NF4 Ultra Shoot-Out: Abit vs. MSI vs. ECS

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MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum: Specification & Bundle

Next up, we have the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum Edition. Although their names are very similar, this board and the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI we reviewed a few months back are actually quite different. For one, this board is based on the nForce 4 Ultra chipset and doesn't have official support for NVIDIA's SLI technology (although thanks to some creative engineering it can support more than 1 graphics card). The K8N Neo4 Platinum also lacks the Creative Labs audio controller found on the SLI model, and its equipped with a different secondary SATA controller as well. The K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI sports a PCI Express Silicon Image 3132 SATAII controller, whereas the K8N Neo4 Platinum is equipped with only a PCI Silicon Image 3114 to compliment the NF4 Ultra.

  

Specifications of the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum
MSI Uses The Force

Processor
_Supports 64-bit AMD Athlon™ 64FX/64 processor (Socket 939)
_Supports 3000+, 3200+, 3500+, 3800+, 4000+, FX

Chipset
_NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra Chipset
_HyperTransport link to the AMD Athlon 64/Athlon 64FX CPU
_HyperTransport supporting speed up to 1GHz (2000MT/s)
_Supports PCI Express X16/X4/X1 interface
_Two independent SATA controllers, for four drives
_IEEE 802.3 NVIDIA MAC for 1000BASE-T
_Dual Fast ATA-133 IDE controllers

Main Memory
_Supports dual channel DDR 266/333/400, using four 184-pin DDR DIMMs
_Supports the memory size up to 4GB
_Supports 2.5v DDR SDRAM DIMM

Slots
_One PCI Express X16 slot (supports PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant)
_One PCI Express X4 slot (supports PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant)
_One PCI Express X1 slot (supports PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant)
_Four 32-bit Master PCI Bus slots, one orange slot reserves as communication slot
_Support 3.3V/5V PCI bus Interface

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
Supports boot from LAN, USB Device 1.1 & 2.0 and SATA HDD


LAN
_1 LAN supports 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Marvell 88E1111 PHY
_1 LAN supports 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Marvel 88E8053

On-Board IDE/SATA
_An IDE controller on the nVIDIA nForce4 Ultra chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA133/100/66 operation modes
_Can connect up to 4 IDE devices
_NV RAID supports 4 SATA ports (SATA1-4). Transfer rate is up to 300MB/s
_NV RAID (Software)
_Supports up to 4 SATA plus 2 ATA 133 Hard drives
_RAID 0 or 1, 0+1, JBOD is supported
_RAID function work w/ ATA 133 + SATA H/D or 2 SATA H/D
_Silicon Image's SATARAID5 supports another 4 SATA ports(SATA5-8). Transfer rate is up to 150MB/s
_RAID 0 or 1, RAID5, RAID10, and JBOD groups are supported
_Support up to 4 SATA devices connected to a single controller

Audio
_7.1 channel audio codec RealTek ALC850
_Compliance with AC97 v2.3 Spec
_Meet PC2001 audio performance requirement

IEEE1394
_VIA 6306 chipset
_Supports up to 2 x 1394 ports
_Transfer rate is up to 400Mbps

On-Board Peripherals
_1 floppy port supports 1 FDD with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88Mbytes
_1 serial port
_1 parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
_1 audio jack (5-in-1), coaxial/fibre SPDIF out
_10 USB 2.0 ports (Rear x 4 / Front x 6)
_2 RJ45 LAN jacks
_2 IEEE 1394 a connectors (Rear x 1/ Front x 1)

Dimension
_11.96 in (L) x 9.61 in(W) ATX Form Factor
_9 mounting holes

Accessories
_D Bracket 2
_Serial ATA Power Adapter
_2 Serial ATA Cables
_Round Cable


   

 

When compared to some of the other motherboards currently available, the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum's accessory bundle may seem a bit dull, but MSI makes up for this by packing the board with a slew of integrated peripherals. What MSI does include with the K8N Neo4 Platinum is a pair of user's manuals, a quick reference guide, and three driver / utility discs (two floppies, one CD). MSI also included four orange SATA cables, a pair of Molex-to-SATA power adapters, a rounded floppy cable, a rounded 80-wire IDE cable, a custom I/O shield, and a single case bracket. MSI calls the included bracket the "D-Bracket 2." This custom bracket houses two USB connectors, along with four diagnostic LEDs. The LEDs blink in certain combinations should there be a problem with the motherboard. These diagnostic LEDs function similarly to the POST code read-out found on the Abit Fatal1ty AN8.

Tags:  MSI, ECS, MS, shoot, Ultra, F4, Abit, SHO, ULT

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