MSI K8N Neo Platinum, Socket 754, AMD (MS-7030) Motherboard Reviews

MSI K8N Neo Platinum, Socket 754, AMD (MS-7030) Motherboard

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How I built my AMDx64 computer(Updated Motherboard/Vista/CPU/Power Supply info)

Jun 26, 2005 (Updated Jan 5, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:High Quality motherboard-nice features

Cons:The round ide/floppy cables are not really round Windows XP64not enough drivers or software yet

The Bottom Line: for those that only get on internet/watch TV/DVD movies don't buy. But for those that like to see what's coming but just make it MSI


I prefer building my own computers because
1 I can not afford a OEM pc-
2 I can buy my parts one at a time and over time build a Higher Quality computer than if I bought most OEM pc's.
3 Building a pc myself, helps me to learn more of the ins and outs of the computer, plus I am more able to repair it than if I paid somebody, who does not know the pc like I do.
4 Every time I build a new computer (about 20 so far), I learn something new.

Here I'm going to write as if I am buying all new parts. I have some of the parts already so it won't cost me quite as much. I'm writing this for those that have been wanting to build a pc themselves but don't know where to begin. I can not guarantee that you will be successful. All I can do is tell you how I do it. For those who don't want to take the chance of messing up when putting the motherboard in the case and hooking up the power supply, you can buy a BareBones kit with case, motherboard, power supply and with or without the CPU/heatsink already installed. All that is left to install are the hardware/software you want in the computer. This is the easiest way to do this, plus you get the bragging rights to say you built it yourself.

At the end of this review, I will list what I have in hardware. Plus any hardware I intend to add at a later date. As far as ordering and the warranty information I have here. I order 99% of my parts from TigerDirect, by dealing with 1 representative, I have had no problems with them. I can order from them, send a wire transfer to them and by the next day have the order in my hand. Of course being only 120 miles west of their warehouse helps on that, so I don't have to pay extra for next day delivery.

Why am I building a new pc since I just built a new one in November of last year. I have been a MS Beta Tester since December of 1997, in all that time I have only had one pc and they have been either a low level or mid range computer to test on. If I get on the Beta team, I want to be sure to be able to test on at least 3 pc's at all 3 levels. I may not get invited but this is just in case.

Processor

When I decide to make a new computer, there are a lot of choices to be made. The first one I make is which CPU to use in it. Since I prefer AMD processors, I begin from there. Also since I'm on a limited income (retired and living on Social Security) I decide on what I can spend on a CPU, and in this case I decided on a AMD Athlon x64 2800+-socket 754-cache size 614. I could buy it OEM but then I'd only get a 1-year parts and labor warranty. If I buy retail I get the cpu, heat sink and a 3 year parts and labor warranty. The retail box can cost from $0 to $15+ more but this is what I will buy. The warranty information here is from TigerDirect for these cpu's, oem and retail.

My review of this processor
Do we really need a X64 computer(More Added)
http://www.epinions.com/content_212085149316

Motherboard

Now this is where it takes me the longest to decide. Usually for the next 3 to 4 months I will look at motherboards by various manufacturers. I will chose about 3 or 4 motherboards based on price and features. I will also go on line and see if I can get the manuals for the motherboard if not then that one is out. Then I hunt for Reviews on the internet. Reading all the reviews I can find on the internet, I finally make a decision on the one I will buy. I bought the MSI-K8N NEO Platinum. Reasons I decided on the MSI motherboard

1 I have built a pc before using MSI for the motherboard and even as it was a low level board, I noticed that the board and all the parts were of Hi quality
2 NVIDIAŽ nForce3 250Gb Chipset- I have read from reviews that this is a High quality chipset
3 Features added By MSI not on other manufacturer's-like the CoreCell chip
3 Integrated SATA controllers
4 Intergrated Gigabit Lan
5 7.1 channel codec with outputs for front and back audio also spdif input/output- eventually I may want to have a theater like sound system

Now this motherboard came out in April of 2004. Plus the Platinum series from MSI is what they consider is the top of the line motherboards that they build. From what I can see it is. The motherboard itself is black with white, red, yellow, green and orange plastic. This is a high quality motherboard and the same on the parts on it.
How do I know this. I have been into Electronics since 1960 and have had a AA degree in Electronics since 1966.

