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MSI 850 Pro2 P4 Motherboard Review

MSI 850 Pro2 P4 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: With its' distinctive three and one RIMM slot orientation, the MSI 850 Pro2 is set to capture the attention of the ever increasing P4 market.
 86% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Aug 14 2001   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI 850 Pro2

850 Pro2 Motherboard Features

Memory Sockets

Based on a remarkably light four layer PCB (even Intel's D850GB is based on more expensive six-layer PCB), the 850 Pro2's layout is anything but standard, even for a Pentium 4 motherboard.

The most obvious aspect of the mainboard layout is the three-and-one RIMM slot configuration. Three of the RIMM slots have been placed in the typical location by the processor, while the fourth RIMM slot sits perpendicular, next to the AGP socket. The orientation is a bit confusing as the perpendicular slot is actually the first memory slot, and its pair is the one closest to the socket 423.

By the way the memory slots are grouped it does look like the two memory slots closest to the socket 423 are the first pair, and the two odd slots out are the second pair. This is not the case, and should you install your RIMMs in the wrong order you won't be going to far.

I've heard from a few people that this odd memory slot configuration was chosen to improve the stability of the motherboard and shorten the length of trace lines.

As is the case with all Rambus RDRAM totting motherboards, RIMM modules absolutely must be used in tandem. Each pair of RIMM's must be of the same type and memory density and size. In the case of the 850 Pro2, up to four 500MB 100MHz FSB PC800 RIMM's can be used.

However if one of the pairs of RIMM slots is unused, it must be filled with the included pair of CRIMM modules (shown below). This is somewhat similar to the good old dual slot one motherboards we used to use around here where a terminator card had to be dropped into the empty socket if only one processor was being used (think Asus P2BD).

Expansion Sockets

Now since we're on the topic of sockets, a few peripheral-junkies may be disappointed to see the 850 Pro2 limited to a scant four PCI sockets - rather than the traditional five or six we're normally accustomed to.

As it stands, the placement of that single RIMM slot at right angle to the others has essentially taken up the space where the AGP socket would normally go. To compensate for this, the AGP socket was moved down one position, taking over what could have been the fifth PCI socket. Hence, we have a motherboard with one less than the usual number of PCI sockets.

For those who just love to heckle at motherboards with AMR or CNR sockets, the 850 Pro2 comes equipped with the latter. Enough said - P4 heatsinks up next.

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Contents of Article: MSI 850 Pro2
 Pg 1.  MSI 850 Pro2 P4 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — 850 Pro2 Motherboard Features
 Pg 3.  Heatsink Mounts and Cooling Provisions
 Pg 4.  Onboard features and more
 Pg 5.  The Full 850 Pro2 Spec Sheet
 Pg 6.  The BIOS Features
 Pg 7.  Memory Adjustments in the Bios
 Pg 8.  Test system specs and initial benchmarks
 Pg 9.  e-Testinglabs WinBench 99 and Productivity Benchmarks
 Pg 10.  Conclusions

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