MSI K8N Neo Platinum
- The Package
The black box looks excellent and on the front you can see that it is the "Platinum Edition" which utilizes the nForce 3 250GB chipset as opposed to the normal nForce 3 250 chipset which doesn't include native and speedy Gigabit networking.
We have some more colorful Serial ATA cables, a molex to Serial ATA power connector, two extra USB ports and DrLED display. This is similar to EPOX error code display except MSI's version simply uses four LEDs which you can reference to the manual to figure out what is wrong.
- The Motherboard
The MSI motherboard has an awesome looking and feeling black PCB which really can only be shown properly in real life. It's a smooth thick PCB and looks fantastic. This particular motherboard is very colorful as you can see with a red AGP slot, orange SATA ports, yellow parallel ports and aqua memory banks. This really is a nice looking motherboard - we hope MSI didn't spend all their time on aesthetics and not tweaking it, although we highly doubt it judging on the company's history of motherboard production.
The RAM slots are in a slightly different position then you would normally expect and just below them you can see the MSI CoreCell chip which is designed to help increase motherboard performance by automatically increasing the FSB slightly from time to time. Let's see if it works later on when it comes to benchmarking the motherboard.
The Serial ATA ports really stand out on the MSI motherboard, if you didn't notice them in the first picture they can be found towards the bottom right corner of the motherboard and just above the AGP port. With a total of four Serial ATA ports and two Parallel ATA ports this should be plenty for most people. Being native as well the speeds are so much better as we found out in our Serial ATA controller roundup earlier this year, especially with a pair of Western Digital Raptor drives in RAID 0.
The MSI motherboard uses the 250GB version of the nForce 3 chipset which includes native Gigabit networking which helps remove the PCI bus bottle neck and also helps lower CPU utilization which results in stunning LAN performance.
It offers four USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire port, Gigabit Networking, 8 Channel Audio and RCA/S/PDIF output ports.
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