MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI Motherboard Review
Express is really starting to come
into the limelight. It has successfully migrated from the Intel platform into an independent technology, sealing its
fate as the next hottest thing after DDR-2 memory. Over the next twelve months we can
only wait and see what kind of PCI Express devices will enter into
the market, but at the moment there is no shortage of PCI Express videocards to choose
The MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI is actually the
revision of MSI's popular K8N Neo series, and it's now based on the brand
new nVIDIA nForce4 SLI chipset. The motherboard supports Socket 939 AMD Athlon64 processors with HyperTransport running
at a smooth 1 GHz. In terms of memory, the board supports up to 4GB
of PC3200 non-ECC DDR RAM, and unlike Intel's new DDR-2 systems,
you won't have to throw out those trusty sticks of DDR memory if you're
upgrading from an older box.
two physical PCI-Express 16x slots on the
motherboard as well as three standard 32-bit PCI slots. Under SLI, the two PCI Express
videocard slots operate with 8 lanes each. The SLI jumper is included in the package. The
K8N Neo4 motherboard also comes equipped with Silicon Image's new Sil3132 Serial ATA II/RAID
controller, IEEE 1394, two Gigabit NICs and an onboard Creative Sound
Blaster Live! 24-bit hardware soundcard! Yes that's right, the K8N Neo4 has
a onboard Creative Soundblaster (CA0106-DAT) soundcard!
nForce4-SLI based motherboard we've seen on the
market has been a full size ATX board so those of you with smaller cases will
have to get something new to house these boards. The K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI
has a 24 pin ATX main power connector, although regular 20 pin ATX power supply connectors
will still work just fine. Just make sure it can meet the power demands of an
Athlon64 and twin videocards, otherwise you'll have a lot of headaches down the
of using an extruded aluminum heatsink to cool the
MOSFETs, MSI has applied a rather spiffy nickel
plated folded-fin heatsink with brazed aluminum fins to this motherboard's power circuitry. The MOSFETs resting below
the heatsink are effectively cooled by the exhaust air from the processor fan; this cooling system
works very well (and looks quite good too)!
I really like where the K8N Neo4
Platinum/SLI has all its ports/headers/connectors situated on the motherboard; they're in their absolute best positions.
The main ATX, floppy and IDE channels are in the ideal location just to the right of
the DIMM slots.
The USB, Serial ATA and IEEE
1394 connectors are also in a great location at the edge of the PCB, as is the
ATX12V connector just above the CPU socket.