Features and Setup
Granite Bay with all the creature comforts
The layout of the MSI GNB
Max-FISR is very nicely done, with power connectors at
the edge of the board. However, there are a fair
number of large metal can capacitors around the CPU
socket, which may inhibit some larger heat sink
installations. This is not a show stopper
however, the retention brackets are unobstructed and
for the most part there is ample room to get by.
Also, notice the fairly
large heat sinks attached to the power MOSFETs near
the CPU socket. This is a big plus in our
opinion. We've had more than one Pentium 4 board
here in the lab, go meta-stable due to overheated
MOSFETs during overclocking. As a matter of
fact, we would go so far as to say, that if you don't
have these attached to the FETs on your P4 board, it
is cheap insurance to add them and it may very well
bring you better over-all stability, especially if you
like to overclock.
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As we noted earlier,
this board has a myriad of bells and whistles with all
the latest features in connectivity technology.
As a matter of fact, it is as if EVERYONE came to this
party. Winbond, VIA, Intel, Promise, C-Media,
and ICS all provide the latest gizmos, from USB 2.0 to
Gigabit Ethernet and SATA (Serial ATA) RAID.
MSI GNB MAX-FISR
So plain for such a feature
packed board, it's a shame
Then we hit a bit of a
brick wall. At first, the BIOS on the board that
we received was ridiculously bland. There were
only limited Front Side Bus speed selections to chose
from and no voltage adjustments whatsoever.
However, we did obtain a new BIOS from MSI and here
are a few screens from the setup that is available.
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This version of the MSI
GNB Max-FISR BIOS is still pretty boring. It's a
shame, with all the features and capabilities of this
board and the chipset that powers it, that MSI doesn't
give the enthusiast the tools to work with, like they
have in virtually all the other boards they have
released in the market today. The only real
tweaking features that are available, as of right now,
are memory timings and FSB selection in 1MHz
increments up to 200MHz. There are still no
voltage tweaks for DRAM or CPU adjustments. One
word... bummer. We're very hopeful that MSI will
release a BIOS for the GNB Max-FISR, that will unlock
its full potential and give the end user full control
over performance optimizations and tweaks.