Specifications from the MSI web site
• Supports 64-bit AMDŽ Athlon™ 64 processor (Socket 754)
• Supports up to 3200+, 3400+, 3700+ or higher CPU

Chipset

• NVIDIAŽ nForce3 250Gb Chipset
- Supports Athlon™ 64 processor (Socket 754), 800MHz Hypertransport interface.
- Supports single memory channels, DDR 400/333/266 without ECC support.
- Supports external AGP 4X/8X
- Integrated Serial ATA interface: dual channel 4 S-ATA RAID controller and dual channel
ATA 133/100/66/33 master mode EIDE controller.
- Integrated an nVIDIA MAC for Gigabit LAN.
- Supports 8 high speed USB2.0 ports.
- AC'97 2.3 compliance.

Main Memory

• Supports 3 slots for 184-pin DDR SDRAM DIMM modules.
• Supports DDR 400/333/266.
• Supports a maximum memory size of 2GB for DDR400
• Supports a maximum memory size of 3GB for DDR333

Slots

• 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).

On-Board IDE/SATA

• An IDE controller on the NVIDIA nForce3 250Gb chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO,
Bus Master and Ultra DMA133/100/66 operation modes.
- Can connect up to 4 IDE devices

• 4 S-ATA RAID controller and dual channel ATA 133/100/66/33 master mode EIDE controller.

Audio

• 7.1 channel audio codec RealTek ALC850.
- Compliance with AC97 v2.3 Spec.
- Meet PC2001 audio performance requirement.

LAN

• nVIDIAŽ nForce3 NV Gigabit LAN controller
- Integrated Fast Ethernet MAC and PHY in one chip.
- Supports 10Mb/s, 100Mb/s and 1000Mb/s auto-negotiation operation.
- Compliant with PCI v2.2.
- Supports ACPI Power Management.

IEEE1394

• Supports up to 3 x 1394 ports.
- Transfer rate is up to 400Mbps
- Controlled by VIA 6306 chipset

On-Board Peripherals

On-Board Peripherals include:
- 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
- 6 audio ports
- 8 USB 2.0 ports (Rear x 4 / Front x 4)
- 1 RJ45 LAN jack
- 3 IEEE 1394 connectors (Rear x 1/ Front x 2)




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.

A little about the chipset(BIOS). Where the cpu is the brains of the computer. The chipset is the traffic controller of the computer. It tells the data where to go and what the other parts are to do with this data. It is also where the features of the computer is. It is what says what cpu you can run, how fast the computer is and how fast all the other parts are.

Manual
Readability of the manual is important. How sharp the illustrations are will sink or swim it as far as I am concerned. So far I have built 2 MSI computers and both manuals on a score of 0 to 10, I would score it a 11. The text of the manual is very well written and the graphics are very sharp.


PC Case

Now on this I like the Ultra cases. They are well designed, built and very solid. I have one and I have yet to find a sharp edge. You have to make your own decision on this. Now you can buy a case with a power supply included but in most of these, so they can sell cheaply. They design a power supply as cheaply as they can and rate them at the peak power but not at continuous power. If you buy a well designed (more expensive) as I have said before a Hi-Quality 300 watt power supply can beat a cheap 400 watt.
Another thing you need is to move the air through the case, moving cool air in and the warm/hot air out for proper cooling of the computer. Again I like the UltraProducts here. I make sure I buy dual-bearing case fans that to move the air in/out as quickly as possible. Another thing I like about Ultra case I'd buy are 4 Snap-in 80mm Case Fan Mounts, with this many fans it will move the air nicely. Another thing is with the case it is easy to keep the wires out of the way for unimpeded air movement.

