K7N2 DELTAILSR from MSI

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The MSI K7N2 Delta-ILSR
A New nForce2 with Something Extra

By: Jeff Bouton
July 23rd, 2003


I
t's funny how things can turn around in the computer industry. Take nVidia's original nForce chipset for example.  While the graphics division was riding high with the latest GeForce product line, the overall response to the fledgling chipset was lukewarm at best.  Adoption by manufacturers was sparse, many of which were understandably cautious of the newcomer.  Today, things have come full circle.  The introduction of the nForce2 chipset launched nVidia to the top of the AMD chipset heap, unseating VIA from the throne.  nVidia has been able to achieve dominance in a new market within one revision of a new product.  When you look at it from that angle, it truly is a remarkable feat.  Unfortunately, the nForce2's rise to the top is overshadowed by recent hard times in the graphics division.  However, this is a cycle that we've seen before in this volatile and extremely competitive atmosphere and we all know that things can change in a second.

Today, we are going to take a look at the latest revision of the nForce2, the nForce2 Ultra 400.  While the first iteration of the nForce2 sported DualDDR400 memory capabilities, it officially supported a maximum 333MHz system bus.  As we've established time and again, the best performance is realized by running the memory and system bus at the same speeds, or synchronously.   The upgraded nForce2 Ultra 400 is essentially the same old nForce2, but it has been updated to support the higher 200MHz FSB.  This allows the memory bus and system bus to run synchronously at the full 200MHz (400MHzDDR) clock speeds.

Our first opportunity to review the nForce2 Ultra 400 comes from MSI Computer, in the form of the K7N2 Delta-ILSR.  In typical MSI fashion, this board comes with all the trimmings to make it stand out among its peers.  But looks are only part of the equation.  Let's take a quick look at the systems specifications.  Then we'll take a closer look at the K7N7 Delta-ILSR to see how performance stacks up to the competition.
 

Features of the MSI K7N2 Delta-ILSR Motherboard
Raising The Bar



 

CPU
Supports Socket A for AMD® Athlon?/Athlon? XP/Duron? processors @FSB 200/266/333/400
Supports  up to Athlon? XP 3000+ processor or higher


Chipset

nVIDIA® nForce2 Ultra 400 Chipset
Supports DDR200/266/333/400
Supports external AGP 4X/8X

nVIDIA® nForce2 MCP-T Chipset
AC97 Interface supporting up to two concurrent codecs
Ultra ATA133 for the fastest hard disk throughput
USB 2.0 EHCI/1.1 OHCI controller
FireWire® and USB 2.0 for the fastest digital connectivity
Audio Processing Unit(APU) encodes audio in Dolby® Digital 5.1
format for full surround sound effects


FSB

FSB 200/266/333/400 MHz clocks are supported

Main Memory

Supports six memory banks using three 184-pin DDR DIMMs
Supports up to 3GB PC3200/2700/2100/1600 DDR SDRAMs
Supports both 64-bit and 128-bit DDR SDRAM

SLOTS

One AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) 1.5V 4x/8x slot
Five 32-bit PCI bus slots (support 3.3v/5v PCI bus interface)
One ACR (Advanced Communication Riser) slot


BIOS

The mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the
peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
The mainboard provides a Desktop Management Interface (DMI) function
which records your mainboard specifications.
On-Board IDE
An IDE controller on the MCP-T chipset provides IDE HDD/CDROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA133/100/66 operation modes
Can connect up to four IDE devices


Serial ATA Interface

Support 2 serial ATA plus 1 ATA133
RAID O or 1 is supported
RAID function works w/ATA133+SATA H/D or 2 SATA H/D

In-Chip IEEE1394

nVIDIA MCP-T IEEE1394 controller
Support up to two ports via external bracket


Network

Chipset integrated 10/100 Base-T Ethernet/Fast Ethernet

Audio

Realtek ALC650 6-channel audio
Dolby Digital 5.1 format


On-Board Peripherals

1 floppy port that supports two FDD with 360KB, 720KB,1.44MB and 2.88MB
1 serial port
1 parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
3 audio ports in vertical
2 IEEE1394 connectors
6 USB ports (Rear * 4/ Front * 2)
1 RJ-45 jack


Accessories

D Bracket 2
S Bracket
IEEE 1394
Round Cable


 

MSI has gone out of its way to pack this motherboard with a myriad of amenities, but they didn't stop there.  The package comes with quite a few conveniences of its own to help you take full advantage of all of the K7N2's features.  Along with thorough K7N2 Delta Series and Serial ATA RAID Quick User's Guides, MSI also provides a comprehensive drivers CD as well as RAID drivers on Floppy disk.  To help get the user up and running quickly, MSI included 2 SATA cables, one red rounded IDE and a standard Floppy ribbon cable.  Separate power adapters are provided for 2 SATA drives.  To take full advantage of the motherboard's on-board capabilities, MSI provides the required brackets to access to each function.  A D-Bracket 2 offers access to one USB connection and provides four diagnostic LEDs in case the system begin to misbehave.  A second IEEE1394 bracket provides access to two FireWire ports, while the S-Brackets offer access to all of the on-board audio functions, such as SPDIF ports for both coaxial and optical as well as analog Line-Out jacks.  MSI also threw in a K7 case badge and a copy of WinDVD on CD-ROM.

While all of these components can be handy, it would be nice to see MSI consolidate some of these connectors into the back plate.  If you were to use all of the motherboards onboard features, you end up using 4 PCI openings in the case.  Throw in a video card and you have room for one more PCI component.  By integrating some of these connectors into the I/O connector array, the user would not be hampered by the space taken by these brackets and MSI would only need to provide a custom I/O shield.   
 

 

The Bundle Continued and The Board

 

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