Socket 939 Motherboard Roundup: ABIT, MSI, Gigabyte
MSI K8T Neo2-FIR: Bundle & Specifications
The K8T Neo2-FIR has a bit of a history behind it. When AMD launches a new processor, it generally ships a kit to the press and other anaysts designed to showcase its new product in the best light. When the first Socket 939 processors, the Athlon 64 FX-53 and 3800+, arrived in the HotHardware labs, they were accompanied by a prerelease version of the K8T Neo2. For AMD to choose this board to showcase its new processors, the company must have really liked something about it. That prerelease board seemed really nice, so we were eager to see what the retail version had to offer, as motherboards tend to only get better with a little age...
•_Supports 64-bit AMD K8 Athlon 64/Athlon 64 FX Processor (Socket 939)
•_Supports 64-bit AMD K8 Athlon 64 3500+ and higher CPU
•_Supports 64-bit AMD K8 Athlon 64 FX processor FX-53 and up
•_VIA K8T800 Pro Chipset
•_HyperTransport connection to AMD K8 Athlon 64/Athlon 64 FX processor
8 or 16 bit control / address data transfer both directions
•_1000/800/600/400/200MHz "Double Data Rate" operation both directions
•_AGP v3.0 compliant with 8X transfer mode
VIA VT8237 Chipset
•_Ultra DMA 66/100/133 master mode EIDE controller
•_Integrated dual channel native Serial ATA/RAID controller that will supply 150MB/s and support RAID 0, RAID 1
•_ACPI & PC2001 compliant enhanced power management
•_Supports 8 USB 2.0 ports. (Rear x4/ Front x4)
•_Supports four 184-pin DDR SDRAMs up to 4GB memory size
•_Supports DDR400*/DDR333/DDR266 DDR SDRAM
*Note: PC3200 (DDR400) - Due to the High Performance Memory design, motherboards or system configurations may or may not operate smoothly at the JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) standard settings (BIOS Default on the motherboard) such as DDR voltage, memory speeds and memory timing. Please confirm and adjust your memory setting in the BIOS accordingly for better system stability.
•_One AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) 1.5V 4x/8x slot
•_Five PCI 2.2 32-bit Master PCI Bus slots. (support 3.3v / 5v PCI bus interface)
•_30.5 cm(L) x 24.5 cm(W) ATX Form Factor
•_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.
Serial ATA/150 controller integrated in VT8237
•_Up to 150MB/s transfer speed
•_Can connect up to two Serial ATA drives
•_Support RAID 0, RAID 1
•_An IDE controller on the VT8237 chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master, and Ultra DMA 66/100/133 operation modes. It can connect 4 Ultra ATA drives.
Promise 20579 Onboard
•_Supports ultra ATA, Serial ATA, Ultra ATA RAID 0 or 1, Serial ATA RAID 0 or 1, Ultra/ Serial ATA RAID 0+1
•_Connect up to two Serial ATA devices and two Ultra ATA 133 devices
•_VIA VT6306 IEEE 1394 controller
•_Provides onboard one 6-pin port and one 4-pin port
Transfer rate up to 400Mbps
•_8-channel software audio codec Realtek ALC850
•_Compliance with AC97' v2.3 Spec
•_Meet PC2001 audio performance requirement
•_Provide onboard SPDIF out
•_Realtek 8110S Dual layout
•_Integrated Gigabit Ethernet MAC and PHY transceiver, auto-negotiation operation.
•_Supports single-port 10MB/s, 100MB/s, 1000MB/s Base-T application.
•_Compliance with PCIv2.2 and LAN on Motherboard (LOM) standard.
•_1 floppy port supports 2 FDDs with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88Mbytes
•_1 serial ports COM1
•_1 parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
•_8 USB 2.0 ports (Rear x 4 / Front x 4)
•_5 audio ports in vertical (Left, Center, Right, Line-in, MIC)
•_1 SPDIF out
•_2 IEEE 1394 connectors
•_1 RJ-45 jack
•_1 IrDA connector for SIR/ASKIR/HPSIR
•_D Bracket 2
•_Serial ATA Power Adapter
•_2 x Serial ATA Cables
The MSI K8T Neo2-FIR shipped with a rather unique bundle. Along with the board itself, we found three driver and utility CDs, two floppy disks containing drivers for the VIA and Promise RAID controllers, a custom I/O shield, and two user's manuals. The same D-Bracket that accompanied the K8N Neo2 Platinum was also included with the K8T, in addition to a rounded floppy cable, a rounded 80-wire IDE cable, a single SATA cable, and one Molex-to-SATA power adapter. The last piece of hardware included with the K8T Neo2-FIR was an 802.11g wireless network adapter with an external antenna. MSI also included a half-height mounting bracket with the card, but we doubt this board will be used in many applications where the smaller bracket will be useful. We tested the 802.11g adapter with a Linksys WRT54GS and a D-Link DI-624 wireless router and encountered no compatibility or performance issues. A wired network connection is always preferable, but if that's not an option for you, the K8T Neo2-FIR's included wireless network adatper will come in handy.