For even more information on why you need a Hi Quality Power supply, read this.http://www.epinions.com/content_191675993732

Power supplies
Many people think that just any power supply will do. Although a cheaply made power supply may be able to supply the amount of power it is listed at, it will be begging for mercy if pushed to its limits. If it fails, it could take out your motherboard, CPU and other components. It is unlikely, and has never happened to me, but if there is one thing I have learned in my 63 years of living, anything is possible


Now again here I prefer Ultra Products Power supplies. I have 2 discontinued 400watt PSU’s and I have inspected them. They are of Very Hi-Quality design and build. Plus if you register them at the UltraProducts web site, they will warrant them for a Lifetime. Now my power supplies will continuously be able to supply a full 400watts with no problems unlike the cheap ones that will only do it for a while before having problems. Now on deciding on the max wattage used, I use the following table.

Component Wattage Required
Motherboard 15-30
Low-End CPU 20-50
Mid To High-End CPU 40-100
RAM 7 per 128MB
PCI Add-In Card 5
Low To Mid-Range Graphics 20-60
High-End Graphics 60-100
IDE Hard Drive 10-30
Optical Drives 10-25

I add all the wattages together then add 100watts to the total for anything I may add at a later time. As I have learned the hard way, if the power supply is unable to supply the correct voltage/wattage weird things can happen.

Memory
Now here is something I have just learned about memory and motherboards. A quality motherboard maker will usually include a test report either in or with the manual or on their web site. They test video cards, memory, and disk drives. The test report shows tested and qualified items.
Recently I have had my current computer for some reason at odd times reboot itself and saying there is a hardware problem. Once I replaced the memory module with a qualified memory, I have had no further trouble.
The memory modules I chose were the Kingston value ram 2x256meg DDR PC2300. Since this motherboard has 3 memory slots, it recommends which slots these 2 should go in. I will in July change these out for 2x512m DDR PC3200 Kingston memory.

Video card

Now on this I never get the newest and fastest for one thing, they usually are way out of my price range. Besides I'm not a gamer. The main things I do on my computer is watch TV/DVD movies, surf the internet and work with video/radio files I record off the TV/FM radio card.
For this pc I chose nVidia GeForce FX5200 256 meg DDR. This card is AGP 8 plus it is DirectX 9 compatible GPU. Which means this gives better, clearer,faster visuals than old cards are capable of. I will at the end of this review be giving some Benchmarks on this computer and on my old pc(AMD Sempron 2800+) with this same card.

Harddrive

To me, the Western Digital harddrives are the best. For this I chose the WD800JB SE - 7200 rpm with 8mb buffer-ATA 100. Eventually I will add a SATA drives to this computer. But not right now. Included with the motherboard is a ide and floppy round cables. I need 1 more IDE Round cable for the DVD ROM/CD burner combo and DVD burner I am adding to this. Here is the only con of this motherboard I have found. Which is the round cables are actually flat cable that has been rolled and plastic put on it. I use Ultra Products as their round cable is not flat and it aslo has a ground shield around the cable with plastic over the top of that.

Differences between the SATA and IDE drives
IDE drives you have to set the jumpers to either master or slave or with ata 100(prefered) for cable select. With cable select, the cable itself selects which is master or slave also the cables are marked as to which connect is which. ATA has a max data transfer of 33/66 while ata100 cable is 100/133 mb/s.
SATA drives have no jumpers as the cable only connects to 1 sata drive-transfer rate 150mb/s (which means that both operating system and applications will have better performance
with SATA Raid you can use 2 identical drives and if one goes out you still have all of your system/data
With the SATA drives and IDE drives I can have a total of 6 drives on this system, which will give me plenty of space for whatever I want to do

Floppy drive

Now with Windows XP Pro/Home and Windows Media Center this is not needed. With Linux I found out from another epinions member that Linux can install without a floppy drive. But if you plan to install Windows during the windows install process on a SATA drive, you will need to have a floppy drive to install the drivers during the install process.









