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MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum Motherboard Review

MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: 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.
 82% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Oct 01 2004   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum

Overclocking and the nVIDIA BIOS

Overclocking, MSI style!

With a hot little AMD Athlon64 3800+ in hand, we embarked on pushing the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum to its overclocking limits. A pair of Corsair Memory TwinX 3200 XL DDR modules were installed, the heatsink slapped on, and the power switch thrown.

The first item on the list was to lower the clock multiplier to 8x so that the CPU would not be our limiting factor. After that, the Front Side Bus of the MSI K8N Neo2 was slowly raised...

Unlike the Gigabyte produced nForce3 Ultra motherboard we tested just a few days ago, the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum just didn't take to overclocking at first. With its original BIOS, even raising the motherboard clock speed to 201 MHz caused the system not to POST. The BIOS was flashed to a new revision, and then the overclocking really began. At 205 MHz the K8N Neo2 ran into memory problems, but raising the memory voltage to 2.85V solved that.

As we continued upwards, the board hit another roadblock at 220 MHz which necessitated us enabling the 5:4 memory divider. With it enabled, the board eventually maxed out at 236MHz FSB.

Looking Around The BIOS

nForce3 based motherboards no longer put the memory timing options in the advanced chipset features section. Instead we get all the usual AGP tweaks we'd expect from a motherboard.

In the CoreCell menu are the DRAM configuration settings. HT Frequency can be adjusted from 1 GHz to 200 MHz, although you probably won't want to decrease it. AMD's special Cool 'n' Quiet feature is here but disabled by default.

Users can also adjust the CPU multiplier in whole numbers from 4x-12x (maximum our 3800+ will allow). The motherboard clock speed can be adjusted from 200-350 MHz in 1 MHz increments, and the AGP can be locked at pretty much any speed you like. Maximum CPU voltage is 1.85V, memory 2.85V and AGP at 1.85V.

Inside the DRAM configuration menu we see all the usual memory timings tweaks we'd expect from a high performance motherboard; CAS Latency, RAS to CAS and Row Precharge time.

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Contents of Article: MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum
 Pg 1.  MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Nvidia does RAID
 Pg 3.  nForce3 Ultra
 Pg 4.  The nVIDIA Firewall
 Pg 5.  — Overclocking and the nVIDIA BIOS
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: SYSmark2004
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2002, Winbench 99
 Pg 8.  SiSoft Sandra 2004, Super Pi
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: PCMark2002, PCMark04
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, AquaMark3
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat
 Pg 12.  Benchmarks: UT2003, UT2004
 Pg 13.  Benchmarks: Doom 3 and Conclusion

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