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MSI K8N Neo-FIS2R Platinum NF3-250Gb Motherboard Review
MSI K8N Neo-FIS2R Platinum NF3-250Gb Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: When AMD integrated a memory controller into the Athlon64 processor, they took away one of the key performance features that differentiates one chipset from another.
 91% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI May 18 2004   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI K8N Neo-FIS2R

MSI K8N Neo-FIS2R Platinum NF3-250Gb Motherboard Review

When AMD integrated a memory controller into the Athlon64 processor, they took away one of the key performance features that differentiates one chipset from another. That's why, when you read through Athlon64 motherboard reviews, no matter what the chipset is, the platforms always performs about the same. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing. After all, this guarantees that AMDs Athlon64 will maintain a certain performance level, even on low end systems!

Many consumers were caught off guard when nVIDIA released their nForce3 150 chipset, because unlike the nForce2 the NF3-150, it was more of a value-oriented chipset. Feature wise, the nForce3 150 also had a few problems competing with VIA's acclaimed K8T800; it suffered from a slower HyperTransport link, and with manufacturers not implementing an AGP/PCI lock, it just didn't stack up.

Now, almost a year after 64-bit AMD Athlon64 processor was introduced, we're getting a taste of nVIDIA's new nForce3-250Gb chipset. It comes care of the very well equipped MSI K8N Neo Platinum motherboard which is based on this latest nVidia chipset. In terms of goodies, the K8N Neo-FIS2R Platinum boasts onboard native Serial ATA/RAID, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 1394, an onboard 7.1 audio controller and of course, MSI's well known "CoreCell technology." We'll dive deeper into the technology behind the NF3-250Gb a bit later in the article.

MSI K8N Neo-FIS2R Platinum


Users Manual, Driver CD, One Rounded Ultra/133 IDE Cables, One Rounded Floppy Cable, Two Serial ATA Cables, IEEE 1394 Bracket,USB Bracket

Breaking from tradition, MSIs K8N Neo-FIS2R Platinum shows off a very nice looking black PCB. I think perhaps a white coloured PCB would have been more appropriate. ;-) The audio connector layout is a bit different from what we're use to but with then again the MSI K8N Neo-FIS2R Platinum uses the Realtek 7.1 AC'97 codec.

You can connect your Minidisc/MP3 player to the yellow SPDIF port or perhaps via the square optical port too. There's one open IEEE 1394a jack for those of you with high speed devices like video cameras or perhaps an external HDD.

The layout of the components on the motherboard is quite different from what we're use to, but it shouldn't matter as long as it works right? In general we're pleased with the placement of the various ports and headers, the IDE and main ATX power cable shouldn't be much of a bother to the right of the CPU socket.

MSI place most of the headers at the very bottom of the K8N Neo-FIS2R Platinum motherboard, that way they don't interfere with the other system devices. To make things easier on the end user the jacks are also colour coordinated, and even have the positive values on the front panel I/O header listed. The motherboard's other ports and slots are also very well labelled.

Since the nForce3-250Gb chipset does not generate quite as much heat as the first nForce2 chip, a compact passive heatsink is all that is required for cooling. During testing, the NF3-250GB did get warm, but no where near the level of the older NF2 Northbridge.

I don't have much to complain about for the K8N Neo-FIS2R Platinum; except perhaps the location of Serial ATA slots one and two. They are just left of the CPU socket, which puts the cables right under the heatsink.

To make things easier, MSI should have placed the slots next to the other Serial ATA ports. The floppy drive connector is a bit low on the board, so users who have floppy drives higher up in their case may have problems.

MSI included rounded IDE cables with the K8N Neo-FIS2R Platinum, but they are a bit stiff since they are made with folded standard IDE cabling - still, it's much nicer than standard IDE cables.

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Contents of Article: MSI K8N Neo-FIS2R
 Pg 1.  — MSI K8N Neo-FIS2R Platinum NF3-250Gb Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  The NF3-250Gb Chipset
 Pg 3.  MSI CoreCell Chip and Overclocking
 Pg 4.  BIOS continued
 Pg 5.  System Spec's and Benchmarks
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2002, Winbench 99
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2004, Super Pi, PCMark2002
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, AquaMark3
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: UT2003 and Conclusions

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