Operating System

Even tho Windows XP Pro x64 is out. There are not that many compatible hardware drivers out there, so I'm waiting until next year, unless Longhorn is out and has drivers available. I will be putting Windows XP Pro on this computer and from what I've read it should work better than ever before.
I have used Windows XP for way longer than most people were even able to get it. It's highly stable, if a application crashes if does not take down the operating system. For most people Windows XP Home will do. But if your a gamer or like me want to work with video files, plus the fact that both Intel/AMD are coming out with dual processors, you will need the Pro version as it will work with them but Home will not work with dual processors
With Windows XP Pro/Home SP2, this is the most secure Operating System that MS has put out yet.


Assembly
Tools needed
Needle nose pliers
Wire cutters(usually optional)
several size regular screwdrivers
Phillips screwdrivers
wrist grounding strap
1/4 sock wrench
Black magic marker
Thermal grease or thermal pad depending on what processor your using

(SIDE NOTE: Yes Bill I do believe it)

Assembly
Now comes the fun part.By the time I'm this far I've read the manual so many times, I have it almost memorized, but I still keep it handy just in case. I work on a low enough table so my arms are not up in the air but at a position that is comfortable and not so low I'm bent over. Lay down the case on it's side on the table. Put the static wrist strap on and clip it to the case making sure you get a good ground. A lot of computer parts are sensitive to static charges, something that we might not feel but can still be deadly to hardware. It may also be a good idea to get a anti-static mat, even tho dry wood is unlikely to have enough moisture to build a static charge, there is always that possibility. Plus you can attach the wrist strap to the mat and the wire won't get in the way as much. One thing do not take any hardware out of it's static protective plastic till ready to install in the computer.


Now take the motherboard out of the anti-static wrap and lay inside the case, adjusting for the holes that will have standoff's in them. Take the magic marker and insert in each hole marking the metal underneath. Now this particular motherboard has holes for 9 standoff's and this to make sure that each brass standoff is in the correct place. One time my brother had put a standoff in the wrong place, took out the cpu and motherboard. At this time is when I attach the power switch, Power LED, reset switch and the front panel speaker to the motherboard. A standoff is usually a piece of brass with hole with which you fasten the motherboard to and on the other end, you screw into holes in the metal plate. The holes holding the motherboard to the metal plate are in specfic locations according to ATX and mATX standards. Holes/standoff's in the motherboard provide grounding of the system when running.


On the side of the socket, there is a lever, bring it up to a fully up right position. Now take out the cpu be it OEM or Retail, there is only one way for the cpu to fit into the socket, look at the socket/cpu, you will see that 3 corners are the same and the 4th not, DO NOT FORCE IT. It should almost fall in if put on right. The cpu should be all the way down against the socket. Hold the center of the cpu firmly and take the lever, move it down and level with the socket. You should hear a click when the lever is fully down. Now is the time to install the cpu heatsink. The instructions are in the manual of this motherboard and also in the Retail box. Now I need to warn you, if you install the heatsink incorrectly you can damage the cpu, plus if the heatsink is installed incorrectly, it may not transfer the heat from the cpu correctly and you may have over-heating problems. On this box of cpu/heatsink, the thermal paste is already on the heatsink.

As a side note, the reason you need thermal paste is the fact if you look at the metal surfaces on the heatsink and the cpu under a microscope. You will see that is not perfectly smooth. If you just put the heatsink on top of the cpu there is a lot of pockets of air and air is not a good heat conductor.

There are sites that tell about installing heatsinks and some even has video's showing the correct process of installing the cpu/heatsink. So if you've never done this before I recommend you see if you can find and watch the videos, also read the instructions.

