeds,
and faster benchmark scores. Of course we're not just going cut
a blank check on that matter, because as you all know, 'performance' is
a very product-specific intangible.
next few pages PCstats will be sussing out the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum motherboard to
see just how it performs, and the features it offers up. Built
upon the nVidia nForce3 Ultra chipset, the MSI K8N Neo2 supports the socket 939 AMD Athlon64 or
AthlonFX processor, and will support up to 4GB of PC3200 DDR memory.
respect to its onboard components, users of the MSi K8N Neo2 Platinum will
find two onboard Gigabit NICs, IEEE1394 Firewire, 7.1-channel audio, four Serial ATA ports with NVRAID (RAID 0, 1, 0+1), and
MSI's own CoreCell technology. That might not sound like a lot, but
remember the four Serial ATA channels are integrated, as is Serial ATA/IDE RAID, and
all this runs us about $140USD.
Around back at the I/O headers we find a couple
of ports that stand out; namely the IEEE1394 Firewire, SPDIF coaxial audio connector, and twin
Gigabit sockets. An optical SPDIF is snuggled in with the 7.1-channel audio headphone
jacks, and while there is that one Firewire jack here, there are also two more headers
along the lower edge of the matt-black K8N Neo2 Platinum.
Yes, that's right, the K8N Neo2 has a cool black PCB with
matt coating like an F117 stealth fighter! The rest of the MSI K8N
Neo2 Platinum is quite colourful, and this is done to help us install the right bits
of hardware in the right location if we aren't super-geeks. :-)
Given the number of motherboards to pass over PCstats'
test bench, I'll admit that I like any changes to the PCB which are out of
the ordinary, and this is certainly a nice little touch.
layout of the board is different from what we're use to, thanks primarily to the
single nVidia chipset, I like the fact that the dual channel DDR RAM slots
are up along the top of the board. The bulky IDE/Floppy cables are grouped together with the main ATX power connector off
to the side, and the rest of the board remains pretty open and well laid out.
Everything else is pretty much where it should be; the ATX12V connector at the top of
the board, the Firewire and USB2.0 headers at the bottom.