Socket 939 Motherboard Roundup: ABIT, MSI, Gigabyte

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MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum: Bundle & Specifications

The K8N Neo2 Platinum Edition is currently MSI's flagship Socket 939 motherboard for the Athlon 64.  This board, like the Gigabyte K8NSNXP-939 we spoke of on the three previous pages, is powered by NVIDIA's single-chip nForce3 Ultra.  As such, the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum has many of the same features and capabilities, plus a few more courtesy of MSI's "Core Cell" chip and a few additional integrated controllers...


Specifications Of The MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum
MSI's Flagship Athlon 64 Motherboard
_Supports Socket 939 for AMD Athlon 64 FX/64 processor
_Supports 3500+, 3800+ Athlon 64 FX 53, or higher CPU

_nVIDIA nForce3 Ultra Chipset
_HyperTransport link to the AMD Athlon 64/Athlon 64 FX CPU
_HyperTransport supporting speed up to 1GHz (2000MT/s)
_AGP3.0 8X interface at 533MT/s (million transfers per second)
_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
_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 32-bit v2.3 Master PCI bus slots (support 3.3v/5v PCI bus interface).

Onboard IDE/SATA
_An IDE controller on the NVIDIA nForce3 Ultra chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA133/100/66 operation modes.
_Can connect up to four IDE devices
_Supports four SATA ports. Transfer rate is up to 150MBps
_NV RAID (Software)
_Support for up to four SATA & four ATA 133 Hard drives
_RAID 0 or 1, 0+1, JBOD is supported
_RAID function work w/ATA133 + SATA H/D
_The mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS that detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
_The mainboard provides a Desktop Management Interface (DMI) function that records your mainboard specifications.

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

_Supports dual LAN jacks
_1 LAN supports 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Marvell 88E1111 PHY
_1 LAN supports 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Realtek 8110S (1000Mbps)

IEEE 1394
_VIA 6306 chipset
_Supports up to 3 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
_8 USB 2.0 ports (Rear x 4 / Front x 4)
_2 RJ45 LAN jack
_3 IEEE 1394 connectors (Rear x 1/ Front x 2)

_30.5cm(L) x 24.5cm(W) ATX Form Factor

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


When compared to the other motherboards in this roundup, the K8N Neo2 Platinum's bundle seems a bit hollow, but all of the necessities are there.  Think along the lines of the ABIT AV8, minus a couple of well-written user's manuals.  MSI does include a single manual, however, along with a driver / utility CD and a floppy disk that contains RAID drivers.  MSI also included two SATA cables, a single Molex-to-SATA power adapter, a rounded floppy cable, a rounded 80-wire IDE cable, a custom I/O shield, and a custom case bracket MSI calls a "D-Bracket."  The custom bracket houses two USB connectors, along with four LEDs.  The "D" in "D-Bracket" stands for "Diagnostic."  The LEDs blinks in certain combinations should a problem with the motherboard arise.  Look up the lighting combination, and the underlying problem becomes much easier to diagnose.

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