Now here is where I install the hardrives, cd drives and dvd drives. Like IDE harddrives, cd/dvd drives have jumpers that need to be set correctly for you to use them.

Next I install the power supply making sure that all four screws are in and tight. All the power connecters are made so there is only one way to install, some like the harddrives/cd's the power connector can be forced so make sure they are installed correctly. With some power supplies you may need some molex power splitters, I have had as many as 4 case fans-3 harddrives-2 cd/dvd drives doing that you can run out of power connectors real fast. One of the reasons I like my Ultra power supplies as it has 2 branches with 4 molex connectors on each.

Next I install the memory, there is a notch in each ram, the ram will only go in one way. Put the ram in making sure the modules go completely into the slot. There are notches on each end of modules. Make sure the levers go completely into the notches because they hold them in.

Now I start running the power supply cables to motherboard. On this motherboard there are 2 power connections. One 20 pin connector for the motherboard and one 4 pin connector supplying power to the cpu. I try keeping the cables as close to the plate that holds the motherboard to reduce any air obstruction.

Now I start connecting the IDE cables to the drives, the cable connectors have a bump on the top of one side of each connector and on the drives/motherboard, there is a notch that these fit into. These cables I also keep as close to the plate as possible. Now I hook up all the fans and drives plus anything else I have to hookup. Once done I take the wrist strap off .


Now as a side note, the first time I built a pc(1986/87), it sat on my bench for 2 hours before I got up enough courage to turn on. If it had gone up in smoke, I would not have lived long after my wife had got through with me.

Cost this includes a guess or average of the s&h
Case $63
Power supply $73
Motherboard $118
CPU $125
Memory $103
Hard drive $78
DVD/CD-RW $37
DVD Burner $55
Case fans $21
Video card $78
Total not counting the operating system $655
Now by shopping around you may get it for less than this. Remember get quality parts and you will have less problems in the long run.

Operating System

Now this motherboard will not run 95/98/98se/Me (according to MSI web site) but will run Windows 2k-Windows XP. Will also run Linux but don't ask me about that as I don't use Linux.

OEM Windows
Once installed may not be used on any other pc.
Windows XP Home $90
Windows XP Pro $140
Media center $140 One thing this is the only way you can get this unless you buy a complete pc from a OEM dealer.

If you have a copy of Windows 98/98SE/Me that is not used on another pc you can use them to Upgrade to XP Home/Pro and 2k will only upgrade to XP Pro. How you think, if you can not have Windows 98/98SE or Me running can I use a upgrade version of Windows XP Pro/Home. During installation of the upgrade version of Windows XP, it will ask for proof of a previous qaulified version of Windows and all you have to do is remove the Windows XP cd, put in the qualified cd, press button OK, after it has examined the cd, it will ask to have the Windows XP put back in and then continue the installation.
Home upgrade $100
Pro upgrade $190
2K $180

I have not used 2K but already I've wrote about Installing XP Pro/Home, so I won't repeat this ere. Here is my previous review on installing Windows XP Pro/Home.

http://www.epinions.com/content_55668936324


Features of this motherboard

Core Cell Technology
Is a hardware/software which implements AMD's “Cool n Quiet” plus will help in OCing the pc but since I don't OC ask somebody else. If “Cool n Quiet “ is activated the Core Cell chip will adjust the processor ratio in 4 steps from 1.8ghz to 1.4ghz to 1.0ghz and finally to 8 mhz depending on what programs are running or not. Lower speed means less heat generated. Core Cell with smart fan technology will also reduce the speed of the fans reducing noise.
Hypertransport can be adjusted from 1x(200mhz) to 5x(1 ghz) but default is 4x (800mhz).
From what I've read from a lot of Reviewers on OCing, this is one that is easily one of the best for this.

