MSI 845G MaxL i845G Motherboard - HotHardware

MSI 845G MaxL i845G Motherboard

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The MSI 845G Max-L Motherboard Review
Integrated Graphics and Bluetooth Technology

By -Chris Angelini
June 28th, 2002


The i845 chipset gained quick popularity due to its DDR memory support, providing an alternative to the once-expensive RDRAM standard.  In fact, many proponents of the chipset went so far as to call the i845 ?the next 440BX,? referring to the immensely popular Pentium III chipset that spanned more than 18 months in production.  Technology is evolving faster than ever before, though, so it was only a matter of time before Intel updated the core logic of the i845. In fact, several new iterations of the chipset have been unveiled, including the i845E, i845GL, and i845G, which we are looking at today.

MSI has become a force to be reckoned with in the motherboard industry.  A combination of quick adoption of technology and speedy implementation of innovative features, has helped MSI become one of the top three manufacturers in the world.  The 845G-L Max exemplifies MSI?s initiative.  Not only does the board include Intel?s latest i845G chipset, but it also supports Bluetooth wireless technology.  Compatibility with the latest 533MHz front side bus Pentium 4 processors and USB 2.0 round the package out nicely. 

We can understand how Intel would be reluctant to embrace the latest advancements in DDR memory technology.  After all, it was a demand for DDR that led to the demise of Intel?s aggressive plans for RDRAM.  The unfortunate result is that the i845G doesn?t officially support PC2700 memory.  MSI has added its own "unofficial" PC2700 BIOS setting however, to circumvent the only glaring drawback of the i845G chipset.

Specifications of the MSI 845G Max-L i845G Motherboard
Mainstream Pentium 4 with Cutting Edge Communications
Special Features
Supports USB 2.0 through ICH4
Bluetooth transceiver and key
Intel Extreme Graphics Architecture
Integrated 10/100Mbps LAN controller

CPU
Socket 478 for Intel Pentium 4 Northwood/Willamette

Chipset
Intel i845G/ICH4
400/533MHz FSB
AGP 4x
Support for PC1600/2100 DDR SDRAM

FSB
Supports 400/533MHz FSB

Main Memory
Three, 184-pin sockets
Maximum memory size up to 2GB

Slots
One AGP 4X slot (1.5V only)
Six PCI 2.2 32-bit Master PCI bus slots
One Communication Network Riser (CNR)
On-Board IDE
An IDE controller on the Intel ICH4 chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA 66/100 operation modes
Can connect up to four IDE devices

Audio
Realtek AC-'97 Codec

On-Board Peripherals
1 Floppy port supports 2 FDD with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88Mbytes
1 Serial port (COM A), 1 Parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
6 USB 2.0 ports (2 rear and 4 front)

USB Interface
6x USB 2.0 ports

BIOS
The mainboard BIOS provides AMI "Plug & Play" Flash BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically

Dimension
ATX Form Factor

Bluetooth Technology
One transceiver and one key for Bluetooth communication

 

Below is a list of the items that accompany the MSI 845G Max-L  Motherboard

2 - 40-pin 80 Conductor UDMA 100Ribbon Cable
1 - Floppy Ribbon Cable
1 - MSI 845G Max Support CD
1 - 2x USB 2.0/D-Bracket 2 module
1 - User Guide
1 - Bluetooth transceiver
1 - Bluetooth key

Setup and Installation:

Installation of the 845G Max is fairly straight forward.  However, it is easiest to install the memory modules before mounting the board, since the slots are on the far right side, near the edge and may be a tight fit in certain chassis layouts.  The support CD includes the latest drivers for the integrated video, Intel's Application Accelerator, the necessary drivers to enable USB 2.0 through the ICH4 and inital Bluetooth drivers.

The 845G Max's accessory package is fairly comprehensive - two IDE ribbon cables, a single floppy ribbon cable, an extra two-port USB 2.0 header and MSI diagnostic LED module, are all included.  However, the kit is missing a connector to enable use of a second COM port. 

Layout, BIOS, and Overclocking

 

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