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Socket 939 Motherboards - MSI and nVidia vs. ABIT and VIA - MSI Installation and BIOS

Mike has served us up some AMD related content today where he compares two Socket 939 Athlon 64 motherboards. The first is the MSI K8N Neo 2 Platinum which is based on nVidia's nForce3 Ultra chipset and the second is the ABIT AV8 3rd Eye which is based on VIA's K8T800 Pro chipset. We tested with an Athlon 64 FX-53 along with a whole bunch of benchmarks over a whooping 24 pages.

By: | Socket 939 in Motherboards | Posted: Oct 10, 2004 4:00 am

Installation Notes



Being a standard ATX design, there were no real issues when it came time to install the board into a system. Above you'll see the board mounted to the motherboard tray with the processor, HSF, memory and video board already in place. Even when using a large heatsink like the Thermaltake POLO735, there was no problem getting everything in place. You can also see what I meant earlier about a long video card not causing problems in regards to the Northbridge HSF.


BIOS Features



Let's be realistic, if you're looking at a Socket 939 board at this point in time, you're likely an enthusiast. So instead of going through every single BIOS screen available, we'll cover the important stuff here.


That said, the first screen of real importance is called the Cell Menu. In simple terms, this is where you make things go as fast as humanly possible. From here you can change multipliers, FSB speeds, Hyper Transport speeds and voltage levels to your primary areas. It also has the ability to change your AGP speeds and also to lock them in place so you won't have to worry about the video subsystem slowing you down when you begin your overclocking.


The setting above called Dynamic Overclocking is for those who don't want to manually make changes to the clock speeds. It has six settings beyond the disabled shown above ranging from to . Strange names, but this militaristic viewpoint will let you change clock speeds from 1% to 11% clock adjustments by changing only this setting. I don't care for this concept myself and likely most true enthusiasts will feel this way as well, but it does work as a good starting point for the inexperienced overclocker. Who knows, maybe they'll see what kind of improvements they're missing out on and come join our ranks!


Note: Yes, I realize the clock speed shows under the rated 2.4GHz speed of the processor used for testing. I was playing with FSB speeds before taking the photo of the configuration screen.



Moving on to the memory configuration menu shows just a few settings, but they are the important ones. From here you can change memory speeds as well as the primary timings and command rate. From here you will have no problems configuring your memory for either speed demon status or ho-hum cheap RAM status.


As a side note for the budding overclocker, make sure you check out the location of the CMOS Reset jumper. You'll eventually need it.




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