Hypertransport

If I'm wrong here, I hope somebody will let me know and I'll change here

What this is simply a AMD and partners design that with the memory controller (on CPU chip) and a higher bandwidth bus between cpu and memory and other chips. They can eliminate the bus to the Northbridge chip(which causes latency or delay of signal). By eliminating the FSB and designing a new one, this makes the bandwidth roughly 3x faster. By this I mean that all the information(instructions data goes through the chipset which tells it where to go). Hypertransport is designed to eliminate that bottleneck going directly to the chip where it needs to go.

It's like your on a trip out of town and you come to a big city(chipset) where it will take you a 1/2 hour or more to get on the other side going to the next town or your destination but there is a bypass around the town(Hypertransport) that will take a 1/10th of the time as going thru. Also the speed is different-going through town speed limit is 30 mph, using the bypass the limit is 70mph. You can see the instructions/data will move faster, which in turn means you have better performance.




UpDate3

Now this program by MSI will monitor and advise when new versions of bios, drivers and utilities become available for your motherboard. It can also update bios while Windows is running.


What is in my New Computer

AMD Athlon x64 2800+(1.8gHz)
MSI-KN8N NEO Platinum motherboard
2-Kingston 256 DDR PC2700
nVidia GeForce FX5200 video card
WD800JB SE 80gig-7200rpm-8meg buffer
MicroAdvantage DVD +- R/RW Dual layer burner
DVD Rom/CD RW combo
Haupauge WinTV-GO FM TV/Radio card
Windows XP Pro SP2

What I will get(sooner or later) and use

PNY nVidia GeForce FX5700 Personal Cinema AGP8 128m ddr with TV/FM Radio(July,2005)
Probably replace/add to IDE harddrive / 2- SATA harddrives
Replace 256 memory with 3-512 DDR PC2700 or 2-512 DDR PC3200 memory(July,2005)
Eventually Longhorn (whatever the name is when it's released to manufacturer)


Installing the Operating System and software

Installing Windows XP Pro took a total of 20 minutes. I then installed SP2 which took another 10 minutes. On my other pc(Sempron 2800+) this took about 50 minutes.
I then proceeded to install my other software onto this pc.
Software installed

MSI Core Center software-where Cool'n'Quiet and if you OC activated in Windows
Windows XP Pro SP2
MS AntiSpyware(Beta)
602 Office Suite (free for personal use only)
Nero OEM Suite v6.3.1.17 CD/DVD burner software
MS Plus/MS Digital Plus
Ad-Aware
SpyBot Search and Destroy
AVG anti-virus (free)
Haupauge TV/Radio software
Weather Pulse (free) since I have a always on connection-this gives local temp/weather
Photo Story 3 for Windows
PowerDVD for watching DVD movies
3D Mark 2001 for benchmarking
Adobe Reader

The performance of this pc is just a hair better than the Sempron 2800+(2GhZ) even if the actual speed of this cpu is 200mHz slower. The programs do load and start just a little faster. But the performance of the individual applications is about the same.

Benchmarks of both pc's

Sempron 2800+(2.08GHz)
Detailed Test Results
3DMark Score 7235 3D marks

Game 1 Car Chase - Low Detail 100.4 FPS
Game 1 Car Chase - High Detail 49.0 FPS
Game 2 Dragothic - Low Detail 110.7 FPS
Game 2 Dragothic - High Detail 62.2 FPS
Game 3 Lobby - Low Detail 121.7 FPS
Game 3 Lobby - High Detail 60.6 FPS
Game 4 Nature 23.6 FPS

Fill Rate (Single-Texturing) 593.0 MTexels/s
Fill Rate (Multi-Texturing) 296.9 MTexels/s

High Polygon Count (1 light) 32.1 MTriangels/s
High Polygon Count (8 lights) 3.8 MTriangels/s

Environment Bump Mapping 56.6 FPS
DOT3 Bump Mapping 72.2 FPS

Vertex Shader 55.2 FPS
Pixel Shader 52.8 FPS
Advanced Pixel Shader 34.5 FPS
Point Sprite 11.1 MSprites/s

