We've tested some
very feature rich motherboards in the past few weeks but
rarely do those motherboards come bundled with all the necessary cables to take advantage of all
the on board components. The 865PE Neo2-FIS2R on the other hand comes with all four Serial ATA
cables (for the four Serial ATA ports and SATA-RAID) as well as a two
Molex Y Serial ATA power connectors!
you're lucky enough to get a Serial ATA HDD, you won't need to buy additional
hardware to get the drive to work with the motherboard. MSI even includes one
rounded IDE cable for good measure!
The first time I powered on the i865PE Neo2-FIS2R I thought the motherboard blew a capacitor as I
saw flashes of light and just about had a heart attack. Upon closer inspection I
found the northbridge fan was laced with a few multicoloured LED's which blink on and off
in different patterns for effect. Certainly a very cool option and anybody with a
window in their case.
The Intel 82547EI is
a small BGA chip which has a direct 16 bit DDR bus that runs at 133
MHz and handles the GbE network adaptor. The system caps off with a
maximum bandwidth of 266MB/s, just enough to keep a fully moving Gigabit 10/1000
NIC happy (Maximum bandwidth for a Gigabit NIC running full duplex is 2Gb/s or 250
This chipset also free's up bandwidth in
the PCI bus for the other system devices. This entire system
potentially allows for better overal performance throughout when all the
devices in the system-bus are under load. More on CSA in a moment though... Next
let's have a look at the new ICH5R southbridge.
MSI's Core Cell Looks Cool, but what
does it do?
No doubt by now you've noticed the aluminum Core
Cell block just under the DIMM slots on the motherboard. What
exactly is Core Cell, and what does this new
Core Cell is MSI's new catch phrase
(read: marketing tool) and it has a number of features from decreasing
overall system noise to power saving functions, prolonging the life of system
components and even overclocking apparently.
Depending on what you're doing Core Cell can slow down the
Northbridge and CPU fans by up to 50% which should dramatically reduce overall
system noise for those of you who are sensitive to sound. Unfortunately MSI's
literature is not very specific
so I'm not sure how their Core Cell technology saves
on power or prolongs the life of your components. Info is hard to
come by so I have to admit we're a little in the dark
on the full explanation of this little IC which hides below the aluminum
biggest feature MSI are touting for Core Cell are its' overclocking
functions. It apparently gives the end user the ability to not just overclock their
system within Windows (FSB and voltage adjustments available), it also
allows the system itself to dynamically overclock your computer by default (up
to 10%). While this is a really cool option, I don't think MSI
should enable it by default. Nvidia are also set to release a similar
feature for their own boards which allow users to dynamical overclock their
systems, so keep that in mind if you're an AMD fan.