Socket 939 Motherboard Roundup: ABIT, MSI, Gigabyte

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MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum: BIOS & Overclocking

Like the ABIT AV8 and Gigabyte K8NSNXP-939, the K8N Neo2's BIOS is a Phoenix / Award derivative that's been customized for the particular application.  The standard menus look very much like the others we've already shown you in this review...

The BIOS: MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum
Good Stuff




Browsing through the standard BIOS menus doesn't reveal anything revolutionary, but all of the common options for tweaking / enabling / disabling the K8N integrated peripherals are there.  The K8N Neo2 Platinum's BIOS is very complete and easy to navigate.  And MSI also does a good job of explaining some of the more obscure options in the right margin.  It's in the Cell Menu where the real fun begins...

Overclocking Tools: MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum
Lots Of Tinkering!



The Cell Menu is home to all of the K8N Neo2 Platinum's overclocking and memory configuration options.  Like ABIT's uGuru processor, MSI's Core Cell chip monitors fan speeds, voltages, and temperatures.  Using the data being monitors by the Core Cell chip, the K8N can dynamically overclock a processor, but we left that option disabled in the name of fair play.  Obviously, users can also overclock their processors manually using some of the other options available in the Cell Menu.  Processor bus speeds can be set to any speed up to 300MHz, in 1MHz increments (the latest BIOS increases this number to 350MHz), and the AGP clock can be configured to operate at any speed between 66MHz and 100MHz, also in 1MHz increments.  CPU, memory, and AGP voltage adjustments are available, as well.  CPU voltages range from 1.55v -1.85v, memory voltages range from 2.5v - 2.85v, and AGP voltages range from 1.5v - 1.85v, all in .05v increments.  Noticeably absent are chipset and HyperTransport voltage options, but we suspect they're dialed in at optimal levels by MSI at the company's manufacturing facility, as this board had no trouble in the overclocking department.

Max OC=263MHz
To overclock with the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum, we followed the same procedure that we outlined earlier.  We increased the CPU core voltage to 1.7v, dropped the multiplier, dialed down the HT speed, increased the memory voltage to 2.8v, and slowly raised the bus speed until the system was no longer stable.  The MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum ended up hitting the highest bus speed of the bunch.  The maximum stable bus speed we were able to attain was an impressive 263MHz.

And, like the other motherboards in this round-up, the K8N Neo2 Platinum didn't have any trouble overclocking our CPU to over 2.6GHz.


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