AMDx64 2800+(1.8GHz)
3DMark Score 7379 3D marks

Game 1 Car Chase - Low Detail 100.3 FPS
Game 1 Car Chase - High Detail 53.3 FPS
Game 2 Dragothic - Low Detail 112.4 FPS
Game 2 Dragothic - High Detail 62.3 FPS
Game 3 Lobby - Low Detail 123.9 FPS
Game 3 Lobby - High Detail 64.0 FPS
Game 4 Nature 21.1 FPS

Fill Rate (Single-Texturing) 616.2 MTexels/s
Fill Rate (Multi-Texturing) 731.4 MTexels/s

High Polygon Count (1 light) 31.5 MTriangels/s
High Polygon Count (8 lights) 4.8 MTriangels/s

Environment Bump Mapping 73.9 FPS
DOT3 Bump Mapping 70.5 FPS

Vertex Shader 42.4 FPS
Pixel Shader 52.8 FPS
Advanced Pixel Shader 28.8 FPS
Point Sprite 10.9 MSprites/s

Cool'n'Quiet (revised)
Does it work? Oh yea, I had been trying to get this to work since I got the computer up and running. Started looking at the manual again and found what I had not enabled. I had already enabled it in the bios, plus installed the software from MSI for this.
I found that I had to enable it in Windows. By right clicking on Desktop/Screen saver tab/Power Options and all I had to do was set ip in Minimal Power Management.
Since I'm only writing this and watching TV, it slowed down to 1000mHz and the cpu fan went from 6000+rpm to 1854rpm. The cpu temp went from 42c to 32c. So yes it works as advertised.

As can be seen here the AMD x64 is only a little faster in most cases, slower in a few others. The real advantage will come with a 64 bit operating system with 64 drivers. At this time not all manufacturers or software developers have updated the drivers or software. Once they do then there will be a big difference.

Motherboard Update
End of Nov 2005, I tried moving this motherboard to another case. I messed up and took out the motherboard(it would not boot up at all). After checking that it was the motherboard and not something else. I got a RMA from MSI and returned the motherboard to them. Since I would only have one computer to test on I built a new pc (this one) http://www.epinions.com/content_211804262020
I moved the AMD X64 Athlon(this one)http://www.epinions.com/content_212085149316
to replace it.
At the end of December I recieved the motherboard back. I bought a new cpu for the motherboard. AMD Sempron X64 3300+(review soon). I also added a floppy drive with media reader included(this one)http://www.epinions.com/content_217755717252
I had also bought a new power supply/case to use with this
http://www.epinions.com/content_217737694852
All said and done, I'm completely satisfied with what I can do with this setup.



Vista Update
This motherboard has nForce3 250GB chipset. With the last build(5270) nearly all drivers for the chipset were installed from installation on. To get the network and audio drivers installed I had to goto nvidia website and get/use the beta drivers there. IE seems to display websites faster than IE in Windows XP.
There are still bugs in this OS but the performance appears to be about the same as XP. This is without optimized code. As the Vista matures and they optimize the code more I'm betting the performance will be better than XP Pro.
Big update_Vista is now RTM and working great.

Update New Case/Power Supply/CPU

Put this motheerboard in a new case(after getting back because I messed up putting in a differant case in the first place)I also added a new power supply (review here http://www.epinions.com/content_217737694852 )Has a 120 mm fan and case has 120mm fan-which makes for a very quiet pc-in fact I have to put my ears near the case to hear it. Plus I also put in a new cpu(this one http://www.epinions.com/content_220609744516 ).


Bottom line
So if you are not a gamer and all you do is surf the internet, check your email and like me watch TV/DVD movies. This may not be for you. ]
For myself I like building my own pc's and I enjoy buying all the parts and putting together. Then getting the pc to run. With this MSI motherboard, it is the highest quality motherboard that I have used yet. Big plus to me is that Cool'n'Quiet works.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 115

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